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Babies arrive wet with various fluids, and this sets the tone for their first year of life
July 14, 2007 1:41 AM   Subscribe

So you've gone and made a baby! A father of two provides some helpful advice to friends about what to expect from their newborns.
posted by Ljubljana (51 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
"...babies generally smell really nice, especially the drier parts of their heads. You will miss this smell when it’s gone."

This is true. And I do miss that smell.

These kind of articles, though, based purely on the author's personal experience with their own babies, are often far less universal than their authors imagine them to be. Babies vary. For example, my wee one hardly ever drooled at all.

Fun reading, anyway.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:49 AM on July 14, 2007


"you will doubtless laugh the first time your child urinates directly into your face"

1 - Thankgod i am having a girl!

2 - Do men ever actually learn how to aim?!
posted by spotty_dog at 2:24 AM on July 14, 2007


Ooh, I hate that new baby smell. I usually can't wait to wash my hands after holding a baby.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:25 AM on July 14, 2007


These kind of articles, though, based purely on the author's personal experience with their own babies, are often far less universal than their authors imagine them to be. Babies vary. For example, my wee one hardly ever drooled at all.

This is spot on flapjax at midnite. My Emma didn't drool, or even really notice the teeth cutting through her gums. In fact, a lot of the "advice" I've read in the past year or so turned out to be a load of conflicting shite. The only good advice is to enjoy it - really enjoy it - while it lasts. The baby smell is heavenly.

And there is something else strange. I was never interested at all in babies. Not in the least. Spending time with a baby was something short of painful. And listening to parents people talk about their babies WAS painful. But after my daughter was born, something happened to my brain - maybe it's the effect of the baby smell - that changed all of this. There is nothing more enjoyable - truely enjoyable - than spending the afternoon pushing Emma on the swing amidst the chaos of other kids playing. I never cease to be amazed by this change in me.

It is certainly biological because "I" am certainly the same stubborn, child-hating person "I" always was, but my brain has changed and "I" am no longer "me." This, for me, was the most delightful surprise of all.
posted by three blind mice at 2:25 AM on July 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


spotty_dog, some men do, but there's still the splash back.

Have you seen the pee pee teepee?
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:27 AM on July 14, 2007


Pee pee teepee.... whatever next!!

When i went to Glastonbury a few years back, we got to use female urinals or she/pees.

The cleanest urinals i have ever been in!!
posted by spotty_dog at 2:33 AM on July 14, 2007


NEEDS MORE CAT SCANS
posted by Avenger at 2:36 AM on July 14, 2007


Not universal, it's true.

And what does he mean by this:
You should visit a 24-hour dairy in order to acclimate yourself to the most important new parenting role of yourself or your wife.
What is a 24-hour dairy? Dairy farms don't milk in rotating shifts, if that's what he's getting at - cows get milked twice a day, all of them at the same time. Creameries probably do now run around the clock, but I don't see how their operations relate to what a new mom does, and AFAIK, nobody calls them 'daires'.

I'm afraid the linked page reflects one guy's somewhat trying, but by no means unique experience, and his personal search for different ways to bring poop into the narrative.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:40 AM on July 14, 2007


Here I am, cleaning the shit off practically everything.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:49 AM on July 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't like baby smell, so whenever I am forced to be around a newborn I bring one of those "new car smell" aerosols. Presto, It's like holding a Beamer fresh off the lot!
posted by Justinian at 2:55 AM on July 14, 2007 [3 favorites]


You spray somebody else's baby with new-car smell? That's ... that's ... that's insane!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:27 AM on July 14, 2007


I laughed.
My chest cold (thanks, Kindergarten-bred supergerms brought into my previously sanitary home by my beloved, beloved (and it's a good thing for them) children) made it a little phlegmatic but, still.

And it is amazing how your own children can engender tender thoughts about all children, whereas before maybe children were never thought of at all and friends with children were thought of as frewuently, annoyingly, unavailable.
posted by From Bklyn at 3:27 AM on July 14, 2007


Nature has designed us to not kill the little fuckers in the first year. That's amazing evolutionary adaptation when you think of it.

As I did when my daughter nursed every 1 and 1/2 hours for the first 4 months of life and sleep became mild hallucintions. The very fact that every time I whipped out that tit all I could feel was an overwhlming maternal peaceful response was evidence of evolution in action.

Yes every child is different but we need a lot more information out there about those early months. There simply is too much focus around pregnancy and the actual birth so anything to redress that balance is good in my eyes.
posted by Wilder at 3:38 AM on July 14, 2007


X has done Y and IS BLOGGING ABOUT IT!!!!

Jesus, you can take this nostalgia thing too far.
posted by Joeforking at 4:20 AM on July 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


hear hear, Wilder.

