When I had a child, I knew life would never be the same again, but I was unprepared for the depth and the breadth to which that statement was true. Within days of having a baby, all sorts of things become obvious. First of all, that statement about your body never being the same after having a baby? Totally an understatement. My husband took one look at my post c-section body before we even left the hospital and said, “I know you said you would still look pregnant after the baby was born, but I didn’t realize you would still look so…” He trailed off and I realized words failed him regarding how bad I looked. I responded with the grace expected in such a situation and bit his head off.
And the act of moving a baby from point A to point B? Ridiculous. It is easier to move Sherpas up Mount Everest with steamer trunks. To take a baby with you anywhere, you need at a minimum: 1) A diaper bag, which must contain not one but multiple diapers, preferably ten or more because the little dears will crap them up every twenty minutes, especially if they realize you are low on diapers. It also must contain a baby blanket (for covering the baby while nursing) or bottles, formula and supplies if you are not breast feeding. You also need toys to distract and entertain the baby. You need a pacifer for if the baby actually deigns to consider going to sleep. You need TWO changes of clothes (see: diapers) because at least one outfit will get trashed while you are out, guaranteed. You need at least one pack of diaper wipes, because a particularly heinous poopy diaper may require five or more wipes to clean all the poop up. You need a garbage bag to put all the poopy diapers in, and a ziploc to put the trashed outfits in (unless you just want to throw up your hands and throw them away, in which case you can put them in the garbage bag). You need burp rags for when you put the baby on your shoulder or for when the little dear spits up (and the baby WILL spit up guaranteed). Nothing grosser than someone else’s half digested breast milk soaking through your clothes. You will need to move all the contents of your purse into the diaper bag, because you will not be able to carry both when the sheer bulk of the diaper bag becomes apparent and because that will decrease the odds of your grabbing your purse but not your diaper bag when you leave the house.
GOD HELP YOU IF YOU LEAVE YOUR HOUSE WITHOUT THE DIAPER BAG! The baby has a built in sensor that detects the stress in your voice when you say to your husband, “Honey, we left the diaper bag.” He or she immediately begins shitting and puking with such enthusiasm that The Exorcist is rendered unimpressive. You are doomed. By the time you return home, there will be poop, pee and spit up on your clothes, the baby’s clothes, your husband’s clothes, the interior of whatever building you went into, and the interior of your car. The dry cleaning bills will be prohibitive. You will consider donating the child to a Russian orphanage.
2) You will need a car seat. The car seat sounds easy, but for that you need to know how to lock the car seat in and out of the car seat base, which must be precisely adjusted upon the back seat of your car, and how to tighten and untighten the little four point harness that attaches the baby to seat. You also must have the requisite dangly squeaky toys across the front of the seat which only promise to entertain the baby. They do not ACTUALLY entertain the baby. Nothing entertains the baby. You must also realize that the baby DESPISES being put in the car seat, and adjust yourself accordingly.
And heaven help you if you will be gone for more than a couple hours, or overnight because then you must load up 3) The DREADED PACK N PLAY. The pack n play is a playpen, basically, with a diaper changing surface stretched across one side of it. The whole thing folds up elaborately and origami is easier. I went through my daughter’s entire babyhood never knowing hold to fold that damn thing. I never managed to fold or unfold it once. I did smash my fingers a few times trying. We actually just gave up and left one at my parent’s house, because that way we wouldn’t have to deal with it. Which leads us to item 4) the baby daddy, because you will not be able to negotiate the mechanics of the car seat or the pack n play alone. I am a physician with a Phi Beta Kappa and an MD to my name, with degrees in biochemistry and chemistry, and I cannot fold or unfold a pack n play. I still cannnot adjust my daughter’s car seat, and she is seven. I don’t know how single parents do it. They must have to hire someone to tighten the seat and pack away the pack n play. So my DH has been more than instrumental in just the above few items, not to mention being with me every other step of the way. So I will just end by saying, honey, thank you so much for being with me because I never could have done this without you. Especially the pack n play.