1: Redundancy is not just good for business.
It will only take one rendition of Mt. Vesuvius recreated by your daughter’s rear end to learn the value of having a back-up to the back up. One diaper cannot withstand firepower of that magnitude. Always keep a spare diaper handy and remember that wipes cost far less than shampooing a carpet so don’t be stingy!
2: You will do something to make your child cry and don’t be surprised if you cry too.
Baby nail clippers will lead you into a false sense of security before ripping your soul out when you accidentally clip too close. While your first instinct will be to commit seppuku, you must restrain yourself and remember that even the best parents aren’t perfect. There will be mistakes along the way and there will be tears but as long as you can bear through the pain of the moment, both you and your child will grow from it. To quote everyone’s favorite doctor, “The way I see it, every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things don’t always soften the bad things, but vice versa, the bad things don’t always spoil the good things and make them unimportant.” (Doctor Who, Vincent and the Doctor, Series 5, episode 10)
3: Sleep happens…Sometimes
Sleep deprivation is only fun when it involves binge watching all three original trilogy Star Wars in one night. Unfortunately, baby is more Rancor than Princess Leia.
(Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back)
The key to sleeping soundly as possible is figuring out what works best for you and the baby. Doctors push sleeping in cribs and bassinets because it is the “safest” setup and keeps them liable free in case of SIDS. Some babies are completely on board with the doctor but sometimes babies work best with co-sleeping. My advice is to research it yourself to determine what would feel best for you and your little one. As long as they are safe and are sleeping it doesn’t matter what configuration you are in.
4: You inexplicably have become fluent in jibberish
Babies are notorious for screaming their heads off so when you get a glimpse of a smile, you will work you butt off to see it again. This may require you to do some things that you swore you would never do, like speaking three octaves higher with Tweety Bird pronunciation. What seems even crazier is when you realize you have had a full hour discussion with your baby whose main response is “oooh” with an occasional fart to spice up the conversation. The best part is you finally have someone to share your time travel theories and will listen with rapt attention. It doesn’t matter what you decide to talk with your baby about, it is a magical time where no one is understanding each other and everyone is totally cool with it.
5: You don’t have to be Superman to be super dad
As many men can attest to, we are a get it done kind of species. Give us our tools and duct tape and we can fix any problem. Men desire challenges and want to know they can stand up to the tests given them. When it comes to babies, there is no “fixing” a baby. There is no instruction manual, no special power tool to solve a dirty diaper (note to self: invent diaper changing power tool). Sometimes babies are going to cry and sometimes there is not a thing, not one single thing, that is going to stop them crying. And that is 100% ok. My wife can confirm that I have been stubborn in my manly fix-it ways to the point where I spent an hour in the bathroom with the water running trying to emulate being in a uterus. You are not going to be able to fix it all the time. Asking for help and accepting help does not detract from your ability as a father. Knowing your limits is what will help keep you sane enough to continue being a father and will help you know where to grow in the future.