Parenting 101: Welcome To Motherhood

I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 150 days. Whoever said to get all the sleep you can before the baby comes had the right idea. Unfortunately, I didn’t listen. My little bundle of joy, Tyler James, was born May 28 at 6:29am weighing in at a whopping 5 lbs, 15 oz. My husband Andy and I were (and still are) in awe of him—his tiny little feet, his huge blue eyes, and his enormous vocal chords. Who knew something so small could make such noise?

I’ve always thought of myself as a person who could handle most situations. However, I’ve learned that you can make all the plans in the world for how you’ll raise your baby, but it’s not really up to you. We have a 13-pound dictator who lives in our house now. He calls the shots.

Let me start by saying how much I used to love nighttime. Andy and I could relax, watch television, read books, and—oh, yeah!—sleep. Now, after a two-hour routine that involves a walk, a bath, some playtime, and feeding, we quietly and carefully lay our sleeping baby in his crib. As we tip-toe away, we both freeze and flinch at any noise or shuffle he makes. In my mind I’m repeating, “Please stay asleep; please stay asleep” in an attempt to will it into reality.

But new parents have to adjust to more than just lack of sleep. I’m a fairly neat person who doesn’t like clutter—never been a knick-knack kind of gal—so I swore throughout my pregnancy that I wouldn’t allow our house to be taken over by baby stuff. Half a year later, I’ll be the first to admit that it looks like we opened a Toys “R” Us store in our home. The living room has been taken over by the infant swing, a Baby Papasan seat, an activity gym, a bouncer, the entire LeapFrog learning system, and a Deluxe Jumperoo. I should buy stock in Fisher-Price and Playskool because I think my family is solely responsible for keeping them in business.

I’ve attempted to downsize the collection several times, but I always end up dragging everything back into the living room. Let me tell you, going to get a drink of water in the middle of the night has become a nocturnal challenge of navigating through a dark sea of baby “essentials.” Of course, I can’t turn on the light out of fear that it will wake Tyler. I have to ask myself, “Am I really that thirsty?” The answer is normally—well, let’s just say that I’m not rinsing many drink cups!

I have to say, though, despite the constant state of exhaustion and the cluttered home, I’m loving every minute of having Tyler. All he has to do is look at me with his huge eyes and flash that dimpled smile to melt my heart.

Then all is forgiven.

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