This is easy... except when it's not

Sep 06 2011 Published by under [Et Al], [Life Trajectories]

I know that a lot of recent first time parents are gonna disagree, but babies are easy. They basically have two modes - on/off. When on all they want is to eat or be changed, with the occasional desire to be entertained*. Yes, this occasional desire will almost always be at 3:38am, but for the most part there isn't much going on.

We have been amazed at the simplicity of the Weer One, since the first time around we were more like "OMG SHE GRUNTED, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?!?!?!" as first time parents are wont to be. This time we are more apt to yell "Honey, where did we leave the baby?" across the house. The kid mostly chills out or sleeps and when she doesn't, it's feeding time. It's no wonder there are virtually no pictures of second or third kids as babies.

But as soon as we think we can coast for a bit, shit gets real. We tried to have people over for dinner the other night. We got chatting and they didn't leave until midnight, which unfortunately set off a cascade of "why did we do that", ending in the Wee One deciding that she was going to hit new heights on the Epic Tantrum Scale.... twice in one day.

When there is only the baby around it is possible to roll with the sleep deprivation by adjusting your schedule to sleep later in the morning or earlier in the evening, but Kid 1 sets hard boundaries on those times. It doesn't matter if you were up from 3:30 to 5:00, she is still getting up at 6:00 and there is nothing you can do about it.

We are surviving because we know there is light at the end of the tunnel, even if we can't see it yet. We recognize that the Weer One has thus far been simplicity personified and we're not taking that for granted. This is just an overly long and sleep deprived prattling way to say that overall the second is not nearly as life disrupting as the first, but thinking you can rush right back to being a normal person again is gonna bite you in the ass.

*Unless your baby has colic or some other issue, and to you I am sorry

11 responses so far

  • Alyssa says:

    I'm definitely seeing that the infant stage is actually pretty easy in comparison to later, more active, stages. I wish we weren't as worked up about everything those first weeks! Good luck on things getting back to normal(ish) soon!

  • New Asst. Prof. says:

    Amen! Sweet Pea just turned one, so we've been reflecting on " a year ago, we were..." In hindsight, so much simpler vs. our adorable little person trying out different ways of pitching a fit.

  • EEGiorgi says:

    Dunno. My First One was active since Day One. No, she wasn't colicky. She was active, which means lying in her crib was boring and the only way she had to let me know was scream. All other parents told me it was easy and I'd just stare emptily, bags under my eyes and tousled hair because I didn't have time to brush it. My Second One was easy, though. So be prepared. Us scientists, we look for patterns, but when it comes to babies... there ain't any.

  • Busy says:

    Babies are like hammering a boulder into pieces. Technically easy, but in practice a lot of hard work.

  • PQA says:

    @EEGiorgi I totally and completely agree with you, mine was super active as well. To me the hardest months were the first four where I got no sleep, the baby needed entertainment 24/7 and would only accept it from me. When people would talk about easy newborns I would have the same stare. Things have gotten exponentially easier as she has gotten older. But I have a hard time relating to most people's newborn experiences.

  • proflikesubstance says:

    How do you people even remember the early days of any kid over the age of 3 months? The first 3-4 months from the first one have been tossed in my mind's shredder and I currently don't even remember where I am half the time.

  • New Asst. Prof. says:

    PLS, I kept a journal...knew there was no way in hell I'd be coherent enough for a "baby book," so I kept a small notebook by my bed and wrote half-coherent things in it. A lot of things I only remember now because they're written down. My husband happened to have a pack of PostIt notes next to his side of the bed, so he scribbled his thoughts down and we've put those in there as well. Sweet Pea is bound to think we're nuts once she's old enough to read it!

  • Reyna says:

    I remember the first 3 months because they sucked. For us, it was not true that newborns sleep all the time. Mine slept hardly at all. And sleep deprivation makes me exceptionally cranky. I would rather relive the tantruming stage than the newborn stage.

  • DJMH says:

    Yeah, it's nice to hear you got a calm one but Small was a nurse-every-2hours-all-night-long kind of kid. We have power struggles sometimes now, but every night he sleeps for 5 hours at a stretch I am SO grateful to have a two year old, not a newborn.

  • becca says:

    My 2 year old is a zillion times easier than he was as a baby. Those first six weeks almost killed me. And he wasn't a particularly difficult baby. I blame PPD.
    In other words- the subjective experience you have with parenting may bear little relationship to the subjective experience others have, even when it *seems* like the objective experiences are the same.

  • Ink says:

    LOVE the comparison between you as first timers and as experienced parents. Tee hee! Where is the baby, indeed?

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