When I left the hospital with our newborn son, who looked to be the most angelic child I had ever seen in my life, I thought I was prepared for it all. The dirty diapers, the all night feeding sessions and even the crying. The endless crying. (At first I thought we brought someone else’s child home, because ours definitely didn’t cry this much when we were in the hospital when we had endless amounts of help to come to the rescue if we couldn’t figure out what was troubling our seemingly perfect baby.) After all, the nurse that discharged me gave my husband and me this handy thousand page book, that she assured us would cover everything that we would possibly need to know until our son reached the ripe old age of 5. Like what to do when this yellow pussy stuff is oozing out the side of your baby’s left eye. It even has detailed steps on how to change your baby’s diaper and even more detailed charts on your child’s growth patterns from birth to 5. We really thought we hit the jackpot, “cool, like a how to manual,” my husband, the new dad, said. As if we just bought a new car.
My husband and I treated this book like the holy bible. Before we gave our son his first bottle we consulted our handy manual only to find out that before we gave him a bottle that we had to sterilize it. Ok that makes sense. But, after further reading we learned that since we have well water that we have to sterilize the water before we could mix the formula. I instantly thought, “Wow, thank God we have this book because our son could really have gotten sick.” Then the next day when the doctor called to check on his new patient, we proudly told him of our finding and not too worry that we boiled our water for 5 minutes before we mixed the formula. And without hesitation Dr. Bill chuckled and said, “What old book did you read that in?” There it was plain and simple our first clue that this book was not the be all and all of raising a child.
Yet, for some reason night after night “the book” called out to us to consult it. At first, even after the little water incident, it proved to be handy. It reassured us that in fact babies do eat ten to twelve times a day and it’s completely normal for a baby to hold his or her poop for 5 days only to release what my husband now refers to as “the Mother Load.” But over time my husband and I began to notice that things started to happen to our son and to us as parents that just weren’t covered in the book. For instance, babies can simultaneously puke out their nose and relieve their intestines at the same time. Or what a child eats comes out their rear the same color that it goes in their mouth. No where in that book did it reassure me not to panic beacause it would be completely normal for my child to poop bright blue for two days after eating Cotton -Candy Trix yogart.
It’s been over four years since that fateful day the nurse gave us “the book” and I am convinced that the authors were paid to purposely leave things out for fear that parents would be leaving newborns unclaimed in hospitals all over America.