What I’ve Learned About Babies: 6 Month Edition
Alt. title- “When in doubt, pee.”
When you wake up, pee.
When baby goes down for a nap, pee.
Every free second you have, every time you think of it… pee.
Because you will inevitably forget, and then the baby will fall asleep on you for the first time all day, and you will get stuck, and have to somehow extricate yourself from a 6 month old who somehow weighs 800 pounds and will startle at a pin drop…so you will sit, and squirm, because you will HAVE TO PEE SO BAD.
And then the baby will sleep for 2 hours.
Do yourself a favor, always pee.
And learn to eat fast.
I used to savor my food.
Gobble that shit up.
It’s incredible how fast you forget to feed yourself when you’re concentrating on a tiny human all day.
You need your strength!
Murphy’s Law states that your child will meltdown the second you try to be productive.
Babies have a superhuman ability to wake up and fuss right when you start to work. Or eat. Or pee. (See above.)
You will never complete all of the tasks you set for yourself on any given day, but you WILL learn to be uber productive in 20 minute increments.
Readjust your criteria for what constitutes a productive or successful day, and go for small things, one at a time.
Set clear goals for each day (which can include, but is not limited to- shower, pee in private, nap, get dressed, answer emails, make work calls, do some work online, go outside, call a friend, text a friend, Facetime with family, cuddle your spouse, cuddle your animal(s), clean something, make something, etc) and then be totally ok with it when you do none of them.
If you do one? Reward with wine.
If you do multiple? Reward with wine.
If you do none? Reward with wine.
(Baby goals are not included because they will take up 99% of your time regardless.)
Life is a constant battle between what’s good for baby and what’s comfortable for you.
Just accept the fact that if you are comfortable in a position, your kid will not be.
Once they are comfortable- both of your arms will be asleep, you will have a leg cramp, and your neck will be torqued at an odd angle.
Just embrace it.
They’re only going to get heavier.
End of story.
Babies will rule you.
Silver lining- They are the best excuse you will ever have to get out of shit you don’t want to do.
Leave the house.
As much as possible.
Just factor in the inevitability that you will fuck up naptime and therefore not sleep for 3 days.
This is not the time to accept every invitation to lunch/brunch/kid’s birthday parties/adult’s birthday parties/catch-ups/hangouts/drinks/work things/etc.
Go to the things that make your heart happy.
Above all, make sure they’re with your people.
The people you don’t have to try with.
The people you don’t care about wearing makeup in front of.
The people who will love you even when you forget what time/day/month you’re supposed to meet and then show up at the wrong place covered in spit up and call them from the car crying to apologize and then they meet you midway at a random park and hold your kid while you lay on the ground and stare at clouds.
Those people are worth your precious out of the house time.
Everyone else can wait.
Maybe it’s because we are in the midst of WHAT-THE-FUCK-IS-GOING-ON-AMERICA-GET-YOUR-SHIT-TOGETHER-2016… but I pay more attention to politics, and the world in general, than I ever have.
Everyone said this would happen, but I didn’t really believe them.
Up til now, I got all my politics from Martin Sheen in The West Wing circa 1998 and was completely fine with that.
But now, my 6 month old watched all 4 nights of the democratic convention and I swear his first word might be equality. I’m working on it…it has a lot of syllables and isn’t going well…but we are trying.
All of a sudden I’m constantly thinking about how early I should start to teach him about consent.
And in this age of over-exposure and instant gratification, my husband and I spend our time talking about social media and cyber bullies and crazyness that wasn’t anywhere near our brains when we decided to try to have a baby.
Not to mention the fact that the environment is dying… and our children inherit it… so… yeah… fuck.
How much sleep you get dictates how positive your day will be, how happy your baby will be, how much kindness you will treat everyone around you with, and how much patience you will have- with him, with your partner, and with yourself.
Go to bed early.
The faster you get on board with 9pm lights out the happier life becomes.
You will always regret staying up late.
Stay up late.
Yeah… I know, parenthood is full of contradictions.
But making time for yourself is so key, and sometimes…a lot of the time… that time is at night.
Get a babysitter.
Go out with your partner.
Go out with your lady friends.
Or stay in.
Where it’s quiet.
Take a bath.
Watch silly television.
Listen to good sleepy music.
Talk about your day.
Talk about your dreams.
Talk about all the shit that scares and frustrates you all day everyday.
Check in with yourself constantly.
Fill yourself up in little increments, because you will have so many moments where you forget who you are, and feel so under water with the day to day, that you forget that the surface is right there…
That you just have to look for it, and give yourself permission to touch it.
When you find what fills you up, when you remember what makes you happy and gives you a sense of belonging and purpose- Grasp it and hold on- even just for a second…
The more you fill yourself up, the more you have to give.
Everyday is not a win.
But there are perfect moments, even in the worst days.
You will alternate between extreme love, and extreme annoyance at your partner, your kid, yourself, and the world in general…
Work on breathing in the perfect moments, and breathing through the shitty ones.
You will never regret staring at your child’s perfect mouth for an extra minute, or giving extra kisses, or watching from across the room as they do something new for the first time.
Watch those expressions.
The look of wonder when they feel something cold on their cheek for the first time, the concentration when they drop a toy and try to look for it, the soft coos and smiles first thing in the morning.
And try to imprint it.
If you can bottle up and sell that shit?
What did you learn, 6 months in?