For those hoping to become parents. What you think you know, but don't.

Almost everyone wants to be a parent someday, but nobody (NOBODY!) is ready for it. Even if you think you are, you’re not. I certainly wasn’t, but if someone had managed to get through my thick head what I’m about to tell you before my son was born, I might have been scared enough to swear celibacy forever.

First, you will not sleep anymore. Lots of parents claim their kid sleeps “through the night”, but that’s only because the parents are so deprived of rest that they’ve lost their memory. I can’t stress this enough, guys. In the past year and a half of my life, I have never, not once, woken up to an alarm, or a sunrise, or my dog licking my face. I’ve woken up to someone screaming, every time. You don’t understand what that’s like until it happens to you, and you realize it’s about as stressful as trying to fall asleep with someone holding a loaded gun against your head that you aren’t sure when it’s going to go off.

Your child will take you for granted. They’re babies. They don’t understand or care how you feel when you’re close to tears with frustration because they won’t stop crying and are squirming like an eel when you try to attatch their diaper. You WILL lose your temper at least once, and scare yourself with how violent your thoughts are. Which brings me to my next point.

Babies cry for no reason. The more attention you give them during their protest crying, the more protest crying they will do. If you know that your baby has a clean diaper, a full belly, and isn’t hot or cold or in pain, but they’re crying anyway, ignore them. I’m not kidding. It hurts your heart the first couple of times to leave them in the crib when all they want is for you to come hold them, but trust me when I say DO NOT GO AND HOLD THEM! We didn’t understand this until the doctor gave us this advice. We were up at least three times a night with this screaming thing that wouldn’t give us even three hours of uninterrupted sleep, until we finally gave up and considered the doctor’s advice. We let him cry. He was pissed for about half an hour, but eventually he fell back asleep. The next night was the first time in his life that he slept for more than 4 hours at once. If you let your baby get conditioned to the idea that s/he has to cry to get attention, you will end up resenting your child. (That’s bad, btw.)

There’s a lot more to know about kids, but those are the realizations that hit me hardest. Just remember that when you have a kid, you don’t exist anymore as an individual. You’re just so-and-so’s parents at least until the baby is old enough for school, and probably until they move out.

Yeah, I’m the firstborn. Mom tells me horror stories of the aftermath of conditioning me by rocking me to sleep every night. Baaaaaaaaaad idea. Apparently I had a very rocky transition to falling asleep on my own.

Letting them cry it out is fine, after about 6 months.

Before that, though, there really isn’t any such thing as protest crying. I’ve been doing some research on this and the latest consensus seems to be that “colic” or crying for seemingly no reason is perfectly within the normal range for about the first 3 months. They aren’t spoiled, they just aren’t fully cooked for the first few months. Crying is the price we pay for not walking around with the baby strapped to us or otherwise held by us at all times, as they probably evolved to be.

And if you have more than one child you will find out that what you now think you know, you don’t know. My mother, who has six, informs me that this effect never slackens – that is, each time you think you know something, the next kid demonstrates that you are still clue free.

Nothing you describe was true for both my children. Much of what you describe was not true for either of my children.

I am glad you got some sleep: sleep deprivation does not make anybody a better parent. But I entirely disagree with your last three paragraphs. The way to “teach” a baby they don’t have to cry to get attention is not to make them cry to get attention.

That’s one half of it. The other half is to not indulge the protest crying.

I was ready for it.

I knew going in what being a parent would likely entail, and my predictions have been pretty accurate. I knew it would be hard, especially the baby waking up in the middle of the night type stuff, and I was ready for it.

What do I win?

A second child completely different from your first. :smiley:

I don’t think that’s half of it or even a thousandth part of it.

I am glad you found something that is working for you and I hope it keeps working for long enough that you can have some breathing room

When it stops working, I have complete faith that you will think of something else, also.

what -I- want to know is: * where’s my biological clock now?*

I’m waaaaay ahead of you there, buddy. I expected that too, and that’s what I got.

