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7 Things I Forgot About Having a Newborn

Photograph by Twenty20

I've had four babies now, and each time I have a newborn, the first few weeks are a steady stream of, "Oh, I forgot about this." And my children are close together!

They're basically all about two years apart, so it's not like I've gone years and years between each newborn stage. And yet, in that 24-month period, I apparently forget everything I know about life with an infant.

Here are seven things I keep having to re-learn:

1. Newborn math means a 10-pound car seat plus an 8-pound newborn equals 4,000 pounds.

I'm not sure what the physics involved here are, but I've never lifted anything as heavy as a car seat with an infant in it. Also, how can we live in a world with Amazon Prime and polio vaccines, but no one has invented a car seat that's actually possible to carry comfortably for more than 10 seconds?

RELATED: Why I Already Miss the Newborn Stage

2. A newborn cry is so quiet you can't hear it from the next room.

This is probably mostly because I've been deafened by toddler crying, which shakes the foundation of my home. But seriously, why was I so worried about my first newborn's cries bothering other people when now I recognize they were such tiny little kitten mews that only I could hear them?

3. My baby will spit up in my hair within 30 minutes of washing it.

I only wash my hair once or twice a week, but guaranteed, within the first hour of clean, shiny hair, there will be an avalanche of baby spit-up. It'd be safer and more hygienic to not wash my hair until their first birthday.

4. A swaddle is like a magic wand.

For those first few months, there is basically nothing a swaddle can't fix. Tired but won't go to sleep? Swaddle. Hungry but too worked up to actually eat? Swaddle. Diaper rash? Swaddle. (OK, maybe not that last one). I wish that magic still worked on my 2-year-old.

5. Pacifiers grow legs and run off.

At this point in our parenting career, I'm fairly sure we've purchased 4,509 pacifiers. The number we can find at any given moment (that given moment being the one where someone is shrieking inconsolably)? Zero. Every time.

6. It's possible to survive on so much less sleep than you thought.

In my non-newborn-caring life, I really need a solid seven to eight hours every night. A single interruption, even for five minutes, and I'm like Cruella de Vil the next day. But give me a newborn and I can function(ish) on three-hour stretches of sleep. And a five-hour stretch? Well, sign me up for a marathon.

RELATED: What a Newborn Really Sees

7. You immediately think the number of children you have, minus one, is a breeze.

When you have one child, it seems like a lot of work (let's be honest, it IS a lot of work). Then you have a second child and instantly running an errand with just one child becomes the easiest thing on the planet. It doesn't even matter which child it is! Same thing when you have four. Three is now a walk in the park ... assuming your walks in the park involve a lot of toddler tantrums.

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