One detail that was glossed over (or semi-glossed over, depending on which post) was that our baby Victor was born prematurely. This actually makes raising children more convenient and more terrifying at the same time.
A premature baby is still thinking like he’s in the womb, which means their entire life involves one of a few rudimentary elements, and typically with way less crying involved than a full-term:
- Whining about uncomfortable things like heat and cold
- Whining about not feeling comfortable about getting burped
- Whining about being alone with nobody around
- Whining because nobody has heard him whining for a while
For all of you folks who consider a baby a lovable bundle of joy with unfettered affection and cuteness, you’re all wrong (except for the cuteness…sometimes).
Life Tip: If you value a decent standing in popular society, don’t ever imply that babies are anything but pure perfection. Their immaculate nature cannot be questioned even when they’re spreading their immaculation all over your best shirts.
The truth is that a baby is quite a carnal creature. They are literally thinking about nothing but themselves, and have a phenomenally short-term memory that vaguely remembers that making loud noises fixes problems.
This loud-noise-fixing-problems solution is fine without a capacity for language or finer motor skills,
but thankfully our 2-week-old has now surpassed some of my past bosses in temperance and restraint and absolutely nothing else with stuff.
Life Tip: If you value a decent standing in most of the work world, don’t talk poorly about any idiots you used to work for. Even if it was 10 years ago, their IQ is par golf and their leadership skills aren’t fit to lead a parade, everyone is an especially talented and gifted flower with all the potential that a unicorn’s puke can launch over a rainbow.
Nevertheless, our life slogs onward as we fulfill our doody. Here are a few gleanings of wisdom to bear in mind as a parent:
1. Throw your plans out the window as soon as you’re a parent
Everything in a child’s life is unpredictable. This is normal, and your parenting skills are more tested based on your adaptability than your preparedness. Preparedness is a matter of handling Child #2. Probably.
2. Don’t expect anything except fatigue and disorientation
Sleeplessness is natural for new parents. It feels unnatural, but that’s only because the human body wasn’t designed to wake up every 3 hours to screaming. It also is normal to have to do everything that new parenting requires without a whole lot of confidence, but that also is a jarring study in instinct and learning whatever your own crappy parents never bothered to tell you (now grandparents).
3. Parenting is successful only through connectedness
Our friends and church family have been vitally necessary for us to persist against all improbable odds. They’ve given us moral support, physical help, advice and a metric buttload of information. If it weren’t for them we’d be discovering new ways to ingest legal things to get an illegal experience from it.
All in all, being a parent is wonderful (or so I’ve heard), minus the initial investments, which is what we’re currently doing. When we’re not trying to maintain the small new human, we’re trying to survive on our own.
Imagine a low-maintenance custodial job. Every 3-4 hours someone barges into your office screaming incomprehensibly for you to clean or maintain something. The client stays screaming at you making your ears bleed until you do what he was trying to get at. This is newborn parenting, except that there’s never a day off, most of your paycheck is withheld for about a year and you get publicly shame-stared for bringing the miniature person along when they decide that Their Highness wants a wiped hiney.
That’s not completely true. A baby in public merits about as much attention as one could want. Apparently, the best way to magnify this experience is so common through Facebook that only a few baby photos has everyone screaming “pics or it didn’t happen!”
Amidst this chaotic rhythm, I’ve been making headway in that eternal question “what do I want to be when I grow up?” Since I done growed up, I’ve been brainstorming a few avenues to go that can keep my Honey Dumplings and Junior from suffering from defoodration:
1. Wait on God
Ah, the waiting, the endless and wonderful Waiting On The Lord that all believers love to do. This is a great thing to do, but good night it’s hard!
Technically, everything that happens has been permitted by God, meaning that whatever door opens is the one He wants for us, but you can’t steer a parked car and a mossy stone doesn’t gather rolls.
2. Mooch off the government
I’ve had a difficult time taking from my Uncle Sam, largely because he’s a bit of an Indian giver. He’s there for me, but only as long as I’m demographically of a certain persuasion. He sees me when I’m sleeping, he knows when I’m awake, he enforces when I’ve been bad or good but I’ve been good for goodness sake.
Apparently my family’s desire for self-sufficiency is offensive to those who love the government, so that’s all my well-tuned and overactive sense of restraint and privacy will express on the matter. Needless to say, this is a last-resort, but more on the principle of freedom than any sort of pride.
3. Vend Experience
I’ve been kicking around ideas to turn my Philosopher Accountant dream into something viable. It would involve seminars/webinars/stuff that give just the straight dirt on about every self-help issue that really matters.
This will take a ton of work, along with a good handful of others who share the vision, but it could be done. Right now it’s a matter of figuring out if it’s worth the effort, and filling out this survey will help tremendously on that!
4. Do something else
I’ve been kicking around ideas for a courier service and an art business with my wife as well, but it’s hard to get traction without feedback. Of course, being a new father makes brainstorming more of a general brainclouding.
There’s always a good idea that hasn’t been discovered yet, and I’d like to hear it if you’ve got it. The world is my oyster, and like real oysters it’s unlikely that I’ll succeed. However, since God has been guiding us this far it’s reasonably likely that we’re not going to fail yet!
Family Tip: Don’t just hope for miracles, live by them!