We're All Damaged

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day Baby vs. Night Baby: A Case Study

People are always saying to me, “Matt Norman, I hear you’re a daddy now. I sure wish you were my daddy.” My response is always the same: “Seriously, Natalie Portman, that’s the creepiest thing you’ve ever said to me. Now how did you get past my security system?”

But, as usual, Natty P. speaks the truth. I am, indeed, officially responsible for another human life.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that “This Guy” believes in giving 110% -- 115% if the humidity is low. Therefore, in just a few short days, I have pretty much become an expert at both parenthood and baby psychology.

“An expert, Matt Norman?” you say, with doubt in your voice, furrowing your brow.

That’s right, reader, an expert. And I really don’t appreciate your tone, by the way.

You see, for those of you who haven’t had a baby, you might not know that every newborn is actually two separate, very distinct entities. Henceforth, I shall refer to those entities as Day Baby and Night Baby.

Day Baby
Day Baby is so mind-numblingly cute that you’ll hardly be able to deal with it. She will sleep like a cartoon panda all day long. “Oh my God, you are so freaking cute,” you will be heard saying, loudly, over and over again, amazed that your DNA was able to contribute to such profound adorableness. Occasionally she’ll open her eyes, and, for the briefest of moments, she’ll look at you, and although she won’t smile, you’ll see that she understands who you are. She’ll sneeze and you’ll nearly burst into tears. She’s stretch her arms or hiccup and you’ll wonder why you waited so long to have a baby in the first place. “What have I been doing for 32 years?” you’ll ask. “I’ve wasted so much time. I’m going to quit my job so I can stare at her all day. I need to have more. Seriously, like right now. Where can I get a dozen of them? The Internet?”

Night Baby
Metaphorically speaking, Night Baby is a sophisticated robot sent from the future to crush your soul. She will cry so loudly that you’ll check her diaper for broken glass. She will squirm and she’ll wail, and it won’t let up, regardless of what the clock says, because the clock is something you invented, and it means nothing to her whatsoever. You’ll do the things you learned in the baby books that your friends gave you, the shushing and the swaddling and the swaying, but they won’t help at all. In fact, they will somehow make her tiny, fist-clenched rage worse. She’ll be a seven-pound monster in pink jammies, feeding off of your exhaustion. “Why are you doing this to me, baby?” you’ll ask, pleading now, begging for an answer. “Don’t you even care that I bought you all this stuff? I had my whole life ahead of me, and now you’ve ruined it! I could have been a professional dancer or . . . something.” And then, you, too, will be crying. Really crying, not like the crying you did that one time when you accidentally watched The Notebook on HBO a few years ago when you were hung over. “My God, my God,” you will say, yelling at the ceiling, “why have you forsaken me?”

But then the sun will come up. Because the sun always does, no matter what. You’ll comb your hair and you’ll take a shower. You’ll have some caffeine and you’ll brush your teeth and . . . “Oh my God, look at her little feet! They’re so tiny. I need to take a picture of her with my iPhone and send it to everyone I know. Her head smells like flowers! Did she smile at me? Seriously, I think she smiled at me!”



  1. Melissa (Gonnion) Kroll (aka "gunner")October 19, 2009 at 3:51 PM

    Oh, poor, poor Norman. Sounds like you are in the first few weeks of hell. Don't worry, there's no where for you to go but up from here. She will eventually start sleeping through the night... Night Baby will go away and all you have left will be a beautiful little girl (if you're lucky and don't screw it up :) But take what you're feeling and times is by 10 for your lovely wife who inevitably bears more weight in this matter than you (sorry, just a fact :)

  2. Congratulations, Matt. The Jerkyll and Hyde baby is a tough thing to manage- especially now since you have just started the new job and all but hopefully she will start to sleep through the night soon and as the reader above said, those hard times slowly start to diminish and you're just left with the cute. Hang in there, gov!!

  3. day baby. . .uh ah ah ah. . .fight - er of the night baby. . .uh ah ah ah . . .master of karate and friendship for everyone. . .