10 Things I didn't know about having a kid
This kid tells me everything I need to know
Wait wait wait.... what...?
My son is now two and I have another due any day now. Before having a kid we had a niece and nephew, heard stories about children, read up on some stuff and thought we were prepared. After having my son Lincoln everything changed and many of the things I thought I knew I threw out the door and evolved to make it work with all these new things I thought I knew. Here is a quick list of items that I found a little surprising in my quest to be an awesome father. HOpe you enjoy and I hope it helps.
All that "work" leads to somethingClick thumbnail to view full-size
1. Making a baby isn't just a wink away
In high school they basically tell you that looking at each other will cause you to get pregnant and it seems that every accident baby follows the phrase.... "it was just one time." In reality it takes a lot more than that. A woman's body only has a few days that they are really fertile and ready to go. I don't know the exact terms because I am a man and I just show up with the party if you know what I mean. With my first child it took 3 months of trying and it was scheduled based on whatever magical baby calculator she used and now on my second child it took 6 months. I know when you are young they tell you different but really it is all about luck, sometimes your chances are better but don't get scared if it doesn't happen the first time.
Get readyClick thumbnail to view full-size
2. Preparation doesn't prepare you
9 months will go by slowly at first then all of a sudden that kid is out. I remember thinking it was taking forever and we spent the months preparing by buying stuff we thought we needed. When it finally happened it didn't matter what you buy, the baby will do what the baby wants. You don't need a lot of things to take care of a newborn, they really don't need a lot. I would honestly say that the first few months all he needed was my wife's boobs, diapers, fresh clothing, and sleep. They will sleep anywhere (when they feel like sleeping), they don't care what cute clothes you put on them, and they just want basic needs from you. Having stuff is nice, but you don't need everything and most of all, the baby just needs you.
Your parents will want to buy the baby a ton of toys, clothes, and devices that are supposed to make the baby a genius. You won't need or use most of it. Babies are entertained by your face, your hair, a spoon, everything is new, everything is exciting. The only thing my baby really ever enjoyed and still does now is books. I think it's a combination of your voice and the pictures that makes them stay "focused" for a little bit. Don't expect to read the book in the correct order but at least try.
Nothing can prepare you for a child accept already having one, and even though I don't have my second yet, I suspect having two is a completely different dynamic that having one that I have no way to prepare for. I accept that and that is all I can really do, I love my kids and that's one of the most important things you can give a child.
They are who they areClick thumbnail to view full-size
3. Just like you, every baby is different
You and I are not the same, at least I hope not because I couldn't stand another one of me walking around. Every baby is completely different. Everyone will tell you how well their baby slept or did this or that, it doesn't matter. My baby screamed for 3 months straight, it was horrible and probably the worst 3 months of my parent life. All you have to do is adapt to your baby, you can't expect your baby to do what you think it should do. It has no reasoning, it has no reason to please you, they just want to be a baby in what ever form that may be.
The first 3 months will probably be the hardest part of the whole thing and getting through it will take a lot of adapting and learning. That is one thing most people agree on at least. This is the time where you will make a schedule, learn theirs, change yours, and learn to understand each cry and noise the baby makes. Babies can't tell you what is wrong with words so you have to listen to everything else that you can. All we can do is accept what comes even if it's a poop, pee, throw up, or a screaming fit.
Did you know that newborn babies don't cry tears? They just sit there screaming and crying but nothing comes out, you think they are playing you but really they can't cry tears because their tear ducts aren't clear yet for tears, crazy I know.
4. Children can have unexpected expenses
We all know children need diapers, clothing, toys, and other little things but I was surprised by random things that would come up. First off having a baby is expensive in the first place, hospital expenses of having a baby can cost up into the tens of thousands but hopefully you have insurance to help cover that. I think most parents are surpised by how many diapers they will go through or how many cloth diapers they will wash. It seems like as soon as you change them they soil it right away and you have another one ready to go. It would be wise to find coupons in the newspaper or singing up for Amazon mom where you get a discount and it's easy.
Doctor visits also happen fairly often and each visit costs a little bit and often times there are test they would like you to take as well. All of these little things add up quickly and before you know it you get random bills in the mail that you end up having to pay. Medical bills suck but usually you have to deal with them regardless.
If you don't breastfeed then buying formula can be rediculously expensive. My wife breastfeed for the first year of my son's life and it saved us easily hundreds of dollars. Not only is it the best thing for your baby in terms of health, it can save you a ton of money. Once they start eating solids you then have to change what you buy according to what they eat. Although they don't eat as much as you do, they still costs a little more. I would say food costs went up maybe 20 bucks a month after we started buying my son food. 20 dollars isn't a ton of money but it's money that can go somewhere else. I'm really afraid of when my son turns into a teenager then just starts devouring everything in his path.
Last but most, childcare..... (sigh) childcare. I had no idea how much childcare actually cost each month. I expected to just find some little old lady or family friend that would watch him for a couple hundred bucks a month and all would be well. Little did I know I was very wrong, I pay 700 dollars a month for my son to go to daycare full time..... that's a lot of money. It's amazing how you can figure out how to come up with an extra 700 bucks a month out of nowhere. I have another son due any day now and that will be an extra 700 dollars..... that is 1400 dollars, that is more than my mortgage. I highly recommend looking into daycare beforehand to understand the costs of what it will really be.
