Babies Don't Break
OK, so I promise that even though I'm stumbling around to get a feel for life as a new parent, and even though my past few weeks have solely consisted of washing bottles and changing diapers (and not even my own diapers, natch -- how's that for altruistic?), I hereby vow that this blog will not become one of those testosterone-scented Erma Bombeck gigs where the proud papa routinely coos over how his kid did this adorable thing or did that adorable thing. etc., etc.
But allow me to make this observation about newfound parenthood:
Shortly after our baby was born, it seemed as if everyone I spoke to -- from the nurses in the hospital to baby-centric friends to my dear ol' silver-haired mother -- offered me the same advice. Knowing that my experience with babies was exceedingly limited (I had held exactly two newborn babies in my lifetime, one of whom subsequently hosed me down with infant vomit in the same way that Alabama cops in the 1960s would hose down them civil rights demonstrators), they all told me the same thing: Babies don't break. Presumably, that nugget of wisdom meant I shouldn't be afraid to hold, bathe or clothe my new daughter.
Seriously. I heard this "babies don't break" phrase a lot -- so much so that I began to suspect that these bastards (excluding my mom, of course) doling out the advice doth protest too much.
Still, I took these well-intentioned folks at their word. OK, I told myself, babies don't break. It was good to know.
But then I was taught how to dress the newborn baby.
Specifically, I was told to place my thumb and forefinger up through the sleeve of the child's onesie (a word that, if I'd heard it three weeks ago, would've just made me giggle), thread her tiny arm through it and then make sure that all five fingers had made their way through.
Trust me on this: If you're tentative in the first place about handling a baby, there are more comforting things to be told than you must be careful not to inadvertently destroy the tyke's hand. Moreover, it runs a bit counter to all this bullshit about babies not breaking.
At any rate, I nodded dumbly when the hospital nurse cautioned me to always check the baby's fingers after sliding the arm through the sleeve.
It has since dawned on me that neither that nurse nor anyone else has bothered to indicate what I should do if the aforementioned fingers don't add up to five.
I'm guessing that running away is not a reliable course of action.