Thursday, December 9, 2010

Adventures in parenting

My boss has asked me to start writing a weekly column about my experiences as a new parents. Here is my first one, published this week:

Nine weeks ago when I left work, I had the distinct feeling that I should clear my desk. My husband had the same feeling that afternoon. Sure enough, just over two days later, we became parents for the first time. Jane Olina, named in honor of her grandmothers, was born on her due date, Oct. 8, 2010. She was nine pounds, six ounces, and nearly 23 inches long.

After 10 years of it being just the two of us (and various pets), our lives have changed drastically. Becoming a parent is one of the hardest and best things I’ve ever done.

Stepping out of the hospital with our new daughter in tow was a shock to the system. We’d been in our hospital room with lovely nurses to help us, and now we were being thrown out into the world with a new, tiny person to take care of. To make matters worse, we couldn’t even go straight home. We needed to stop and pick up a couple of prescriptions first.

The first thing I noticed when we left the hospital was how stupid everyone else was. Couldn’t they see that we had a newborn here? Don’t you idiots know how to drive? Watch it with that shopping cart! I was hyper-aware of everything going on around me.

The first few days at home were exhausting and a complete blur. Of course when we should have been sleeping, we were taking the baby to meet great-grandma and entertaining visitors. I was torn between just wanting to be left alone and wanting to show off our new daughter.

The new hyper-awareness also continued. The first night, my poor husband was up every few minutes checking on the baby. I finally told him that he really needed to stop, or none of us were going to get any sleep.

Thankfully we became much more relaxed as the days wore on. Diaper changes and feedings became second nature. We say “good job” to burps (no one says this to me when I burp) and have deep discussions about whether it’s poop or just toots. We have lots of snuggle time, too.

Little Jane has gone from being a newborn who does nothing but eat, sleep, and poop, to an engaging two-month-old who coos and smiles. She thinks I’m one of the most hilarious people on the planet, a genius at peek-a-boo.

There have already been many firsts: the first time she smiled, the first time she reached out to grab a toy, her first time trick-or-treating, first Thanksgiving, and first visit with Santa Claus. Each of these moments has been captured with a thousand pictures and videos, which I’m all too happy to share with anyone who asks and even those who don’t.

Next up is baby’s first Christmas. It’s going to be the first of many wonderful Christmases to come. I think back to the magical Christmases of my childhood and cannot wait to recreate that experience for my daughter.

Every day I feel like I’m viewing the whole world for the first time again through my daughter’s eyes. The next year is going to be one of amazement, laughter, and tears, and I can’t wait to share it with all of you.

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