Dear newly pregnant person: 

I am getting adjusted to the thought that I am now qualified to enter the age group known as “grandparents.” I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I cannot wait to hold your baby and give it right back as soon as he/she starts squalling. However, I am not really enthusiastic about being officially “old.” Because, of course, if you have a grandchild, you are an old person. 

I have a list here of things that I learned being a parent. These are true words of wisdom, and as such, I want you to commit them to memory. They will stand you in good stead as a mother, and you will have occasion to thank me many times for these gems before you pass them on to your child when he/she is looking forward to birthing. 

Please come up with a pleasant term for your child to call me. Grandma is so common. And it just sounds so SENIOR, if you catch my drift. I like the following options:

  1. Zsa Zsa
  2. Auntie
  3. Mommy (that I guess, is out of the question)
  4. Deary
  5. Slim 

In terms of advice, here are some things that I learned the hard way. You must memorize, as I mentioned previously, because they are golden. 

  1. Train that baby to sleep in a subway station. Not literally, but nothing is worse than having to tip toe around during nap time, in mortal fear that the child will WAKE UP AND START SCREAMING. Secondarily, all babies should be capable of sleeping in broad daylight or under surgical lights. This will also make your life so very much easier.
  2. Pacifiers are like crack to babies. You may not remember this, but your father and I certainly do. We had a pacifier dealer on every street corner, and woe betide anyone who forgot to put one in your mouth and one in each hand at bedtime. And good God, those things are hard to locate at three a.m. when your baby is having withdrawal symptoms and convulsing due to the disappearance of any ONE of the multiple pacifiers in the crib. The thumb is always available, and you have a good job, so orthodonture is not a problem for you in the future. Go with the thumb.
  3. Don’t worry if you can’t breast feed. We are not all blessed with this capability. No guilt. And frankly, being the ONLY ONE who can feed the darn baby is not all that it is cracked up to be at (again) three a.m. Babies LOVE being bottle fed by their dads. It’s bonding.
  4. Projectile vomiting is easily cleaned off walls. Use a magic eraser.
  5. Sleep is overrated. Say this to yourself over and over until you believe it.
  6. It is perfectly ok to post a hundred pictures a day of your baby on social media. Even perfect strangers enjoy looking at baby pictures. In the days before social media, some grandparents had no idea what their grandchildren looked like. Unless they had local grandchildren.
  7. Educational toys are fine, but nothing beats a good pot lid.
  8. Never (again, at three a.m.) confuse toothpaste with diaper cream. Never.
  9. Train your child not to purposely sit on the cat to hear it meow.

10. In the case of a female child: Tights. They may be worn on the head. This is generally the practice of girl children who wish they had long hair.  (However, if worn traditionally, underpants must be included. Well, if you crave playground popularity for your daughter, you can consider underwear as optional. However, this decision is frowned upon by school administrators everywhere. {am I the only mother who let her daughter ‘go commando’ under tights?}) I feel that I have to take the blame for your seeming lack of all inhibitions where clothing is concerned. You just grew up not knowing the importance of underwear.

11. Check for gum before your child goes to bed.

12. If you want your child to have a large vocabulary and her own room at the day care center, sing her to sleep every night with a medley of folk tunes. Which he/she will likely repeat, including the references to “lay, lady, lay,” and “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.”

13. Hugging is never optional.

14. All those pundits who publish books about child-rearing have probably broken their own guidelines a thousand times. Don’t even buy one of those books.

15. Your friend with the perfect baby? He and his wife had excellent luck with all of that eating and sleeping scheduling stuff, but I posit it is because he had an “easy baby.” Just wait until number two—he/she will SPIT on that schedule concept.

16. I hear Olive Oil prevents stretchmarks.

17. Invest in whoever makes Cheerios in the stock market. Because it will become a staple in your baby’s diet. You might as well get some return on that investment.

18. Just because you have seemingly no inhibitions, I want to revisit the underpants rule. Underpants should also be worn at the grocery store. Just get a tattoo on your wrist of the word UNDERPANTS in some stylish font. You of all people need to be reminded of underpants on a daily basis.

19. You must cherish your ass as it is today, because it will most likely be a lot lower for the rest of your life.

20. Welcome to the world of MOM PANTS. 

Sincerely, your mother  


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