June is barely six months old, so my parenting mistakes have only just begun. But right now I’d like to share a few “derp” moments. Because we’re all learning. And sometimes shit gets real. And maybe my stupid mistakes won’t make you feel so bad about your stupid mistakes. So here we go.
First is something that I can’t believe I used to do. Yes, I already have one of those. I’ve been a parent for SIX MONTHS and already I’m “looking back” on myself and saying wow, I can’t believe I did that! I was really naive … a few months ago.
So back when I was a super-duper new parent (five months ago) I held out on buying a swing, which is a first-time parent mistake if I’ve ever heard one. Swings can get pretty expensive and I wasn’t even sure if our baby would like swings, so instead of getting something cool like this or this, I went with the obvious alternative:
|The cold, hard ground.|
I just put her down on the floor. Just right on the floor, where people walk and step on shit. Mommy has to go to the bathroom and I don’t know where to put you, so … here’s a nice, wooden floor. And then she’d cry and I’d be like I DONT GET IT. You mean babies don’t like lying on hard-ass floors where they can be stepped on? They’d rather be on a nice, pillowy apparatus that lulls them to sleep? Finally, one of us wised up and went to Target and got a baby swing.
She actually didn’t like the swing at first. But we kept sticking her in there when she got cranky, and soon she realized that, oh yeah, swings are better than the cold, hard ground where mommy used to put me, and she’d go to sleep.
|DON’T STEP ON THE BABY PLEASE DERRRP|
My second Derp Moment is something I said I’d never do and then immediately did it when I became a parent: Co-sleeping.
Before I became a parent, I thought co-sleeping was the dumbest shit in the world.
|“Let’s go bang in the car.”|
You know that scene in Away We Go, where Burt and Verona visit LN Fisher’s house and they find out LN, her husband, and their kids “practice family bed”? And Verona is like, “What happens when you guys want to be alone? Do you go out to the car?” And LN gets all self-righteous and goes, “No, Verona. We don’t go out to the car.” I’m totally Verona in that scene. Pre-baby, when I’d hear that a couple slept with their kids, I’d be like, “Um…so when do you have sex? Never?” I still don’t know, but I’m too afraid to ask. What if you’re banging and you bang so hard the baby falls off the bed and you don’t notice? How do you even explain that to the doctor?
|And it’s spelled “Ellen,” dumb ass.|
Lou and I are a prime example of how almost everything you think you are going to do before you become parents becomes irrelevant. We were adamantly against co-sleeping. No way that hippie bullshit was happening in our bed, thankyouverymuch. Unbelieveably, we were schooled on the FIRST NIGHT June came home from the hospital. Our baby would not sleep. She was a champ in the hospital — we’d change her, she’d eat, Lou would swaddle her back up and she’d be out for at least a few hours. It was great. But for some reason the minute we came home she refused to sleep, even when she was swaddled. She would fall asleep in our arms, but the minute we’d try to put her back in the basinette, she’d wake up and start howling. Um, what?
My husband weathered this patiently at first. He just kept swaddling her and rocking her and burping her. After a while, however, his eyes glazed over and the rocking became more frantic. He told me to scoot over and wedged her in the bed between us. June snuggled in and quieted down.
I was shocked. “What about–?”
“DONT CARE,” he said, and turned back over and fell asleep.
She was only three days old, and already we were practicing “family bed.”
What I’ve learned is not necessarily that co-sleeping is awesome or that any family should or should not practice it (we still don’t have babies in our bed, and we like it that way). What I’ve learned is that you’re an idiot if you think (like I did) you’re going to “make” a newborn do anything. Bitch, that newborn owns you. Before I had a kid I was like, Well, if they want to sleep in our bed, I just won’t let them. A THOUSAND LOLS.
|The baby is the boss. And she has you in an iron grip.*|
THE parenting lesson that I’ve learned so far? You’ll do anything for sleep. Yes, you will. You’ll have a lot of nice little ideas about parenting and what you’d like to do with your kids, and maybe you’ll do some of those things once you become a parent, and maybe you won’t. But if those parenting fantasies get in the way of a good night’s sleep, I guarantee you they’ll all go flying out the window.
So, these are my derp moments, summed up for your judgment. Please feel free to share some derp moments of your own. And yes, you have some. Maybe not as derpy as mine, but everyone has one or two. And if you don’t have kids yet, you too will have some derp moments eventually.
Especially if it gets you more sleep.
*worst photoshop ever