You read a lot about what the early days of motherhood is like. It's challenging. It's satisfying. It's soul-crushing. It's sublime. It's work. It's worth it. It's all true, and I think it's important to discuss all the different ways we can experience parenting. Something I don't see discussed quite as much, however, is that in those early days, motherhood is funny. The first six months of motherhood teaches you about your sense of humor in ways that might not always seem funny at first, but eventually become an important part of your mom identity.
Having a sense of humor has always been important to me. It's not just that having a sense of humor makes you popular at cocktail parties, but I truly believe having a sense of humor keeps us grounded and gives us much needed perspective. It's also sometimes just enough to buoy us in times when we really, really need a lifeboat.
There will be a lot of things you will face in your baby's first six months of life that will, indeed, be no laughing matter. And there will be other things that, on a bad day, won't be, either. But sometimes, when the light hits something just right, you can find yourself seeing the funnier side of life, and learning a thing or two about your own sense of humor in the process.
You'd think "little tush = little fart" but, well, you'd be wrong. Baby farts are indistinguishable from adult farts and that incongruity is f*cking hilarious. Seriously, you're just sitting there, staring lovingly at your little miracle baby and then, without breaking eye contact, they let one rip. It sounds and smells like a grown-ass man fart. Sometimes their own fart catches them off guard and they jump in surprise. You're trying to catch your breath amid a fit of gagging and laughing.
It never gets old.
Your brain does wacky things when you're running on four and a half cumulative hours of sleep. One morning you're staring into your (now cold) cup of coffee when, all of a sudden, you start cackling. Madly. You can't stop. It becomes so intense that tears are streaming down your face. You turn to your infant, who is staring at you, and their reaction only makes you laugh harder.
If someone asked what you were laughing about, you could try to explain but it just wouldn't translate out of your own brain. This is a comedy something only someone in the first months of parenthood can understand.
Because you haven't had two uninterrupted hours of sleep in six months and something inside of you is dying a slow, unabating death.
Nothing is funny. Nothing will be funny ever again... or at least until you can get a solid eight hours of shut eye under your belt.
Whether you're dressing them up as a puppy (my son had a full body puppy onesie that I would put him in all the time, for every day use, because it was adorable and funny) or a mini Karl Marx, everything is funnier on a baby, partially because they are absolutely oblivious to the joke, so they're neither playing into it nor embarrassed by it. They're just kind of there, and for that we salute them.
Seriously, though, just look at this gif. If that doesn't prove my point I don't know what does.
As with dressing up a baby, making a baby do things babies physically cannot do on their own is funny because OMG HOW IS THE BABY DOING THAT, LOL.
Also, remember, you haven't slept in, like, 180 days so... it's the little things.
A baby laugh is so pure and unrestrained and genuine that even if you have a frozen, jaded heart (like mine) you can't help but feel it flutter, just a little bit, in the darkness of your chest. This is a good thing on those days when you're covered in baby pee and they haven't stopped fussing or crying for a week and you feel like absolutely everything in your life has fallen by the wayside and all you have to show for it is an unhappy baby who (you're convinced) hates you. And then, all of a sudden, they'll let loose a little infant laugh and BAM! You're recharged for the next month.
And then they fart and you laugh because, again, nothing is funnier than a baby fart.
Some parents swear in front of their kids, which is fine. Especially when they're very little and can't understand you, much less mimic anything. I, however, chose to give up swearing (in front of my kid) cold turkey from Day 1, just to get in the habit... because casual swearing is one thing but left to my own devices I'm could make f*cking sailors blush.
This resulted in me replacing all desired swear words with innocuous placeholders. "Farts." "Blast." "Goodness Gracious." "Mother's uncle." Sometimes it would just be whatever word came to mind first, like "Oh soup dumpling!"
The problem is I got so used to doing that in front of my kid that I would bring it into the real world with me... but wouldn't you know it, it was always really funny.
Either because they annoy you and you want to try to make sense of it (Caillou is actually a curse sent down upon his parents and the whole show is them trying to learn how to send this horrible character back into the demonic realm from whence he came) or because it's the only entertainment you're regularly exposed to anymore, you get invested. I know I'm not alone in this because I once Googled "Who is Sofia the First's dad" (because, yeah, I really wanted to know what the deal was there) and stumbled upon this bonkers theory about how her step-father King Roland is actually her father, and he and Sofia's mother had to wait for the deaths of their spouses to be together.
This sh*t is hysterical.
Because if you don't you're going to either become a joyless husk of a human, or miss out on so much of the fun and humor of having a baby. It really is a lot of fun, but you have to be OK with the joke being on you sometimes.
The joke will be on you. A lot.
Except when your baby farts. Because, again, that's comedy gold, friends.
Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.