It didn’t take me long to write, vote and pass a new household law: no baby clothes without snap fasteners allowed. Of course, like most laws of this nature it is difficult to enforce. My first choice would be that all baby garments would have zippers, but most of them don’t. I guess they are afraid that people would pinch the baby, which basically makes sense, so I will let it slide.
The Mommy and I have slightly different views on clothes for LTD. Her primary focus is on obtaining the highest cute factor possible, while my focus is on having him wear whatever allows me to change his diaper the fastest. The good news here is that most of his clothes have snaps. However, as he grows he is starting to wear outfits and pants. We are talking about full-blown ensembles with little t-shirts and pants wrapped up with overalls and matching socks. This all adds up to a diaper changing experience that not only lasts longer but increases the risk exponentially that poop will find its way on to the clothes.
New Dad Suggestion (NDS): When using snaps, start at the bottom or foot area and work your way up. This technique prevents the missed button phenomenon that is so common when getting shirts back from the dry cleaner.
So it turns out that LTD’s nose is stuffed up every morning. Of course, in the beginning we freaked out and thought he was sick, but cooler heads prevailed and our doctor talked us down from the ledge. She told us to pick up some Little Noses Saline Spray. It is simple to use and works very quickly. The Mommy favors using it with gravity in drop mode but at 4am I choose to use the pray and spray method. You can find it at most chain pharmacies and the better supermarkets. The spray has an added benefit, which is that it makes LTD sneeze and that is always a funny thing to see.
Before LTD arrived our family dog was not only our best friend but our first real baby. We spent money on toys, food, and if you have ever been to a vet then you know how much money we spent. We arranged our schedule around the dog and even had to get a sitter if we were going to be gone for a long stretch. So what do you do with the dog when the baby comes home?
Try to avoid this scenario: You come home with the now two-day-old infant and the dog goes straight for him. The dog jumps on him and licks his face. What do you do? You freak out, yell at the dog and then lock him in the room upstairs. The lesson that the dog takes away from this experience is that he used to be number one in the house and loved, but now the baby has taken his place. In other words, the dog will blame the baby for his new lot in life and they both will have gotten off on the wrong foot or paw. It can get even worse if while you were at the hospital, the dog was at the kennel.
The best thing to do is come home, let the dog lick the baby (just for a second), and let him get it out of his system. Reward the dog for being gentle and then repeat this reward as often as needed. Now is the time to begin making deposits in the your dog’s trust bank. Every time the dog is around the baby and acting mellow, reward him. This new pattern of behavior and reward will build up good will in your dog and allow him to see that the baby is not a threat.
The baby is a threat. You will tell yourself that nothing will change and you will still love and treat your dog the same, but at the end of the day, you will simply be too tired to hang out with the dog like before. If your dog is anything like mine, this may lead to the so-called “canine cry for help”. During the first week with LTD, our dog tried to kill herself by eating a bar of soap. She wanted attention and she got it. And yes, bubbles did come out of her mouth and butt. When the baby is a little older and you start taking her outside just bring the dog with you to the park and hopefully things will return to normal, or at least what is now the new normal.
New Dad Suggestion (NDS): Never leave a dog and baby alone in the same room because as The Mommy says, neither the dog nor the baby will come up with a good idea between the two of them.
As soon as I got LTD home and really held him I quickly felt as if The Mommy had given birth to Wolverine. Yes, from day one the claws will be sharp. Baby will scratch you and baby will scratch that beautiful face of his. If you are like me you will not be ready for the nail clippers during that first week so you can use an emery board. You will even have people tell you to bite them but when The Mommy saw me doing that it wasn’t pretty. Occasionally, some babies’ nails will be soft enough that if you roll the ends in your fingers they will wear off.
The nails continue to grow at an alarming rate and will have to be trimmed a couple times a week. Newborns still behave like they are in the womb so they curl up a lot and those hands get wicked close to the face and when grandma asks for new pictures, she ain’t going to be happy if LTD looks like he had a run in with Freddy Kreuger.
New Dad Suggestion (NDS): When you feel comfortable using clippers the best time to trim baby’s nails is when she is feeding. When you see that milk drunk face, snip away.
If your baby is anything like mine he or she will make a great number of noises throughout the day and night. Most of these sounds will be in the grunt family of noises. A few sounds will probably belong to the coo and ahhhh group. However, as the baby reaches a few months you may hear something that will freak you out. I submit to you the sleep laugh. What is LTD dreaming about that would make him laugh out loud like Nicholson in The Shinning? The sleep laugh is accompanied by the sleep smile and as quickly as it arrives, it departs. The greatest feature of the sleep laugh lies in the fact that no one but you will experience it and so it becomes a unique memory. Enjoy while you can because in the future, his awake laugh could be because he is embarrassed of you.
Nobody wants to see the sausages being made, which is to say this beautiful baby has done some not so beautiful things. This will happen to you at some point early in your newborn experience. Sometimes, oh who are we kidding, most of the time I find myself holding LTD and he experiences the condition known as flatulence. The wind is often long and it is always hard. I usually think he has indeed messed himself. It feels warm and definitely feels gross. But here is the thing, nothing has happened. The diaper is empty. This phenomenon is just another example of the magic that is the newborn.
The other day I went to pick up The Mommy and LTD from her new mother’s group. The group meets at our pediatrician’s office and the parking is tight. I spied a space in front, but as I pulled in I saw a sign indicating that the space was reserved for mothers with young children. I had a brief debate with myself, the outcome of which was that since I was picking up The Mommy and LTD it would be cool to park in the space. As I waited for their group to let out I got a little angry thinking about the sign. Now, I know what you’re thinking, that I am only angry it says “Mothers” instead of “Parents”. Yeah, okay I was. Then I found out they make signs that say this:
After seeing this sign, my anger subsided a bit. However, when I realized it still wasn’t fair, I got angry again. What about grandparents, aunts, uncles, nannies and sitters? The goal of the reserved space is to make it easier for a person trying to set up a car seat or a stroller with a screaming kid while trying not to get hit by a car. Why can’t the sign simply say Reserved for Caregivers of Young Children? Looks like it is time to write your member of Congress.
So I hear LTD cry or more accurately scream. My first duty is to think of peeps or poops. Always check the diaper. I have found that it is my first line of defense against crying and the only thing I have control over. As a dad, in the beginning you can’t breastfeed them if their cry is caused by hunger.
While The Mommy is in charge of the top, I am in charge of the bottom. In my short time as a dad I have learned this, when dealing with issues of baby waste you must exercise judgment and patience. When you hear the butt cheeks sound off, don’t rush to the changing table. Trust me, the tank isn’t empty and baby’s not done. If you are too efficient you run the risk of having to do double doodie. Diapers aren’t cheap. Don’t waste them.
Note to self: In the beginning, you will check on LTD to make sure he is still breathing. You will do this a lot. Then one night you will simply pass out and realize you forget to check. But guess what, baby’s okay. New Dad Suggestion (NDS): don’t check his mouth. When baby is passed out you can’t see anything, you can try to look at the rising of the chest but even that can be tricky. You want to look at their color. Look to see if they have turned blue. Blue is bad.