Trivial Opinions

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Archive for September, 2008

High and Lows of Raising a Newbown

Posted by Jack Deus on September 13, 2008

The other day my buddy Skid came over to see my new daughter, Allison, for the first time. While he was here he asked me a very good question, “Is having a child worth it?” My answer to him was having a child exposes you to ultimate highs and ultimate lows. It is the ultimate yin-yang experience.

The Bad

  1. Diapers. Diapers in and of themselves aren’t that bad. Even the stuff that goes inside them isn’t that bad a lot of the time. In fact, as long as diapers are doing their job correctly I never notice them. It is when they don’t do their job that they are really bad. You haven’t truly experienced raising a child until you put your hand underneath their butt to pick them up and feel something wet. I’m not sure how Allison compares to other babies, but she has surprised me at least a dozen times with this. One time, she pooped so much in her diaper that it leaked out the side, leaked out of her outfit, dripped down the crack in the car seat where the seat belt comes up, dribbled down the base of the car seat, and pooled up on the seat of my car. I have no idea how a child who weighs less than ten pounds can produce as much waste as Allison does, but it isn’t pleasant. Dirty, leaky diapers aren’t as bad for me as they are for other people because I can’t smell, but I have a feeling if I could smell they would be the worst, which is why they are listed at #1.
  2. Sleepless Nights. Sleepless nights are probably the worst for me, because I do not function well when I am tired. I am irritable, cranky, mean, and I get slower and dumber when I didn’t sleep well the night before. Now, imagine me when I don’t get sleep for days and weeks in a row. I have adapted so that I am rarely irritable but I still don’t like it.
  3. Crying. Call me weird, but it really doesn’t bother me at all when Allison is crying. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy listening to Allison cry, and I certainly do everything I can to get her to stop, but the actual sound isn’t irritating to me. I guess I can handle the frequency her cries resonate at or something. I included it on the list of bad things mainly because my wife is normal and Allison’s cries do get under her skin (as they should) as I imagine baby’s cries get under most people’s skin.

The Good

  1. Unconditional Love. I was in a car accident two days ago (Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. Thanks for asking) and hit my head really hard on the window. I don’t remember anything from that day, but I was told my wife was asking me some questions to see how far back my memory loss went. Most of the questions I kept answering “Nope, I don’t know that.” in a almost happy or chipper voice. When she asked me if I remembered Allison’s birthday, I got a looked of horrified shock on my face and started sobbing because I couldn’t remember it. This is the perfect example of the unconditional love most (unfortunately not all) parents feel towards their children. As stated in previous posts, I don’t get over-emotional about almost anything, and I haven’t cried emotionally for years and years, until two days ago when I couldn’t remember my daughter’s birthday.
  2. Sleep Watching. Maybe it is just me, but there is nothing more precious to look at than a sleeping baby. Sleeping animals (especially baby animals) come close, but babies are number one. Holding a sleeping baby in your arms is one of the most rewarding things a person can do. Unfortunately, I can’t even begin to pull out the right words to describe the plethora of emotions you will feel. Click on my flickr link to the right of the page and look at some of the pictures of Allison sleeping. The amazing, awe-inspired feelings I get when I look at pictures of her sleeping are 1/10th of the feelings I get when I am holding her while she is sleeping.
  3. Smiling and Laughing. Getting another human being (of any age) to smile is a very rewarding accomplishment. Getting a newborn baby to smile is a heart-melting accomplishment. Getting a newborn baby to laugh is a life-altering accomplishment. One memory I hope I never lose is the look on Allison’s face and the sound that she made when I was able to get her to laugh for the first time ever. Getting her to laugh was so astronomically important to me that I actually texted Skid to tell him about it. This may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but I never (literally never-I’m not using hyperbole) share my feelings with others, except maybe my wife and even then she would say it was like pulling teeth.

My wife has told anyone who will listen that no one told us how much work a new baby would be. My guess is that until you actually do it, you will never understand how difficult it is. More importantly, however, is that no one can really explain how rewarding raising a kid is either. When your kid is born, your life changes completely, but in my opinion it is changed for the better.


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