You run on their time
5. Your children make your schedule
There was a time when I could come and go as I please. Wake up at 10, do nothing, do something, work late, work early. Now I wake up like at.... 5:45, then 6:00, then like..... 6:30 again. First time is to bring my son to my bed because he woke up crying. Then at 6 I finally get up and get him some milk because he has been asking over and over. Then at 6:30 I wake up again and get ready for work. The thing is, even when I am at work, I can get a phone call at any time and have to leave to pick up my son for whatever reason. You can have a crazy busy life but no matter what, that phone call can happen and you have to stop everything you are doing to fix it. There were times when I had so much to do at work but my son got sick and had to take a couple days off of work because there was nobody to leave him with. Find a second plan just in case you need to leave them with someone.
6. It's not easy to just go out anymore
You used to be able to go out and everything would be easy, you order, you sit, talk, have fun, watch a movie, have a drink, and everything is simple. Once you have kids that will feel like a dream. Kid's will have their moods and don't care where you are when they decide to have a bad mood. If you go out with them you will need to bring anything they will need and it will probably not please them anyway. Kids like to throw things, they like to spill things, and my favorite, they like to poop up their back when you get their phone. It's hard for kids to sit still for long periods of time, don't hold it against them, they are just full of love and want to share it with you. I recommend learning their eating habits quickly. It's hard to make them eat but I find that sharing with them is usually the best option.
When do you do decide to leave the kids behind you are then left with the pickle of who to leave with them. You have to find a babysitter whether it be a hired, family, or the dog. Either way it is just another thing to do. It's best to always have someone you can count on and then also a back up. The funny thing is when you leave, all you can do is think about your kids and how you want to go home and be with them. Even without them, they always win.
7. Your relationships will change
You will change but with that so will every other relationship you have. If you have a significant other your relationship with them will change enormously. It's no longer just about you two, it's about your child, then it's about being parents, then it's about you being a couple. You now have to make collective decisions that don't just impact you two. You no longer just go out with each other, hold hands, or watch movies late at night. It's not easy, you have different ideas of how to do things but the only thing you can really do is talk it out and come to an agreement. The best thing you can do is take time out to enjoy each other. Don't lose sight of what was and how much better things have become. It's not easy but you will be starting a new relationship with someone you already have one with. It's an odd concept but a reality.
Besides the strain on your love life your friends and family will all have to adapt as well. You won't see your friends as much, you will make new friends with kids. Some of your family will drive you nuts trying to tell you what to do or how to be a good parent. Other family members may blossom into help you never knew that was there. All your relationships change because they are no longer just yours, they are your child's, and whatever is your child's is now yours.
boogers boogers boogers
7. A sick kid is a sick house and a sick you
When your kid gets sick there is no stopping you and everyone else in your house getting sick. Kids touch everything, touch you, kiss you, eat your food, stick their fingers in your eyes, all after sticking them up their own nose. When your kid is sick you then have to either take time off or find someone to watch them. This usually happens when you least expect it so never get too attached to your other schedule. You then have the problem of taking time off work for them and then after you get sick you then have to figure out if you are taking off time. It is no longer just about them getting sick and more about the entire household getting sick. You can get sick and work through it, when a kid gets sick they often times will be out totally for a day or two so they can sleep and get better. During this time they will be cranky, miserable, and have snot everywhere.
If you take your child to daycare or any place where their are other children they often times bring home everything that everyone else has. My son got hand foot mouth disease, yeah it's about as horrible as it sounds. He got blisters all over his body including his throat. They were painful and sad to watch. It lasted for about a week or so and then all was well..... until I got it. I felt even more horrible for him after realizing myself first hand what it was really like. Sickness isn't left to only colds, there are things that can happen and pop up you may never heard of. All you can do is go with it and DON'T google it, it always sounds like you are dying.
9. You like everything else, will change
I often times look at myself and think about who I am and right now that is a father. I look back and before children feels like a different time, a different age, a different me. I love being a father and it truly feels like everything before was just something I was doing to fill time until I could become a father. I have changed so much from January 23rd at 4:43 AM to now. It was like a switch that turned on from who I was to who I am. That will happen to anyone that has a child. Everyone says that children change your life and they are right. You don't really truly know though until it happens. I think being a father is the best thing in the world and I am thankful to my family everyday. No matter what you do you can't fight the change. You see everything differently and everything that happens you now think about how that affects your children. You can't run from it, you just know it as normal now.
You will change all your habits, you will juggle time like a pro because any free time is chance to get things done you can't get done during parent time. Everything changes and you will, over all I think it's for the better. News stories about kids you feel a little more, movies make you feel sick, you stare at babies, pregnant women, and you'll smile when you see a child do something that reminds you of your own. You will do things you thought you never would, and it will be okay.
Take pictures when they let youClick thumbnail to view full-size
10. Be like the paparazzi
Kids grow up so fast, it's crazy. You hear everyone tell you how you blink and they are huge and you just shrug it off and say yeah ok cool guy. The fact is though that you are so busy being a parent that yes, they do grow up fast. I can't believe my son is already 2. I feel like he just popped out and I learned how to change a diaper. Now he runs around, has opinions, tells me no and just acts like a little kid now. He isn't an infant anymore and he never will be again.
That all said, I have hundreds of pictures of him from the day he was born. Take pictures of everything and anything. I have so many crappy pictures but sometimes I will find one really good one and that will be a moment that you remember when they are older. It's like that saying, We don't remember the days, we remember the moments , or something like that. You will miss the way they talk, the way they laugh, the way they poop, the way the sleep. Everything will be a blur, and they will grow up fast, you just have to be there for them, all they want is you.