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I am pleased to find that the whole newborn baby system seems, at least so far (nearly 3 weeks in), to be a bit more functional than the late-pregnancy situation.

First of all, there is the sleep deprivation. I know what you are thinking: but surely this is a flaw, is it not? Well listen: there is a reason why cults use sleep deprivation to break down a recruit’s defenses and win her over to their side. On three hours of sleep, I’m of use to my baby and only to my baby. Conversation is difficult; following an article in the newspaper near impossible. But dozy breastfeeding, diaper-changing, and cuddling? That’s suddenly just my speed.

Of course, this works because of the relative simplicity of the newborn. In addition to being abnormally adorable, my baby’s interests include eating, sleeping, pooping, and the occasional being-rocked-and-sung-to. When she cries, chances are it’s because of one of these four desires. My husband likened it to the beginning levels of a video game (he is in the industry, and so he should know) — those tutorial levels that teach you how to use the controllers and such. Things start off relatively simple. Once we have mastered the “I’m hungry” cry (it sounds like she’s hollering at us) and the “putting the sleeping baby in her crib without waking her” skill set, I imagine we will find ourselves at the next level, with a new set of challenges. (Also: I realize that things are not so simple if your baby is colicky and please please I am not trying to tempt fate or jinx myself please baby do not get colicky please thank you.)

Also, not to get all TMI or anything, but let me say: for a few weeks after giving birth, mama’s bottom is SORE. Luckily, this coincides with an infant’s first weeks of X-treme Sleeping. See, now that just makes sense. Everyone can rest up for a while. For short bursts of time, but frequently.

Even breastfeeding makes sense. Sure, it glues you to your baby’s side. But after sharing my body for so many months, what if I were just suddenly cut free, truly able to eat or drink whatever I wanted, entirely my old self again? I’d probably go insane, like an Amish kid on Rumspringa. I’d likely disappear only to be discovered days later, slumped in an alley somewhere half-buried in a pile of empty wine bottles and the carcasses of high-mercury fish.

In conclusion, I would go back over this and polish it up, and/or make some more salient points, but the baby has commenced to squeaking, and my mammalian brain has taken back control of my body. Must. Go. To. Baby.

 

 

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Amy Shearn AMY SHEARN is the author of the novel How Far Is the Ocean from Here. She lives in Brooklyn with a husband, a baby, and a dog. Visit her online at amyshearn.com.

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