Beer & Diapers

Memoirs of a millennial dad

Baby combat survival guide

So I just found out one of my buddy’s wife went into labor today. I also watched Saving Private Ryan last night, so I’m going to deliver the following advice to new dads in the style of a gruff Army sergeant.*

Welcome to the frontlines, recruit. So, you’ve got your crib and car seat in place, and you think you’re ready to take on baby Fritz. Well you’re not. So listen up and you just might make it through the next few days.

1. DO NOT PANIC. Babies are tough suckers, and won’t break from you changing a diaper or normal handling. So while there’s a ton to learn and lots to worry about, you’re going to come out of this just fine.

2. FORGET THE CRIB. You’re going to need to be Johnny-on-the-spot with the ammo, I mean milk. That nursery’s going to seem like it’s a hundred miles away when it’s 3 am and feeding time. Recommend setting up a bassinet in your room. If you haven’t got a bassinet yet, go down to Babies R Us and requisition one.

3. THE CO WILL PROBABLY GO INSANE ANY MINUTE NOW. No, not “I watched a snail crawl along the edge of a straight razor” Apocalypse Now insane. But sleep deprivation + needy newborn + raging hormones will temporarily push your lovely and normally lucid wife into psycho hose beast territory. She may even end up on the floor in a ball crying her eyes out. (This is just a common combat scenario – I can neither confirm nor deny that I witnessed this personally). It’s up to you to keep your head under fire, shake her firmly, and say “We’ve got zips in the wire! You’ve got to snap out of it!” Or maybe just hold her and say, “it’s ok honey. You’re an awesome mom and I’m here for you.”**

4. SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS: I can’t stress this enough. The good news is newborns sleep A LOT. The bad news is they like to be awake around o dark thirty. So DVR the Daily Show and Breaking Bad and grab a few zzzs whenever you can.

5. WORK IS NOW YOUR HAPPY VACATION PLACE: Or at least that’s how the missus will see it while she’s home on maternity leave. Never mind that your boss may be an even bigger baby than your newborn, and you just can’t stick a pacifier in his face and put him down for a nap. Going to the office is seen as an escape, so don’t expect a chance to pop a brewsky and  kick your feet up for a few minutes when you come in the door. You’re now on baby patrol.

6. IT GETS BETTER: Yes, newborns are cute but they also have a too close resemblance to Winston Churchill and all the awareness and personality of a retarded puppy. Eventually, they will start to recognize your face and their smiles won’t just be from gas. The night they sleep 8 hours will feel like the most glorious night of your life, on par with your wedding night and that one night in Amsterdam/Vegas/Bangkok.

Good luck son! I think I smell a poopy diaper – move out and draw fire!

*Yes, I’m a former Army sergeant. Also, since this is a family oriented post, I’ve refrained from authentic language such as calling new parents “cherries” or using the term FUBAR in every other sentence.

** I am quoting Platoon. Please do not actually shake your wife and scream racist  comments like “zips in the wire.”

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