Before I had my sons, I was certain I had the whole parenting thing figured out. I’d studied education in school, taught young children for my job, and read parenting books by the dozens. I was so ready for this.
Reality check: Newborn babies were nothing like I thought they were. That sounds so silly to say, but I was the first of my friends to have children by a solid five years, and my concept of “newborns” was, in fact, more like a four month old baby. Newborns are actually terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, I rush at the chance to see brand new babies when my friends have them, but holy smokes! This was all eye-opening for me seven years ago. The panicked wailing, the bright red skin, the itty-bity diapers, the careful monitoring of poop and pee, the total lack of sleep…it’s completely overwhelming. As most parents will admit, many of my well-laid plans flew out the window. My plan to have a well-scheduled, easy child was replaced with a commitment to full-on attachment parenting in attempt to simply survive the horror that is colic. I answered the door to see our poor UPS man’s red face, only realizing I was holding a nursing baby while signing for a package after the fact. I nursed on-demand, co-slept, baby-wore, all out of necessity for my own sanity.