My philosophy on raising a baby used to be simple: Take everything you know about life and just reduce it in size. Food, clothing, activities, vocabulary — how hard could it possibly be?
After all, Harper Estelle is literally 1/38th my size. Raising her couldn’t be harder than some of the stories I’ve covered or the workouts I’ve put myself through, could it??
Obviously the answer is yes — and within that yes, four beautifully funny examples:
Harper’s first bath was an adventure. We had been home from the hospital for a few days, felt like things were going pretty well, and decided we could handle a simple bath. After all, I used to wash my Cabbage Patch Kid all the time. This couldn’t be too different.
So we filled up Harper’s mini tub and balanced it on the sink while we undressed her. Steph gingerly brought her in and before she could put her in the water, the little nugget peed right down Steph's shirt, into the bath and onto the floor. Thinking we should change the bath water, I picked up this behemoth infant tub, lost the grip and dropped it, flooding the entire bathroom, part of the hallway and into Harper’s nursery. We wiped her down with baby wipes that night. Harper 1. Jenna 0.
How could something so absolutely amazing be so unappreciated by my daughter? SLEEP. Beautiful, coveted sleep. I’d trade just about anything I own for a solid four hours.
Harper mocks my lofty dreams.
Before Harper was born, Steph and I agreed we’d never give her a pacifier, never use toys to get her to sleep (white noise, music, stuffed animals), and never-ever-ever rock her to bed in our arms. Last Thursday, shortly around 3:30 a.m. in the dark of the exhausting night, after Harper had been crying for three straight hours for no apparent reason, Steph and I caved.
At one point, we had the vacuum going (she loves that noise), the mobile spinning, the iPod playing lullabies, three stuffed animals held up in front of her, a pacifier plugged into her mouth and the two of us were taking turns rocking her to sleep. Harper 2. Jenna 0.
Poorly timed bathroom break
Let me set a scene for you. We took Harper on her first pumpkin patch outing a few weeks back on a beautiful, blue-skied, sun-splashed chilly day. We went with my friend and her 7-year-old daughter, Devyn.
All was going great. Steph, Harper and I were having a blast. And then, out of the blue, without any warning, we heard an interesting noise coming from Harper’s diaper. With no changing table in sight, we decided to use one end of a pumpkin display table. (Yes, with people all around ... but we had no choice, trust me ... from the odor, we knew we were on borrowed time).
We recruited Devyn to help out, then laid Harper down and slowly took off the diaper.
How should I put this? Poop was everywhere. Baby poop looks like hummus, and this was an economy-sized tub of it. We immediately went to work. Steph frantically asked me to hand her the wipes (even though we both knew she really needed a hose). In all the chaos trying to pack for a day at the pumpkin patch, I ... um ... well, I sort of forgot to pack wipes.
WE FORGOT TO PACK WIPES!?!?!?
We both looked at the 7-year-old. She looked at us. I held Harper’s legs up, Stephanie started scooping up whatever she could find using the changing pad, a napkin Devyn was holding and even one of her extra onesies (disgusting, I know). Devyn held open the change bag to toss in the old diaper. At one point, a little spilled on her (yeesh) and despite trying to be incredibly brave, a look of panic swept across her face. At just 7 years old, this was traumatic. Harper was crying. Devyn was yelling. Steph and I were hysterical. It was, hands down, our worst diaper change to date. Harper 3. Jenna 0.
Despite what their name may suggest, onesies are harder to put on than you think. I was shooting a TODAY story on breast-feeding last month and was playing the role of “mom who has it all together.”
With the cameras rolling, I calmly put on her onesie only to realize it was on backward. I calmly took it off and put it back on, only to realize it was inside out. Took it off a third time and this time, completely humiliated, but still intent on making this right, I put it on upside down, with the snaps by her head. I called it a blooper reel and put her in a dress instead. Harper 4. Jenna 0.
I could give you a thousand examples of things we’ve done wrong, but I could give you so many more of things we’ve done right. I wouldn’t trade any of the situations above for anything in the world. I’m going to need every last detail when I get up and share them all at Harper’s wedding.