i have no idea

Originally published on Pregnant Chicken


When I became a new mother, I was baffled by the amount of questions I received; I expected to be the one with the questions.  I’d just met this new little guy and suddenly everyone asked me questions as if we were lifelong buds and I knew all his likes and dislikes, hopes and dreams, resume and shoe size.  As much as he was brand new, so was I.  I didn’t know how to answer these questions.  I didn’t know him yet!  New motherhood is an extremely quick learning curve, like being thrown into a PhD program with nary a high school diploma.  These are some of the questions I experienced and the answer is always the same:  I have no idea.

Does he always do that? 
I have no idea.  Isn’t two weeks too soon to say always?  Because that’s his age.

Why is he crying?  I have no idea.  He could be hungry, wet, poopy, gassy, angry, tired, bored, frustrated, or worried about his tax return.  You’ll have to ask him.  The one thing I know for certain is that he’s not happy.

Is his penis supposed to look like that?  I have no idea.  For a week after his circumcision, his penis looked like an angry cherry with a foam planetary ring around it.  I was afraid to breathe on it, lest it hurt him and I smeared so much Vaseline on the front of his diaper, I was afraid the diaper would cease to absorb anything.

Does he usually sleep this long?  I have no idea.  I haven’t slept more than three hours at a time in five weeks.  Sometimes he sleeps great; sometimes he naps for thirty minutes and makes me want to cry.  (Or actually cry.)  It’s the unpredictability that gets to me.

How many pees/poos does he have in a day?  I have no idea.  The doctor or nurse asked this every single time we went to the doctor.  How do I keep track of what happens south of the equator with this little poop/pee machine?  Do people change them very time they pee a thimbleful?  We’d go through a box of diapers a day at that rate.

Does he pull at his ear?  Why do you suspect an infection?  I have no idea. He’s screaming and he had a cold.  But it could be his teeth.  Or he could just have gas.  He’s a baby.  He can’t tell me.

Has he rolled over/crawled/walked/graduated yet?  I have no idea.  Wait.  Is he supposed to?  What does Google say?

Do you change him before he eats?  I have no idea.  Sometimes I do change him and he poops midway through the bottle and then I change him and he poops again when he’s done.  Sometimes I don’t change him and he doesn’t poop at all.  Sometimes I don’t change him and then he blows out his already semi-full diaper.  It’s a crap shoot.  (See what I did there?)

How much does he eat in a day?  I have no idea.  This question was asked every time I went to the doctor for a well visit.  I learned how to answer, but the first few times I would frantically try to do math in my head and then usually just say something like, “He eats 3-4 ounces (or 5-6 ounces, or 7-8 ounces) 5-6 times a day.”  Sometimes he ate a ton and other times not so much.  Also, if you’re breastfeeding, there’s no gauge, no ounce markings on each breast to show how much has been consumed.  I imagine you pretty much just guess.

These questions didn’t really annoy me, but did serve to show me how little I actually knew about keeping a tiny human alive.  We’re doing good so far, but number one is only 21 months.  It’s too soon to tell.  I still feel like a new mother.  Is there ever a time when you feel competent, like, “I’ve got this.  I know what I’m doing.  They might make it to adulthood.”?  I’ll let you know.




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