Dedicated to Dave, who wins the Ultimate Best Husband of All Time Ever award, for doubling the joy, halving the stress, and helping me keep my cool.
If you weren’t expecting, you might not have learned some of the practical ways your life will transform. Here are some simple exercises you can perform to ease into new parenthood.
1. Practice sharing your bed with a spider monkey. Place it conveniently between you and your partner. Try to sleep.
2. Learn to perform all tasks one-handed. You may pick which side you use. Beginner level: In the other arm, from crook of the elbow down, place two five-pound bags of sugar. Don’t drop them. Intermediate level: Poke holes in the underside of the bag closest to your hand. Contain the sugar leakage. You’ll need this skill if your baby’s diaper quickly becomes overwhelmed with waste.
3. Compose a To Do list of 1) brushing your teeth, 2) showering, and 3) changing out of your pajamas. Try to feel very accomplished when you finish.
4. Program your alarm to go off every two hours at night. When it wakes you (no snooze buttoning!), head to the kitchen and measure out three ounces of caffeinated coffee, and load it into a medicine dropper. Test the temperature of the coffee on your wrist, making sure it’s comfortably room temperature. Take it back to your bedroom and feed it to the spider monkey you’re now sharing a bed with. Don’t give him more than a drop at the time so you don’t choke him. When you’ve finished, the monkey will be completely awake, so you’ll have to coax him back to sleep. You’ll probably notice an inverse correlation between the sleepiness you experience and the sleepiness the monkey experiences. And never fall asleep holding a spider monkey. It is very dangerous – just ask the hospital.
5. Empty your savings account.
6. Once an hour, inject your breasts with pure potassium or some other fire-in-the-veins liquid. This will prepare you for the “let-down tingle” of milk production, which should in fact be called “let-down avalanche of pain” if you are taking performance-enhancing herbs like fenugreek and blessed thistle.
7. Find a YouTube video or Vine of a crying infant. Set this to play on repeat every time you and your partner are in the mood for love. Learn to either 1) ignore it and continue, or 2) become asexual.
8. This I can’t prepare you for, no matter what exercise I come up with: your heart is about to double in size and walk right out of your body. Sure, you’ll be sleep-deprived, teary, and sometimes plain angry. But that baby is the most precious, joyful bundle you’ve ever seen. You won’t be able to kiss that face enough, take enough pictures, or snuggle that little body enough. Prepare to fall in love all over again.