Watch out for the soft spot
We have some friends who had their first baby this weekend.
Made me think back to our first…
So I thought maybe we could just drag out this hospital thing awhile. Like maybe eighteen years. Think about it…they have food, they have TV, they have people that are nice who help with things, and most importantly the place is fat with people who really actually know stuff about babies.
Stuff like “which end is up,” and what kinds of screams are ok and which kind of screams are not ok and most importantly of all they know why you must always and forever PROTECT THE SOFT SPOT ON THE TOP OF THE BABY’S HEAD LIKE IT IS FOUNT OF ALL THAT IS TRUE AND PURE AND HOLY. I didn’t even know that there was a soft spot, so you can see how important these people were to me.
But much to my chagrin, the hospital people were not to keen on my extended-stay plan. They had a plan too. Which, simply stated, was “you are going home tomorrow.”
So much for my thought about the hospital being a place full of people that are really nice who help with things.
With almost Twilight Zone timing, just as I had finished the last trip to the car, the previously helpful nurse appeared at the door and said, (like we were checking out at Wal-Mart) “Here you are, one beautiful daughter. Keep her wrapped tightly so she’ll think she is still in the mother’s womb. Be sure you don’t drop her and be especially careful not to touch the little soft spot on top of her head.”
Again with the soft spot? I mean really, we live in America. Surely, we could find someone with a background in manufacturing or engineering or logistics to address this national soft spot issue.
The nurse smiled, wished us luck, said, “She’s beautiful,” smiled again and nodded towards the door. “You can go now.”
And with a sense of “I hope my wife knows what to do with this sweet-smelling bundle of humanity cause I sure don’t” we were off.
No wonder our society is in such trouble. Leaving a hospital with a baby is easier than renting a video. No background check, no psychiatric eval, no deposit required. Just a happy smile, a gentle push out the door, and a thousand warnings about the soft spot.
Quick, think of something…anything…maybe if we keep asking questions she won’t make us leave and go out into that harsh, cruel world where they don’t bring you popsicles whenever you push a button….uhmm…
“Now what happens if we drop her pacifier on the ground?” I asked.
“You may want to wipe it off,” she said, mostly kindly.
“Wipe what off? The baby or the pacifier.”
“I’ll let you decide that.”
“Well then, how long?” I said
“I’m sorry I’m not following you. How long what?” she replied, a bit less kindly this time.
“How long should I wipe it off?” I offered, insistently.
”Are we back to the baby or the pacifier question?”
“No, just the pacifier,” I said. “How long should I wipe it off? Are there government regulations for things like this? You know put together by some sort of sub-committee or parental oversight watchdog group or something like that?”
“No, just long enough to get it clean.”
“Oh, thanks. That helps.”
Again, another smirky-faced nod towards the door. So with baby-daughter in hand, a fistful of papers, and a bag full of left over hospital stuff we were (sadly) out the door.
Important note to all the cheap Dads. I have learned that hospital policy is if “you open it, you keep it,” so you should “accidentally” take a bag of diapers to the car in one of your first 12 trips to load all the stuff. Then, just before your final trip with the baby, you could innocently ask the nurse for a brand new jumbo ultra size bag.
“You know” you say to the nurse, “for the 15 minute ride home…just in case.”
So that was it. Nine months of waiting. Weeks of anticipation. Hours of labor, and then just seconds of instructions before we head off into the great unknown.
And then the crying began. Not the baby’s, she was great. Not The Beautiful Bride’s because she was composed.
I was the one crying because I was not ready for any of this.