Monday, January 11, 2010

A Difference between Us as Experienced Parents and Us as New Parents

I've noticed as an experienced parent with a new baby that there are subtle changes in the way we parent.

For instance, yesterday I took charge of the baby for a short time and while I was with her she had a spectacular "blow out."  For those who are experienced parents, you will know what this means.  For those who have not spent sufficient time with infants to know what I am referring to, suffice it to say that it makes the noise of a blown out tire, but is significantly messier. After the typical struggle at the diaper changing station, which is public restrooms invariably is adorned with paintings of cartoon koalas for some inexplicable reason, she and I emerged, cleaned up, wearing new clothing, and ready for a bath.

And when Krista walked up to us she said something significantly different than what I remembered from our less experienced days.  In the old days she would have said, "Why does the baby have poop on her face?"  Which was, indeed, the case.  This sort of question is a deep longing to understand the underlying reason that something from so far away from one's forehead can make the journey across that vast emptiness to arrive on a child's sweet face.  It is the sort of question which assumes that, perhaps, it is the father's fault... the child was left in his care, after all, and during the Great Handoff the child was clear of excrement on her face and, actually, in any external location.  And now, possibly due to the inept caretaking of the beleaguered father, that has all changed.

But that is not what my wife said to me at that moment, yesterday. No.  She said, "There is poop on the baby's face."  A statement, not a question.  Which is to say, I am sure that the baby was covered in an explosion of digested milk, and that she, no doubt, stuck her feet in it, then grabbed her feet, then touched her face. This happens.  It is to be expected.  And I imagine that while you were trying to keep the baby on the koala changing station, and frantically juggling baby wipes and clean diapers and a dirty diaper and changing clothes, that the baby did this without your notice.

And that is the difference, I suppose.  The question "Why is there poop?" versus the simple statement, "There is poop, and in abundance."

Ahhh, yes. We grow up so fast.

That is all for tonight.