Have you seen the baby yet? Ya gotta see the baby!
Shortly after bringing the baby home from the hospital you are ready for the next part of the new-parent ritual—people stopping by to see the baby. This time-honored tradition once featured on a Seinfeld episode is required of all new parents. Of all the experiences from finding out my wife was pregnant through present day, I dreaded this one most—more than hormones or changing my first drippy diaper.
Throughout my wife’s pregnancy, I was haunted with images of guests showing up in large groups. I pictured them taking turns riding my couch while taking selfies using the baby as a prop before posting to their Instagram page. “Who’s next?”
Okay, maybe my protective instinct kicked in a wee bit early. Who me?
After spending a week locked up like a sequestered juror on a high-profile trial, hosting guests provided a welcome change of pace.
Here is what you can expect.
The Revolving Door — Visits started small—first it was the grandparents stopping by to see the baby. Then a few college friends showed up after work. Before long friends and relatives called like they were making dinner reservations at a fine restaurant. “We have on opening on Thursday at 7:30. How many will that be?” It was like our lobby had a revolving door, I’d be walking two guests out as another group was arriving. “Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop on the way out.”
Don’t Be Shy When People Ask What Can I Bring — Lamaze class taught me many things, breathing, pain management and that I reminded the instructor of her husband. Apparently he’s sarcastic too. Finding that out cost me a look from my better half. What I remember most was not being afraid to ask friends to bring dinner. We ate well, home-cooked meals, and every type of ethnic food imaginable, Italian, Chinese, Filipino and Japanese and lots of empanadas. Just remember it’s a limited-time offer so go for decadent.
Let Me Know if You Need a Babysitter — You will get more offers to babysit in the first two months than you’ll get over the next two years. It’s a low-risk offer because most new parents are reluctant to leave their baby with anyone. Like friends dropping by with dinner, this is also a limited-time offer.
Baby Whisperers — Every family has at least one, the aunt or family friend usually found with a baby in her lap. Whether the baby is her grandchild or the neighbor’s child is irrelevant, the experience imparted is similar to Yoda. “A diaper change he shall need.” Need someone to give you a breather or keep your baby awake for an extra hour or two call the Baby Whisperer.
He Looks Like — From the first sonogram our loved ones started playing the Who Does He Look Like Game, 18 months later, the game is still on. I’ve heard he looks like Mom with Dad’s skin, or his hair is the color Frank’s used to be, to the distant aunt who sees my dad or her cousin etc. It’s kind of like “What Color is this Dress” image that ran wild on social media.
To date, my favorite was the friend who is not related to either of us insisting he looks like her when he smiles.
Photo: Jeremy SALMON/Flickr
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