Like any parent, when your first child is born, you are overwhelmed with optimism. You can’t help those visions of perfect TV families running through your head: all the smiles, the laughter, and the Tanner family hugs.
But I knew as a soon-to-be dad that the days ahead weren’t always going to be scenes from “Full House.” Over the previous nine months, I tried to prepare myself for the crying fits, sleepless nights, and all the other “changes” a newborn would bring.
The moment my daughter was born, I felt confident. The changes were coming, and I believed that I was mentally prepared. Though, in all my confidence, what I didn’t prepare for was that all these changes were going to happen within the first hour of being at home as a new parent.
The day my wife and I left the hospital with our new bundle of joy, we stepped across the threshold into our home filled with that new-parent optimism and began prepping for our new arrival.
Not long after dropping our bags, my wife asked, “Does it feel warm in here to you?”
I went to check the thermostat, but it was dead. I walked into our baby’s room to check a different thermometer. It read 86 degrees and was climbing. I ran downstairs to check the furnace. I discovered that when the thermostat died, it left the furnace in a heat cycle, pumping hot air throughout the house all day.
I quickly switched off the power to the furnace and ran around my house like a madman throwing open every window. I began shedding my sweat-soaked clothes, including my pants, to try and keep myself cool.
In my frenzy, the baby started to cry. Trying to hold onto my optimism, I rushed over and cradled her in my arms. It wasn’t long into holding her that I felt an all-too warm sensation on my hands that parents know all too well. If she wasn’t crying because of the heat, it was the contents of her newly-soiled diaper creeping up her back and now coating my hands that put her out of sorts.
Trying to hold back my gag reflex, my wife and I (I’m still pant-less) rushed our very frustrated and very stinky baby to her room to change her diaper. While navigating through this horrific ordeal, we hear an even louder crying coming from behind us.
During all this chaos, our cat was following our every move; trying to figure out what was going on. Maybe it was the sound of a crying baby or the realization that he was no longer “the favorite,” but the cat was upset enough that he began making a very loud and obnoxious crying sound. As you might imagine, this did not help soothe our now severely angry baby.
So, there I was, day one at home as a new parent, sweaty, pant-less, covered in a soiled diaper, soothing an angry baby, consoling a distraught cat, and wondering what the heck I had gotten myself into. So, what did my wife and I do? We laughed.
Nothing can prepare you for being a parent. All you can do is just enjoy the optimism while it lasts and laugh when reality strikes.