Andrew was excited for our prenatal class today--he was sure that we had finished all the yucky parts and were just headed toward administrative issues, such as billing and choosing a pediatrician. Well, we did cover billing and we did talk about pediatricians, but we also covered post-birth mother and baby care.
Andrew did not take this well. He wasn't really interested in hearing about anything gooey today.
I was impressed with him though because even though he was squeezing my hand a little too tight and was squirming in his seat again, he still had the courage to ask questions.
First he asked about the posters showing what a "normal baby" looks like shortly after birth. You know: the swelling, the bruising, the vernix, the milia, etc. He wanted to know, "When the baby stops looking like that?"
Oddly enough, all the other fathers in the room kind of rallied around him, "Here, here! When does that stop--when can I touch the baby without shuddering?" They were all kind of grossed out by all the little quirks a baby can have after coming out.
Andrew's second question centered around the umbilical cord. He was concerned that, after they nurses take off the clip, the umbilical cord would unravel and so asked, "So, like, the baby won't explode or anything, will it?"
After quite a bit of laughter, the nurse responded that, although the baby certainly won't explode, it may ooze a little and then the cord will fall off in a couple of weeks.
Exploding babies? Really.
His third question was really quite good, although had he read our pregnancy books he would have known the answer (he can't stand to read the pregnancy books though because it makes his feet hurt). We were talking about jaundice and how to tell if your baby has jaundice, when to worry about it, and what the doctors do to fix it.
Since the doctors just use a UV lamp, Andrew wondered if you could just lay the baby in the sun if you start to notice any yellowing of the skin. The answer is yes, but it doesn't work as fast as the UV lamp, so if it's really bad you'll still need to go into the hospital.
As I said, the other fathers-to-be were asking questions just as quirky as Andrew's--many of which merited laughter from the women in the room and strange looks from their wives.
One father asked if baby wipes were like Lysol wipes, another how long it would be before his wife could get out of bed at all, and another if he could just buy his wife adult diapers.
So much to learn, so little time to do it in. But let's all remember, there are no stupid questions--except, perhaps, whether or not the baby can explode through their belly button.
Fathers seem to have just a little less instinctual knowledge when it comes to parenting. However, the nurse did caution the mothers not to give too much advice on how to care for the baby--otherwise we'd end up doing all the diapering, feeding, washing, dressing, playing, etc. all by ourselves.
Apparently babies adapt to the way "mothers mother" and the way "fathers father," which means that the baby doesn't care if its diaper is on just so, if its outfit mismatches, or if its hair goes uncombed...so mother shouldn't either.
That means that our brand new baby may very well enjoy Andrew "boogity-woogity"-ing right in her face when she's brand new, although I really, really doubt that...
Please note: Andrew is actually very gentle with brand new babies. I don't think any boogity-woogity-ing will happen for at least a few months.