By Elizabeth Davies
Chatting with an elderly woman in the supermarket check-out, I joked that I just might drive around for an hour on the way home in order to keep my snoozing newborn asleep.
She laughed, adding, “Not with the price of gas, you won’t!”
What that woman didn’t realize was that, to the exhausted mother of a newborn, a sleeping baby is priceless. $4 a gallon for gas? Fill me up. Heck, go ahead and triple the price. It’s worth it to hear that glorious sound of snoring in the back seat.
Three months into this roller-coaster ride of motherhood, I’ve learned more than I ever did in four years at college. I feel as if I’ve earned a bachelor’s degree in parenting, and yet something tells me that, years from now, there still will be more to learn.
I’ve read entire books, scoured magazine articles and searched the web for answers. Some weeks, it’s about feeding. Other weeks, it’s sleep training. And yet, with all that information, there were some things I simply had to learn on my own.
Here are some of the lessons parenthood has to offer:
* The human bladder can hold out much longer than you ever imagined.
* Daily showers are overrated.
* Playing endless rounds of Pat-A-Cake can be more fun than a raging party on a Saturday night, so long as you have the right little person to play it with.
* A jumbo pack of Pampers has 88 diapers. That only sounds like a lot.
* People say dumb things.
* They ask when the baby is due, long after you’ve given birth. They say, “What a sweet little girl” to a child decked out in navy blue race cars and footballs.
* You can survive without steady amounts of food and sleep for lengthy periods of time. You aren’t pleasant to be around, but it’s do-able.
* A seven-pound person without the ability to speak, walk or form complete thoughts is somehow able to undo even the best-laid plans.
* A numb arm and cramped neck are a small price to pay for a baby who isn’t crying.
* Your spouse is a far more extraordinary person than you realized on your wedding day.
* If ever you said, “I would never do that,” you will be forced to eat your words.
* Thought you wouldn’t let your child cry in the grocery store? Once you’ve spent 30 minutes changing, dressing and loading your child into the car, then driving 15 minutes to the store and simultaneously spending 40 minutes shaking a rattle with one hand while picking out produce with the other, you’re not about to go home empty-handed.
* Time speeds up once you have a child. Somehow, 24 hours passes in a flash – even if you’ve spent most of it awake.
* The external stuff just doesn’t matter, so long as you’re making memories with the people you love.
It’s entirely likely that, long after I’m gone, my son will remember me as a woman who had spit-up on her shoulder, wrinkles in her clothes and a layer of dust on her furniture.
I’m okay with that.