Advice for New Parents

I make it a point not to add to the pile of unsolicited advice new parents get, even though I have access to a fascinating focus group of two. I stick to as many facts as I can, responding only to direct questions.

(Confidential to the woman who followed me and a newborn Alden down the street to repeatedly insist I put a hat on him: I still hate you.)

I’m thinking more about this lately since my friend S is about to have a baby. What can I tell her that is guaranteed to be useful? So far I’ve got two things I believe to be universally true.

1. When your kid is being a demon, post some photos of her — sweet or sour — to Facebook. You’ll get an instant gratification burst when people comment on the cute-itude. Sometimes you need help to see your kids in a better light.

2. Toys that make electronic noise? Good luck banishing those. Would you like to hear how that went for me? What? You can’t hear me over the singing toolbox? Some of them have volume control. Look carefully for that switch. For those that don’t, put a small piece of duct tape over the speaker. It will mute the blooping and screeching into something a little less sanity challenging.

That’s all I’ve got. Seriously. Parenting is a series of shocks and amazements for me. If anyone else has some universal truths I would love to hear them.

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8 responses to this post.

  1. 1. All kids are cute when they’re sleeping.
    2. Everything will look a little better in the morning.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Lisa Gerhardt on December 6, 2011 at 8:31 am

    3. It’s perfectly acceptable to dress your child for the next day. It makes mornings MUCH easier when they are already in their clothes. (we call them “comfy clothes”)
    4. Earplugs are fashionally acceptable in the middle of the night. You can wear them to sleep peacefully or to protect your eardrums from crying/screaming/yelling.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jeannie on December 6, 2011 at 11:41 am

    In the first year and especially the first couple of months, whatever is happening–good or bad–is guaranteed to change in two weeks. Sleep hell? Feeding hell? General want-to-poke-your-eyes-out-ness? Just hang on for two weeks and it will all get better.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Tia on December 7, 2011 at 9:55 am

    A wise friend once said to me, “It’s okay if you think about throwing your screaming/non-sleeping baby out the window. As long as you don’t actually do it.” Made me feel a lot less guilty.

    Oh, and don’t feel guilty if you spend the first six weeks post-partum watching TV while your baby sleeps on a boppy on your lap. And don’t feel bad if you’re watching violent or risque shows. Your baby will never remember.

    Reply

  5. Nobody’s doing it better than you. They’re all just really good liars.

    Reply

  6. Posted by Sarah's other half on December 7, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    My main universal truths: Pay more attention to them being good than to them being bad. Don’t expect them to immediately get over being angry. Let them be mad — tell them we all get mad sometimes — let them know they can come back & play with everyone else when they’re over it.

    Reply

  7. 1. When I was a kid, I stole a wooden turtle lawn ornament from the botanical store and my mom made me go back and confess to the manager.
    2. When I was a kid, my mom only let me play Nintendo if the volume was turned all the way off.
    3. When I was a kid, I sucked.
    4. Your kids rule.
    5. That is all.

    Reply

  8. Posted by vikki on December 18, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    During baby time…
    1. Babies run the household, and that is just fine.
    2. Only partially plan, because whatever you plan, it will change. (See #1)
    3. The sleep when they do advice I found more than annoying. It assumes your baby sleeps. (See #1, again)
    4. Ask Jillian. She knows everything and if she doesn’t know… she’ll either found out or make you laugh.
    5. Avoid advice from others that say thinks like…my child never watches TV, has never had a chicken nugget, or my baby slept thru the night from day one. These people are not here to help you.

    Reply

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