Some few months after the wedding, the conversations change. As typical Africans that we are, friends meet you and the question they ask is; “When is the baby coming?” Oh yeah, it’s time for the baby. Babies are adorable. It’s the dream of most married couples to start raising one as soon as possible. It’s the blessing God gives to the married couple. And after marriage, we all look up to when this adorable blessing will be given unto us.
There are a lot of beautiful things you will usually hear about having a baby. Trust me, it’s all about the happy side of having to raise a tiny little creature into an adult. Now, these are what they don’t tell you. They tell you all the beautiful things and forget to remind you about the ugly side of having to live with a baby.
They don’t tell you;
#1. Babies are Little Dictators
One day, out of the blues comes this little one. A stranger you decided to give a space to share your life with. And all of a sudden, they are the ones calling the shots. Time to sleep and times to wake up is theirs to decide. As far as they are awake, you dare not sleep.
It’s compulsory to love them and let it show or else they’ll cry to demand the love. You can’t leave them alone to have your own life. They’ll scream and call you back to pick them up. All the times you have for yourself are the times when they lay asleep. When they are hungry, you feed them first. When they shit on themselves, you’ll have to clean them up and make them smell nice again.
You don’t have your world anymore. It’s now their world and you are the tenant.
#2. There’s no baby language
These little adorable come with no language yet they expect you to understand their whining. You, by all means, have to communicate with them but they speak babyish or whatever language they spoke while in the womb. You have a complete well-developed language that makes meaning. But this baby can’t understand it and sadly you two have to learn to live with each other regardless of the language barrier.
How awkward and uncomfortable that sounds? They cry and you walk to them and actually say things like; “little darling, what’s the matter with you?” You knew they wouldn’t respond but you ask anyway. You will have to go blah blah blah blah until you realize you’re talking to a foreigner who has a language you’re yet to decipher.
#3. Their crying at night is horrifying
Do you know the favorite hour these souls like to cry is in the night when you crave some peace? Oh yeah, that’s their game plan. They start on a low decibel and increase the volume to correspond to your level of trying to ignore them. Your beautiful nights are over the very day you decide to shelter one of these guys under your roof.
You no more have the usual sleeping pattern of say 9 pm to 4 am. Nope! They determine how long you’ll sleep and how deep you’ll go with such sleep of yours. To ensure that you stay awake to watch over them while they’re asleep, they have this kicking tricks they do with their hands and legs whiles they sleep. Surely their legs will get you to wake up and stay watching while they sleep.
Forget about romantic cuddles while sleeping. It seizes when a baby comes. The only cuddles you get is from them and that’s it.
#4. They are a lot of drama only when you’re in a public place
At any given point in time, babies want to let you know they are in charge. They have this annoying way of drawing all the attention to themselves. They love the attention, trust me. Other than that what explains that attitude of theirs when they cry nonstop whenever you take them to public places?
In church, you hear their shrilling voice only when the congregation is silent in prayers. You can’t join in the prayers because you have to carry them out to allow others to enjoy their silent moment with God. It’s worse when you are with them in a public transport. For no reason at all, these guys burst out in tears with this loud voice enough to make you deaf.
Then all attention in the bus is drawn to you. As if that’s not enough, you hear people questioning your parenting skills and others giving you their opinions on what to do to keep a baby quiet. They put you at the center of attraction for no reason at all.
#5. Babies don’t come with a manual
Every new machine you’ve ever acquired comes with instructions—how to make it start and how to make it stop. There’s some troubleshoot procedures somewhere too. That makes it easier to live with your new acquisition.
Not when it comes to babies! No instructions or some set of manual to help you deal with their unexpected behaviors. “Why is the baby crying?” then you go like; “I don’t even know. He’s been crying all night.” Everything you do to make them stop hit a snag. Sometimes they stop, sometimes they don’t. That’s their way of challenging you to be creative and try harder.
#6. You have to be a goat to keep them entertained
Sometimes, beyond all the tears and screams, all they want to hear is a song—a beautiful lullaby to help them pass the day. They too get bored sometimes and desire some form of entertainment. At some point with my little boy, I had to learn to bleat like a goat, bark like a dog and or chirp like some crazy bird in the skies. All this to keep one little boy entertained.
I have no voice to sing. I had no idea of a lullaby but I had to go back to my nursery days to pick up a nursery song or two to sing anytime he’s bored and wants to have some fun. I sang one song too many and he cried to demand a new song. Such a work!
#7. Babies are strangers who like to lay with your wife
In an ideal situation, when I find a stranger in bed with my wife. I’ll kill them. I can’t kill this stranger and I can’t sack him from my house. So I have to learn to co-exist with him. And worse of all, I have to learn to share my wife with him. That almost brought me close to tears!
After the birth of my boy, I had to learn to go several months without intimacy. One dawn I had the urge to get close to my wife. I woke up and already, this boy was up and busily sucking on her breast. Immediately he saw my face, he gave me this dry smile. As if to tell me; “young man you’re late, go back to sleep and try your luck next time.” That got to me.
#8. Babies change you from a wife or a husband to a parent
Having a child changes your status. Once you were just a husband and a wife enjoying each other’s company. You cuddle whiles you sleep, you wake up and play pillow fights sometimes. Now it’s hard to do that. Little dictator sleeps in between you now, creating a gap as huge as two elephants can fill. Don’t even think about a baby’s cot, they hardly sleep in. Little dictator chooses where he/she wants to sleep and you have to deal with it.
Welcome to being a parent. No more weekend rendezvous because there is a baby to stay home and take care of. Party times are over. The only party to think about is the baby’s birthday parties where you pretend to enjoy baby candies and chocolate instead of drinking adult wine. The moment you realize every decision you make has to surround this little baby, that’s the moment you should realize that you are not just a wife, you’re not just a husband but a parent.
This is not to put your desire to have a baby on hold. Babies are a bundle of joy but like everything in life, there’s a catch to it. I have a beautiful boy. He’s cute. He’s my joy. He’s my unconditional love and he’s everything that’s also wrong. Especially, I hate how he’d occupied all the spaces I use to occupy in my wife’s daily life.
Someday I will buy him a puppy. I hope that will be enough to make him leave my wife for me.
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