Friday, October 7, 2011

Don't Shake The Baby!


Last night, The Prince and I attended our first infant care class at the hospital we will be delivering at.  Unfortunately, it caused me to realize that we are either going to be really fun parents…or we are way too immature for this.

This “event” was the first excuse I have had in weeks for dressing in “real people” clothes, as opposed to PJ’s or yoga outfits.  I thought I would feel all sexy in my brand new maternity dress pants, cami and blouse (which I had to wear unbuttoned because of my baby belly).  Not so much.  My hair was dull and unruly, my skin was pale and blotchy, and I looked as frumpy and uncomfortable as I felt.  To make matters worse, we had to walk into class in front of everyone, and sit in the very front of the class, as we arrived five minutes late (damn potty breaks).  All of the other couples had really dressed nicely for the occasion.  The women had done their make-up and hair.  And then there was us.  We were definitely the uncool kids in class.

Because we arrived late, there was only one baby doll left for us to practice with.  It was African American.  The Prince immediately leaned over to me and, with a smile, said “I think they mixed up the donors.”  I tried to suppress a laugh while the instructor gave us the dirtiest look ever.  This was just the beginning of our “bad” behavior.  While watching a video on the basics of infant care, we were inundated with the “Don’t Shake The Baby” message.  At the end of the video, the instructor asked if anyone had any questions and I leaned over to the Prince and said…”So I missed it.  Are we supposed to shake the baby when it cries?”  If looks could kill, the instructor would have murdered us right then and there.  

I think the final straw was when we were swaddling our baby doll.  The Prince and I were laughing as he struggled with the diaper, wondering aloud why gaps at the legs wasn’t okay.  We were laughing as he tried five times to get the “swaddle” right, explaining to the instructor that he isn’t so great with directions.  Eventually, The Prince got the swaddle right, and the instructor said “The baby still won’t stop crying.  Now what do you do?”  Without skipping a beat, The Prince replied “Shake it?”  That was when I knew, definitively, we are not the typical expecting couple.  All of the other couples were very serious and intent on getting things right.  We were there to learn, but I think the gravity of the reality that in a few months this is going to be our lives compelled us to introduce levity to the situation…immature levity.

Please don’t think that we don’t appreciate how serious and awful shaken baby syndrome is.  I’ve defended doctors in multiple law suits where pediatricians were sued for not picking-up on child abuse during routine examinations.  The effects of shaken baby syndrome are unspeakable and it is difficult to imagine anyone being able to destroy a tiny little life.  Even The Prince said, on the way home from the class, that he can’t imagine ever shaking something so small and fragile.  He is certain that he will get frustrated on the umpteenth sleepless night, but he has no doubt that his instinct will be to put the baby in a safe place and walk away for awhile.  Not ideal parenting…but realistic and healthy I think.  We truly are not ignoring the importance of the message to not shake a baby.  We just couldn’t help ourselves from having fun with the infant care class…even though it probably made us look like terrible parents-to-be.

There is one more class…next week…with the same students but a different instructor.  I am determined to make a better impression this time.  I will start getting ready really early, so I can be one of the dolled-up, fabulous moms-to-be.  I will insist that we leave early, so we are early to class instead of late.  But most importantly, I will seat us in the back of the class…where our inevitable snarky comments will not be heard and judged by others.  I would love to say that we will grow up between now and next week, but I’m a realist.  We are always going to make jokes and be sarcastic...especially in the face of fear.  I just hope that doesn’t make us bad parents.


Lindsey said...

Oh man the Prince sounds so much like Blue! said...

Great to have a sense of humour at these classes... and you guys will be great parents :)) xoxo

Joys Truly said...

Even if others are not, I am totally laughing over here. Sometimes you just need to make jokes.

China Doll said...

I've already warned my Bloke about making jokes in our hypnobirthing classes - I can just see him being the only 'non-serious' father there! I was worried about him embarrassing us (read that as 'me') but reading your post made me think 'f*** it' - after all we've been through, we deserve to have a laugh! xx