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Things I Forgot About Newborns

With Cora safely across the six-week
threshold, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we’ve
seen the worst of the newborn behavior, though of course
she’s cried for several hours today. But setting today aside,
she’s been doing pretty well and I’ve been enjoying my
“refresher course” in Newborns 101. Here are just a few
interesting tidbits I forgot (sometimes as a survival mechanism, I
think!) about newborn babies:

The cross-eyed thing. There’s
a whole host of newborn eye issues, and this is just the first one.
I can’t believe I forgot that newborns walk around like a
punchline in a physical comedy routine. I remember with Maddie I
was convince she was weird or something, and waited her whole
doctor’s visit for the doctor to burst out screaming. When
she didn’t even mention it I went home and looked it up and
sure enough, all newborns do it. Apparently binocular vision is a
learned thing. Who knew. So this time around I’m educated,
but still have the urge to knock her upside the head and see if it
shakes her eyeballs back to normal.

Open-eyed sleep thing. Ah, the weird eye thing continues. I
forgot that stage when newborns just start to go to sleep and their
eyes stay open, fluttering and rolling around in their head. The
trick is to wait until that passes and they’re deeply asleep
before putting them down. A hard-learned lesson.

The freaky tracking stare. Around 4 weeks Cora’s eyes
became mesmerizing and almost uncomfortably intense to look at.
She’d stare at you, unblinking, for hours. The undisputed
champ of a staring contest. I know now that this is a newborn
practicing the binocular vision (and not knowing yet it’s
rude to stare) but it’s still a bit freaky.

Mullet hair. Both my girls sport this classic hairstyle in
the early weeks and are slow to grow out of it. It had totally
slipped my memory until Cora’s fringe started coming out.
It’s a bit like Paul Giamatti tried to grow a mullet,
actually. Tell me my kids aren’t the only ones.

Explosive poop. Geez, where do they get the firepower??

All the weird noises. I remembered babies made noises, but
forgot exactly what they were an just how otherworldly they are.
From the Chewbacca “hmphs” as they collapse on the boob
in sleep, to all the squeaks and grunts while sleeping, and of
course those enthusiastic snuffles and groans while nursing.
Flattering, but embarrassing.

Folding the diaper for the umbilical cord. Such a small
thing, but it totally escaped me until I had to do it again. What a
pain, too.

The 5 S’s really work! I’m talking about The
Happiest Baby On the Block
five S’s: swaddling, sucking,
side-lying, swaying, and shushing. Every single one of them came
back to me in the midst of a scream-a-thon.

Changing their clothes is so easy! I’d forgotten how
easy it is to change a person who can’t fight back, who
isn’t screaming “No! No! I want to be naked!” the
whole time.

Changing their clothes is so hard! A newborn is just so
squirmy and floppy, and miniaturized. I’m afraid I’m
going to snap a finger like a twig as I put it through an armhole.
And do all the clothing openings need to be so small???? I need a
magnifying glass to find her feet sometimes.

The “let off steam” time of day. I had a vague
recollection of this, but only in a sort of “I vowed never to
forget this” kind of way. Babies really do hit a time of day
when they simply have too much inside and just need to let it out.

Pacifier – your best friend and worst enemy. Best
friend, because I’d far rather have her suck on a pacifier
than on me all the time for comfort. Worst enemy, because she
doesn’t have the control to keep the $#@# thing in her mouth.
Or pick it back up when she drops it. Thankfully, I have an older
child I’ve trained to do that for me. Hee hee.

Woody woodpecker head. Remember how they bang their
forehead/nose repeatedly against your shoulder when they’re
hungry? Neither did I. Then they have the nerve to scream in
outrage because they banged their head.

0 to 60 in a crying rage. Man, can my girl change gears
fast. Dead asleep, then full-blown fit two seconds later.

Desperate parent dances. You know what I’m talking
about: the Colic Bounce. The Sleep-Inducing Side-Step as you inch
your way towards the crib, rocking while you go. The Wailing Waltz.
The variations are endless.

Thinking the sleep-deprivation can’t get worse.
There’s no such thing as rock-bottom; you just keep falling.

I’m sure there are more, but I’m too sleep-deprived to
think of them. I respectfully suggest you bookmark this entry and
go back to it every time you think about not renewing your pill
prescription . . .


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