Monday, June 2, 2014

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The Questions I’ve Been Asked Since Having A Newborn (and the answers I would love to give)


When this photo was taken I'd hardly slept in two days.

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My wife and I had a baby in early May. We named her Aspen, and she is a sweet and wonderful little baby girl. But let’s face it, having a baby is exhausting. It makes you sleepy and moody and sometimes, it makes you hate life and everyone around you. And to top it all off, people like to ask me obviously stupid questions about the baby. They are always well intentioned, and outwardly, I always answer them graciously. But after a long night of being up with the baby, there is a sinister side of me that wants to lay a smack down on these people.

Below are some of those angry answers. Please keep in mind that these answers are more of a reflection of how exhausted having a baby can make a parent. More or less, a newborn can turn a person into an asshole.

You look exhausted. Are you going to try and get some sleep tonight?

Eat my shit! You know what, yeah… I do look exhausted. That’s because I was up until 3AM last night trying to resist the urge to tape the binky to my newborn’s face. The rest of the night is a blur of light snoozing, poop, and wet wipes. I will not even try to get some sleep tonight. I will not try to get some sleep for the next year, because it isn’t going to happen. Shut your stupid face with your quiet bedrooms and only one butt to wipe in the night… your own.

What’s that white stuff on your shirt?

Puke. It’s always puke. Tomorrow, there will be puke on my clothes again. If the stain is something other than white, it’s probably piss or shit. Deal with it.

Does the baby cry much?

Really? It’s a baby. Yes. She cries. All the time she cries. She cries when she’s hungry. She cries when she isn’t hungry. She cries because she doesn’t have the strength and coordination to lift her head off the floor. Most of the time, I don’t understand why she cries.
Sometimes I cry.

Are you making sure to help your wife?

You know what, it’s the craziest thing. Now that she’s had the baby, I just don’t care about her anymore. Her job is done. Why treat her like something of value? She had a 7lb baby ripped from a gaping wound in her stomach (my wife had a C-section), and ever since she’s been home from the hospital, I’ve been having her spend long hours in the kitchen making me sandwiches. The answer to your question is, yes! I have been very caring to my wife. In fact, I witnessed what the doctors did to her in order to make this little miracle happen. It was brutal. I almost passed out. And once it was all done, I realized that she’s the strongest person I know.

Do you think this will be your last kid?

Don’t ask me a question like that. Look at my bloodshot eyes. I’m in the throws of hell right now. Your question is like asking me two weeks after getting food poisoning if I plan to eat at Taco Bell again. Ask me that question in a year.

I know it’s not exactly the same, but I got this new puppy, and it’s been keeping me up all night whimpering. I totally feel you (I know this isn't a question, but I've been hearing it a lot.)

No. Your new dog is not the same as my newborn baby. You can put your dog in another room, shut the door, and call it a night. No one will think less of you. You can leave it in the yard with some food and a water dish, and it will feed itself. Your dog can walk, eat, and lift its own head without assistance. When it comes to physical development, your puppy is a good year ahead of my newborn. It won’t always be this way, but for now, congratulations! Now take your puppy comparison and shove it.
Does the baby look more like you or your wife?

Right now the baby looks like a shriveled up old man with black eyes and wrinkly hands. In three months, she will look a lot like Alfred Hitchcock with fat cheeks and a bald little head. I have no idea who she will look like at this point. But what I do know is that she coos a lot, and it’s sweet, and when I hold her, even though I’m tired, I can’t help but love her.  

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Clint Edwards was blessed with a charming and spitfire wife, a video game obsessed little boy, and a snarky little girl in a Cinderella play dress. When Clint was 9-years-old his father left. With no example of fatherhood, he had to learn how to be a father and husband through trial and error. His essays on parenting and marriage have been featured in New York Times Motherlode, Huffington Post Parents, Huffington Post Weddings, and The Good Men Project. He lives in Oregon. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Photo by Lucinda Higley


Maple said...

Oh, I feel you with the puke. I've been there...its why I have a bajillion receiving blankets and always packed 5 extra outfits for the baby.

Clint said...

Puke is the worst!

Steve Anderson said...

I know it's not exactly the same thing but... I was taking a nap today, with the TV way down low and just the screen door closed... when I hear my neighbors talking outside using their outside voices. So irritating, amirite? ;-)

Linda Unwin said...

Loved this, Clint! Your daughter looks beautiful!

NicoleB1977 said...

She is adorable.And, I'm in the same boat. My second son was born on May 19th. I especially love the question I've been getting since we got out of the hospital, "Is he sleeping through the night?" I want to say, "What?! His stomach is the size of a quarter. He can't eat enough to sleep for more than two hours! If he slept through the

NicoleB1977 said...

Night, he would starve! Is that what you want?!" But, instead, I calmly reply, "Not yet."