I have to come clean. I used to think babies make you boring. That's because pre-pregnancy, one by one, the people in our lives who became new parents disappeared from our social scene faster than a box of Entenmann's chocolate chip cookies used to disappear into my mouth. We couldn't understand why we didn't see them anymore. Until now.
I was wrong. Babies don't make you boring. They make you tired. And busy.
In the beginning, time flies when you have a baby. You're awake a lot longer, but that doesn't necessarily mean you're more productive. All you're doing is taking care of the child. Holding, rocking, feeding, burping, changing, playing, settling. All of that stuff takes so much time, you forget to eat. You forget to go to the bathroom. You forget, oh my God, we forgot to feed the dog!
Time flies, but things slow down considerably. And you can't be nearly as productive as you once were. It's impossible. Even when the baby is asleep, and you're finally sitting down, the last thing you want to do is clean out the refrigerator or grab a pen and start writing Thank You notes. There are a stack of life insurance forms in my mailbox that I have needed to fill out since what feels like the Reagan administration. And they're not getting done anytime soon. I had to tell our financial planner that he has to start lowering his expectations of us. Not financially, but, in a way, economically. He'll get them when I get to them.
Do you realize how frustrating it is to be as highly organized as we are, and not have your stuff together? We thought there was something wrong with us. It was baffling. How were we not getting more done? We were forced to resort to the only rational solution we could think of. Each of us is only expected to accomplish one thing per day. That's it. That's all there's time for. And that thing could be as simple as going to the post office to get stamps. Bathing the dog. Paying the bills. Calling someone back. Food shopping. Working out. There you go. Check it off the list. That's a full day. The sun'll come out tomorrow.
I assume that it's not going to change, and will probably get worse, when she gets older.
It also takes you a lot more time to do those routine things you absolutely need to get done. Like taking a shower. Not a hard task to accomplish pre-baby. Hop in, 10 minutes later (at the most), you hop out and dry off. Not anymore. It now takes either one of us at least an hour from the time we say we're going to take a shower, to the time the water is turned off and the towel is in hand. And my wife claims she has not "dried her hair" (whatever that means) since Penelope's birth. I actually prefer the wet, disheveled look. Very sexy.
We used to be a well-oiled machine. Now we can't even make it to the church on time. Literally. On Palm Sunday, we couldn't make it to mass. At noon! What the hell is wrong with us!?! So we decided to go to 5 o'clock mass. We got there early to make sure we got good seats. We were very early, since there is no 5 o'clock mass at our church! Once again, what the hell is wrong with us? We did make it back there for the evening mass, at 7 PM. Now we know.
The other day my wife, who I a long time ago dubbed, "The Meg-ulator," because of her prowess at organizing and nagging about organizing, forgot her keys to the apartment. She called me at work, not upset, but accepting of her new found fault. She was nonchalant. "I'm locked out. Can you come home and let me in?" When I got there I had just one thing to say to her: "I don't even know who you are anymore." But I still love her like when we were crazy kids in college.
And I don't mean to pile on, but I would be remiss if I did not mention what she did during our first dinner party after the baby. You see, babies also make you a little delirious. Make you say and do things you never in a million years would have thought you were capable of saying and doing.
My wife prides herself on being an impeccable hostess. Perfect to the last detail. Yet she offered our dinner guests leftover coffee from that morning. "It's still good, we just have to heat it up." I stood there shocked, jaw opened, stunned. Our guests were polite, but you could tell they wanted to say something. They managed just a confused "That's fine."
No, it's not fine! It's ridiculous! Stale coffee? These three water-soaked gentlemen braved a Nor'easter to come and see our baby! And we can't brew a fresh pot of coffee? That's unacceptable! I still poke fun at her for that one. She'll never hear the end of it from me. That was classic.
Then there are are those incomprehensible exchanges between the two of us during the middle of the night. "Honey, can you get up and change her?" "WHAT? Change who?"
It makes for funny little reminiscences in the morning. But we have learned to go with the flow. To accept what we cannot change. To embrace our new existence. If we didn't, we'd go insane.