Jenna's (Baby) Food for Thought

Jenna Wolfe's mother trip: Tiny baby Harper brings big surprises

Sep. 11, 2013 at 9:39 AM ET

FOR USE ONLY ON JENNA WOLFE'S COLUMN SET TO PUBLISH ON 9/11
Jenna Wolfe holds her and Stephanie Gosk's baby Harper Estelle Wolfeld Gosk.
Courtesy Jenna Wolfe
Jenna Wolfe and Stephanie Gosk with their daughter, Harper Estelle Wolfeld Gosk.

Harper is 3 weeks old today. Part of me can't believe that just a three and a half weeks ago, she wasn't born yet. The other part of me can't believe I haven't had this kid forever. In such a short period of time, I've come to know every single little detail about her ... the way her hands dance around blindly when she's fussy, the way her legs kick straight out when you first pick her up, the way her lips make a whistle formation when she's playful, the way she smiles when she has gas, the way her eyes scan the room like an old fashion printer when she's just waking up, the way her hair curls after a bath, the way her toes spread wide when you tickle her feet, the way her cry always starts with a few little weak yelps, the way she always pees into the great wide open as soon as you take her diaper off ...

I'm both fascinated and surprised by her all at the same time.

Harper Estelle Wolfeld Gosk
Courtesy Jenna Wolfe
Baby Harper

Motherhood is quite a trip. I tip my proverbial hat to all the women who have done this before me. There are so many things "they" don't tell you about all of this. Forget the actual birth (I'll let my hero, Stephanie describe it from her vantage point one of these days), but it's the postpartum life that also took me by surprise. That first night at home when it's just you, your partner, a fragile 7 pound baby and a bag of diapers, you wonder how and why they ever let you out of the hospital without first passing a series of parenting tests.

Where's the instruction manual?!

They don't tell you about all the laundry you're going to start doing, (if anyone would like to drop some off, we practically have a full-time service going here), the importance of the burp cloth (after six ruined shirts, I finally caught on), or that best laid parenting plans are 100 percent meant to be broken.

We had to YouTube swaddling (she looks like Challah bread when it's done right), and breastfeeding (um... I didn't know these could grow this big!), and the proper diaper change (how could someone so tiny fill up an entire diaper?), and the stroller how-to (I should have pushed harder to get into Harvard), and the A-Z of parenting (how did we survive before the internet?).

But they also don't tell you about the wide-eyed "I love you" look she gives you when she first wakes up, or her perfect baby scent right after she is bathed, or ... and this is my favorite ... watching Steph fall in love with her. Nothing sweeter than the two of them together.

Harper and TODAY's Lester Holt
Courtesy Jenna Wolfe
Harper and TODAY's Lester Holt

I will say this: Steph and I have never laughed harder than we have in the past three weeks. We vowed not to take frustrations (sleep deprivation, hunger pains, and sleep deprivation... oh I mentioned that already?) out on each other. No fighting because of the tough times. So instead, the tough times became the funny times:

There was the time we were convinced she had jaundice and rushed her to the hospital. (She didn't have jaundice. And we no longer read WebMD.)

There was our first trip to the pediatrician when she was 2 days old. They asked for the patient's name and all I could remember was, "Harper... um, Harper something...".

There was the afternoon that our friends, Erica Hill and Lester Holt stopped by. Lester held Harper and explained to her the virtues of Motown. Then he started singing "My girl" ... the guy literally forget every word except MY and GIRL. Gotta love Holt.

There are the poorly rhymed made-up songs Steph and I sing to fill all her activities. They go something like... "Harper, oh Harper, there's no need to cry. Last we checked, you're not a guy. Your eyes are so sweet and blue, your feet are too small to wear a shoe. There are 20 more verses, but I'll spare you."

I could go on and on with the funnies, but I'll run out of my allotted space on this blog. So I'll leave it at this... I don't know what I'm doing. Neither does Steph. But we love this child and we protect this child and we feed her, change her and nap her. Everything else, we pray, will fall into place in due time. 

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