Ruining everything, in the nicest way

My son is already a month old.


That went by fast.

I meant to write up his birth story and share it on the blog, but the thing with having a newborn around is that you very seldom get around to the things you meant to do. Instead you’re busy with all the new things you absolutely have to do. Like changing diapers and feeding a thrashing baby and driving to urgent care at 2am. And sleeping, if you’re lucky. We’ve been lucky. So far. When I find a small block of time for myself, I indulge in a decadent 5-minute shower. Sometimes, I make it 6 minutes, and break out the conditioner.

Life is so different now. Harder. More stressful. I miss my old life some nights, when I’m walking laps, bouncing my son and listening for the fart that means his gas pain has passed and his diaper needs changing. I could be sleeping. I could be enjoying TV. My husband and I could be out for dinner or a game night with friends. But it isn’t about us anymore. It’s not an easy thing, to find your entire life’s focus suddenly and irreversibly redirected to this tiny creature who needs you for everything.

I’ve been peed on, pooped on, and barfed on several times in this short month. The house is a mess, and will likely stay that way for decades. Outings are much more complicated than they used to be, and they revolve around his schedule. He eats almost constantly, so I’m never asleep for more than 3-4 hours at a time before my boobs need to deliver. And when he eats, he likes to clamp down and yank until it looks like he’s an early bird getting a worm. It’s hard to see this as the new normal. Hard to wear the “parent” nametag for this new job, knowing I can never clock out. It’s terrifying.

But this tiny creature needs me for everything. I’m so incredibly important. He’s so new and so small and so helpless. He’d never make it without us. He’s awe-inspiring and difficult and beautiful and frustrating. Soon he’ll start smiling and cooing and interacting with us. He’ll crawl, and walk, and have a favorite color and a best friend at school and want to be all sorts of things when he grows up. And it’s my job to get him there, to help him reach all the milestones and to guide him through every single day.

So after I change that horrible oozing diaper and pick him back up to help him with his next fart, I hold him tight to my chest while I pat his back. He’ll never be this tiny again. I lean in close to his little ears and I tell him Mommy’s got him. Mommy will always have him.


You should know
How great things were before you
Even so
They’re better still today
I can’t think of who I was before
You ruined everything
In the nicest way

-Jonathan Coulton, “You Ruined Everything”

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