Poop won’t hurt you and other lessons from parenthood

Two weeks ago Kayla and I left the hospital, our family a little bigger.

I expected this to be terrifying, that we would want to stay in the hospital where helpful nurses were just a push of the button away.

On the contrary, Kayla and I couldn’t wait to get our fresh-faced Kate home and fall into a routine. I’ll be honest, we might have been just a little rude to hospital staff holding us up with our discharge because we wanted to hit the road.

I’ll always remember carrying Kate through the hospital lobby on the way out. Avoiding every bump on the drive home and glancing in the mirror with a wince every time I hit a Lincoln pothole. Carrying Kate inside, and saying welcome home.

These are great first memories. The first time Kate shit on me wasn’t exactly a great one, but I’ll cling to all of the memories I can.

It was during a regular diaper change. It’s generally a good idea not to waste time since newborns are basically a time bomb when it comes to feces, and I had just lined up a fresh diaper and was moments away from strapping it on when Kate let go.

Poop on my hand. Poop on the clean diaper I almost had on. Poop on the changing pad. She just smiled as she always does after a good poop.

I might have smiled too as I called for Kayla to come watch Kate while I washed my hand.

Obvious statement, but I’ve never been a big fan of poop. You get over that  when you have a kid of your own.

I dreaded changing dirty diapers and having to clean, smell and, God forbid touch, poop. But less than two weeks into parenthood, I check to see if her diaper is dirty with a hand test because it’s easier than opening a diaper to look and see if Kate left us a gift.

After all, it’s just a little poop.

The first poop story is mine, but Kayla gets the first pee story. It’s a similar story. We were changing Kate’s diaper and Kayla was working on the bottom half, when pee happened. On instinct, Kayla cupped her hands to try and and catch it all, then realized what she was doing, yelled “Why am I cupping it?!” and gave up hope of keeping the changing pad clean. We laugh at that story.

You can break taking care of a newborn into three main areas of distress for parents. Diaper duty is one of them. Feeding and a lack of sleep are the other two.

I’m pretty much off the hook for feeding since Kayla is nursing. Women really do get the short end of the stick when it comes to parenthood, don’t they?

Kate’s sleep schedule is like a high-stakes game of roulette. Some nights she only wakes up once or twice. Other nights it’s an hourly wakeup call from a screaming child in need of food or attention.

These nights have started to blend together, almost like a long night of drinking. I try to piece things together in the morning. I usually can’t remember if it was last night or the night before that I got up at 3 a.m. and walked Kate up and down the hallway for an hour.

It gets frustrating, of course. But worth every second.

We may be biased, but Kate is the most beautiful baby who’s ever been born.

It’s certainly true in our eyes, and she’s only getting more entertaining. She’s starting to show more facial expressions and move around more, mostly in search of milk. Sorry Kate. You’re not finding any when daddy’s holding you. Newborn hiccups, sneezes and burps make us melt. She’s not quite up to full sentences yet, but her giggles and random noises that sound like Gizmo from the movie Gremlins are close enough. We’re already wrapped around her finger.

Naturally, Kate’s various facial expressions and movements have been well documented, thanks to the age of digital photography.

I ran the figures after the first week. Kayla and I — yes just the two of us, not counting pictures family members have taken — logged an average of 4.8 photos for each hour or her life.

Have you held my daughter? If so there are at least seven photos to prove it.

And we don’t even feel bad about it. Kate is only two weeks old and Kayla and I are already sad we can’t remember every moment of the journey, so we’re going to photograph away and enjoy single moment. Even those with poop.