Now, what I’m not expecting is a third child, because right now I expect I’m done having more kids. So the wife turning up pregnant again would be kind of surprising. So I should clearly be expecting it…

I was so young and single when mine was born that I never gave any thought to whether I was ready for it or not… mine actually did sleep through the night from 11pm to 6:30 am from the day we came home from the hospital. I never put her to sleep in a crib or basenet though, she actually slept in a car seat next to my bed. She loved it until she was about 5 months old, then she went into a crib.

I never bothered to listen to what anything said about babies, child rearing, or what I was suppose to or not suppose to do… I just did whatever seemed right, which typically ended up being pretty unconventional. I must have done ok; she’s 21yo now a college grad, on her own, responsible, and delightful to be around. shrug

I think you can be ready to be a parent… what I don’t think you can do is have false expectations of what that will entail. LOL.

I was prepared. I knew it would be tough. I expected unrelenting hell, especially as a solo parent. I swear the parent hotline had my phone number tagged as “clueless, but tries hard”.

I listened to all the proper advice, tried most of it, ended up ignoring half of it and having a healthy kid at the end. Once you’ve given a seven month old child peanut butter and eggs in the same week and they survive without any allergic reaction, you just have to stop worrying so much. One of the other mothers in my parenting group always asked what I’d do in different situations, then act utterly horrified at whatever answer I gave. The next week she’d come back, all proud of having tried the same thing. By the end of six months I was seriously tempted to give her bullshit answers and see how far she’d go - “They only need one nappy a day, really!”

My kid was like Mosier’s and *needed *to be left alone for up to half an hour before she could get herself to sleep. No-one believed she could keep up the noise for that long, until I let my mother babysit.
I sure wouldn’t call that a general rule for all kids. The cure was almost worse than the problem. At nine years old she still has trouble getting to sleep. As both myself and my dad are exactly the same (about half an hour on a good night) we think it’s just the way she is. Her Doctor just says she’s happy and bright and not to worry about it.

My mum gave me the most valuable piece of parenting advice during that sleep training period. If they’re safe, clean and fed, you are allowed to sit on the back doorstep with a cup of coffee. Even if they’re crying - especially if they’re crying. It’s better than staying in the house and going mad with the noise and stress.

They only thing I was completely wrong about was the fun that snuck in between the crappy nappies and the sleeplessness. Not all the laughter was hysterical.

The first child is easy. Its the ‘sucker’ baby, the one that makes you think raising kids is child’s play. Cocky and full of yourselves, you think having a second will be just as easy.

And that’s when Satan laughs at your Mia Farrow pregnancy. “Bwa-ha-ha-ha!!!

I heard an interesting theory in my group of newfledged parents. Cry babies may have dislocated some vertebra while passing throught the birth canal, and that pinches some nerves, resulting in chronic crying without an apparent cause.

Two parents of cry babies took their babies to see a chiropractor, who “set them straight”, with almost miraculous results after just one or two treatments.
Might be worth a shot. It sounds plausible, anyway.

Sorry, but I consider mainstream Chiropractic to be complete quackery, and their own “science” articles to be unscientific in the extreme. And a load of bat’s do.

Just had to get that off my chest. Carry on.

Yeah, anecdotes don’t equal data, and all that. Still, the two couples I knew were helped a lot, and trying one or two chiropractic treatments isn’t too expensive. People have tried sillier things.

We learned that with our second kid, all the cherished truths we learned so cruelly and painstakingly with our first kid turned out to be completely wrong/irrelevant/dangerous.

Sillier, true. And probably some of them were riskier. But to let a practitioner of a pseudoscience manipulate the neck of a 3 month old ranks up there, IMHO.

An old friend of mine, a Chiropractor who came to reject D. D. Palmer’s theory of Chiropractic and now does manipulation to treat only musculo-skeletal complaints as they relate to spine and hips and shoulders, concurs with that idea.

You may be the wisest of parents. We shall set you on a shrine and ask “oh, wise one…Billy hasn’t potty trained yet and he is almost four…” And you will say “be patient grasshopper…as long as there isn’t a physical issue, Billy is unlikely to leave for college in diapers. He may however, pick up a fetish later…”

Yeah, I was the second Satan baby. I was so evil that I lured my parents into a false sense of security by being easy at first. And then…BAM…turned their world upside down.

Hee. It’s fun being the Satan baby.