Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Life is a Luv's Commercial

Do you remember those old Luv's diaper commercials about the people who had rose-colored expectations about what having a baby would be like? The tagline was like, "Get real, and then get Luv's." Because Luv's were the Suave shampoo of diapers, cheaper but just as good. I feel like the ad agency that came up with that campaign must have been populated with actual parents because it's exactly how I feel. My expectations were all earth mothers filmed through cheese cloth - I was going to have a natural, drug free labor; I wasn't going to let that baby leave my sight in the hospital; formula was never going to touch his lips; breastfeeding was going to be second nature; I would never hear him whimper and think, "maybe he'll go back to sleep"... But not everyone can be that softly lit earth mother. Mom has always said that when it comes to having kids, "never say never." But before you have a baby, those nevers don't seem unreasonable. They even feel like common sense.

In reality, after 18 hours of labor I consented to an epidural (total labor time: 22 hours). In reality, after being up for more than 24 hours (laboring for most of them), the endlessly wailing infant became too much and we took the nurses up on their offer to take him to the nursery for a couple of hours so we could sleep. In reality, breastfeeding was not a natural, easy process and Walt didn't gain enough weight, so we had to start supplementing with formula at 7 weeks. In reality, it just isn't possible to leap to every sad little baby noise. A lot of them aren't even actually sad noises, they're just the baby practicing different sounds to see how they feel. And in reality, at some point, you really just want to get a little more sleep.

There are some fantasies even I don't harbor - making my own baby food; banning tv from any room the baby is in; hiring a Chinese nanny so he'll grow up bilingual and really for a world market in which China is king... But I do think I'll try to keep from introducing sugar until he's more than a year old. And I want to expose him to as many different vegetables as possible. But that seems reasonable, doable to me. When I was growing up, Mom cooked us lots of meals with ingredients we didn't recognize. Her rule was always that we had to try everything, but it was okay if we didn't like it. I hope I can be like my mom, that I can be a creative cook for Walt and not take it personally when he complains about what I've made. But never say never... :)

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