As father of a 3 month-old girl I know there needs to be more information about baby pooping habits in circulation. I knew all about newborn mustard, but nobody told me that later they can go for a week without shitting sometimes.

And for my wife's sake there needs to be better info about breastfeeding to allay fears of "not enough milk" especially in the first week and the 3rd month growth spurt.

You'd think La Leche League would provide this information as breastfeeding advocates, but they seem to want you to buy the book.
posted by grubby at 4:43 AM on July 14, 2007


In this genre, I still like The Story About The Baby the best.
posted by Coventry at 5:34 AM on July 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


(Previously on Metafilter.)
posted by Coventry at 5:36 AM on July 14, 2007


Thankgod I am having a girl!

Sorry, spotty_dog. Won't help.
posted by erniepan at 6:49 AM on July 14, 2007


Metafilter: Whip out that tit.
posted by emelenjr at 8:27 AM on July 14, 2007


I really enjoy the Daughter Chronicles. Highly recommended.

And I loves me some new baby smell.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:39 AM on July 14, 2007




Being a single man, all I have to offer is a bunch of knucklekids.
posted by doctorschlock at 9:11 AM on July 14, 2007


Hilarious, especially

If you do go out, your child’s behavior will make you wish you had not. Instead of cringing and apologizing, try to think of yourself as providing a public service by acting as a walking advertisement for abstention.

A few years down the road, when in the midst of toddlerhood, please reference the wisdom of Ian Frazier
posted by hwestiii at 9:14 AM on July 14, 2007


My husband's advice to new fathers is succint. ABC: Always Be Covering (your nuts). They'll get you as infants when they're trying to stand. They'll get you as toddlers when they climb onto your lap. And by the time they're preschoolers and about crotch height, well, you should just take to wearing a cup.

ABC, new daddies. ABC.
posted by jrossi4r at 9:15 AM on July 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was also going to mention The Story About the Baby, Coventry. Great stuff.

For those who would rather read about people not managing their children well, there are also the child-focused sections of Etiquette Hell:
Wedding Rugrats, Baby Showers, and, everyone's favourite, Everyday Rugrats.
posted by batmonkey at 10:49 AM on July 14, 2007


My younger daughter is two today. My older daughter, 3 years 5 months. Agree with the invisible brain switch theory. Having kids changed me.

Though found an interview on the Colebert Report interesting. Daniel Gilbert, the author of Stumbling on Happiness noted that children don't actually make us happy. That kids were hard work, caused us to worry a lot, and generally were little stress factories. What in fact made us happy was thinking about our children, not actually being with them.

Some truth there. Humans who bite, scream, manipulate, take aren't always fun to be around. But when they are fun, they are the most fun I have ever had. Period. And I've had me some fun.

And yes, ABC. I love playing rough with the girls but they seem to think I'm made entirely of bouncy stone. I'm the one in need of family services protection, I'm perpetually sporting a new bruise. When asked what I wanted for Father's Day, my wife ignored my request for a cup. No, not a coffee cup.

I might just get one myself. And maybe a mask.
posted by Toekneesan at 11:04 AM on July 14, 2007


What a defeatist screed. I can't wait for the entry about the burdensome chore that is wiping one's own ass.
posted by furtive at 11:13 AM on July 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


My 11 month old son walked ten feet today, smiling and giggling at me all the way. And suddenly getting up at 5:30am seemed worth the pain.

Parenthood truly turns the mind to mush.
posted by popkinson at 11:16 AM on July 14, 2007


It has too many exclamation marks to be funny!
posted by rhymer at 11:16 AM on July 14, 2007


(and yes, I do have a baby!!!!)
posted by rhymer at 11:17 AM on July 14, 2007


Shrug, they ALL grow up to surly teenagers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:35 AM on July 14, 2007


As the male half of a couple that's at "about that stage" for procreation, it's good to read these stories. I look at other people with kids and wonder why on earth would you want to go through something like that?

I thought that my hatred of children and deep, deep cynicism about the world would make having a baby impossible. Now that my wife is getting older and many of my friends are squeezing out their own writhing gobs of goo, I am having second of thoughts. This switch in the brain that flips, this is a real thing?

I have been thinking of posting this question to AskMe for weeks, but I don't think my future child would like hearing "We decided to have you after daddy asked some anonymous people on the Internet if it would be a good idea."
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:05 PM on July 14, 2007


Oh god, The Story About the Baby is gold.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:19 PM on July 14, 2007


The brain-switch is real, even if your not the bio father.

