Saturday, April 2, 2011

Unhelpful Things People Say to New Parents

"You should sleep when the baby sleeps."

This is a thing that people tell you as advice, in response to the fact that babies tend to wake up at, I don't know, 4 a.m., and want to suck on your finger for an hour.  Whereas at 4 p.m. they're basically paperweights. So just sleep when they sleep during the day, the thinking goes, and that way later, you won't mind sitting in a rocking chair with the Sleep Sheep in the dark hearing your neighbors snoring and/or having sex through the walls. (Hello to the people in E-23. Please don't feel awkward.)

It sounds like it makes a lot of sense. In fact, I think I remember somebody saying it to me before I had an actual baby, and my reaction being something like, "Oh, good idea."

Well, it's a dumb idea and people should stop saying it.

Here's the thing: One, as adult human beings, we don't have off-switches where we can sleep on command in the middle of the day, just because a one-month-old has closed her eyes.  Two: OK, so say her eyes are closed.  Are they going to stay closed?  And after that?  Hint: Nobody has any idea.  I know that because I now spend my entire life trying to answer these questions, and if I don't have any idea, nobody does.

Finally: When the baby sleeps, that's when I want to, you know, "do things." What things?  Well all kinds of things that I used to really like doing around a month ago, like read about the Yankees or listen to a record, or, like, wash my clothes or shave or do journalism or something. Anybody who thinks I'm going to waste my precious baby-is-asleep time on sleep for myself is out of their mind and deserves scorn.

Thank you for trying to help, though.  Sorry.

Dad blog bonus content: This is pretty funny.  I need to figure out how to write dad shit for the Op-ed page for money.

Dad blog bonus content, part 2, or, Helpful Things To Say to New Parents:

"Please enjoy this glass of bourbon while I empty your dishwasher."

"Lunch is on me."

That last one might actually belong under "Helpful Things to Say to Freelance Journalists."  Either way.

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