My friends were very frank with me about what to expect, and their well-meaning advisory tales all had one thing in common: crying (their own, not the babies'). More than one friend recalled just sitting and inexplicably crying on the couch, a few mentioned crying in the shower, and one friend painted for me the sad -- yet also a little adorable -- picture of how she would cry while staring longingly out the window of her apartment. Sure enough, two weeks into mommyhood, there I was, sobbing on the exercise ball whilst bouncing my shrieking babe to sleep at 3 AM. Never would I have predicted that I'd actually be crying my baby to sleep, but there you go.
So yes, I'm relieved to finally be leaving the first three months behind me. But, the truth is, there actually have already been plenty of happy times. For one, there's the simple yet head-exploding joy that comes with realizing you adore someone so much you just want to spend an infinite amount of time gnawing on their tiny, fleshy limbs. Also, I've been delighted to discover all sorts of unexpected little activities that have helped brighten my first few months of parenthood. I share my top ten with you here -- in the event that you are so inclined to borrow:
10 Ways to Enjoy Your New Babe
1) Move Your Baby's Mouth
I cannot describe how insanely fun it is to move my baby's mouth like those tots on the E-Trade commercials. I like to have her sing songs, like "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas, and Robert Palmer's "Bad Case of Lovin' You." Seriously, it never gets old.
2) Utilize Soupy Sh*t
Who needs a paper shredder? The diaper pail is my new receptacle for sensitive documents of all kinds. There's something extremely satisfying about taking my Bank of America statements and lovingly wrapping them in my daughter's sh*t explosions.
3) Manipulate Their Language
Though my little lady obviously can't talk yet, I like to think about all the things I will teach her when she can. For example, I'm going to teach her to always refer to her legs as "these puppies" -- as in, "Mom, will you carry me? These puppies are exhausted." Also, I plan to tell her that the song goes "Ron Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt." Because the name Ron is so funny!
4) Stage a Fashion Show
I like to have my baby model outfits for me, both the adorable items and the very crazy bedazzled pieces/lunatic frocks she's received as gifts. A fun bonus: all outfits are extra absurd when juxtaposed against baby's ginormous dome.
5) Behold the Bottom
Usually when someone has a juicy bum, it is inappropriate to reach out and touch it unless that person is your partner or a very close friend. But your baby's bum is there for your enjoyment. Squeeze and smush those cheeks to your heart's content. Or, simply spend some time just taking in those adorable little orbs. You will get great pleasure from this, and she won't remember the vaguely inappropriate behavior.
6) Give Props
I like to put funny things in baby's hands and take pictures. A lot of people think beer and vodka bottles and the like are pretty funny, and they are. But try, say, a stapler or a jar of peppercorns! Funnier.
7) Take to the Streets
I've enjoyed bringing the baby on my most annoying errands. 90% of the time, people offer to let me cut in line, and the whole thing is over in a snap. Places this tends to work: bank, grocery store, pharmacy, post office.
This activity can only be done once, but it's a real doozy. Put sticker earrings on her and tell your husband you went and got her ears pierced.
9) Action Shots
Snap as many pics as you can of baby in mid-spit-up. (If your baby spits up a lot like mine does, you have ample opportunity to try and capture these moments. This is a lot like being a sports photographer, I imagine.) Then make a collage.
10) Share Your Feelings
One cool thing you can do is customize baby's onesies; just buy plain ones and use fabric paint or whatnot to decorate them. I find it satisfying to have my girl spread my agenda. Like "golf is lame" and "nice gladiator sandals." Things like that.
|Meredith Hoffa's first-person writing has appeared in The New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine, Fit Pregnancy, Business Traveler, and the new anthology, "Rejected" (Villard/Random House, 2009). She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter.|