I didn't hate kids, but really didn't enjoy being around them. Then a close friend got pregnant, and the dad wasn't interested. She wanted to keep the kid, but told me she couldn't do it alone. So I moved in with her, and we raised a daughter together. I never expected to have that experience, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

And there really is something about that newborn smell that has something to do with it. Makes it worth getting up in the middle of the night just to smell it.
posted by trip and a half at 1:25 PM on July 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


The author is my brother.

The sons in question are my nephews.

(Hi, J, M, A, & A! Love you!)

And he's one of five children our parents raised, each more exhausting than the other, so he really ought to preface this entry with a heartfelt lick-spittle apology to our parents for the torments they suffered. Especially from him. Remind me to tell you the story about the highchair and the daquaris. And the story about the shed roof, the umbrella, his three-year-old sister, and Mary Poppins. And the Gilligan's Island recaps. And the duck joke. And many more.
posted by Elsa at 3:49 PM on July 14, 2007


...he really ought to preface this entry with a heartfelt lick-spittle apology to our parents for the torments they suffered.

But when we have our own babies, and suffer the consequent sleepless nights and various other hardships associated with bringing the little one up, we pay our karmic debt, no? Isn't that what it's all about? :)
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:03 PM on July 14, 2007


I can't wait for the entry about the burdensome chore that is wiping one's own ass.

That was Thursday.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:26 PM on July 14, 2007


What is a 24-hour dairy?

Dairy = small corner shop thingy.
posted by shelleycat at 4:35 PM on July 14, 2007


Slarty, the switch is very real and very powerful. And you know all those things that were super fun when you were little, like catching lightning bugs and doing somersaults and looking for shapes in clouds? They all become super fun again and make the tedious, daily pain-in-the-assness of parenting totally worth it.
posted by jrossi4r at 6:27 PM on July 14, 2007


jrossi4r's experience rings true for me. Though I have no children, I'm Actual Aunt to a passel of young'ns, and Fake Aunt to a handful more, and the tumbling and exploring and wandering that seemed so engrossing in my own childhood are equally engrossing in someone else's childhood.

And so far, I have not tired of being asked "Why?" ("Why is the sky blue? Why do birds lay eggs? Why do elephants have big ears?" Perhaps that reflects my deep nerdiness: I'm interested in Why, myself. And when I don't know, I tell them so and ask them what they think. Kids can think up some stuff, I tell you what.)
posted by Elsa at 6:51 PM on July 14, 2007


Is this something I'd need a baby to understand?
posted by phrontist at 7:15 PM on July 14, 2007


This is true. And I do miss that smell.

Yes yes yes. And the thing about the shirts is also true.

Also the thing about being "eh" about kids before having them, and then fantastic with 'em -- with anyone's kids, actually -- after you've had your own.

At the same time, sometimes you want to kill them.

It's just nature's way.
posted by davejay at 10:03 PM on July 14, 2007


At the same time, sometimes you want to kill them.

Yes yes yes. This is also true. Over the course of the last seven years, my wife and I, in those moments, just look at each other, and one of us always says: "strangulation is not an option". It's just our little reminder to ourselves.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:11 PM on July 14, 2007


The previously unactivated buttons thing is true. The first one completely blew me away emotionally: tears, laughter, phone calls, pictures shown to everyone I met etc. I expected the same from the second but - sad to say - it wasn't quite the same for her. 19 years later she and I might still be getting over that.

Oh, and my lower back is still messed up!
posted by terrymiles at 3:22 AM on July 15, 2007


Whatever happened to wet nurses?
posted by oxford blue at 3:18 AM on July 16, 2007


oxfordblue Dude, I just Google's 'wet nurses' and, um...
posted by From Bklyn at 5:32 AM on July 16, 2007


And you know all those things that were super fun when you were little, like catching lightning bugs and doing somersaults and looking for shapes in clouds? They all become super fun again and make the tedious, daily pain-in-the-assness of parenting totally worth it.

When did those things stop being fun for you? I'm still enjoying "childish" things and I'm 27.
posted by agregoli at 7:59 AM on July 16, 2007


:(

How do people cope with all that? I don't understand. I know my parents loathed most of my childhood, and are profoundly relieved that I'm an adult now.

(No, it won't be different if it's my own, at least, not if genetics has anything to say about it).
posted by ysabet at 11:59 PM on July 16, 2007


I think from the large amount of child abuse and child murder that happens that it's fair to say that many people CAN'T cope with it.
posted by agregoli at 7:13 AM on July 17, 2007


Agregoli, it's the combo of not being able to cope with it, lack of impulse control and not being able to give one's children up for adoption because of a discrepancy in how capable a parent the person feels they are versus the actuality.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:37 PM on July 17, 2007


I'd say society's pressure on parents to NOT give kids older than infants up for adoption that causes most of the trouble.
posted by agregoli at 8:12 AM on July 18, 2007


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