Anyone who's ever had a newborn knows that babies are a game changer for couples. After nine and half months of pregnancy (aka, the calm before the storm), your team of two becomes three and suddenly all the rules change -- who you love most (hint: it's not your hubby), where you go on a Friday night (or rather, where you don't go), and what your priorities are (there is only one, and it's the baby). But out of all the changes that a new baby brings, the most drastic change, in my experience, is what you and your partner talk about.
Overnight, your conversations shift entirely. Long gone are the deep and romantic, witty and intellectual, talk-until-the-sun-comes-up convos you used to have (at least you think you used to...). When baby comes on the scene, you may still converse as the sun comes up, but the discussion will likely be accompanied by tears (and no, not just baby's). Here are a few of the ways my little lad has changed my dialogue with baby-dad:
1. It's a blowout.
Tyler and I are Bostonians, and one of our favorite topics used to be the Red Sox. We especially liked to reminisce about the great games we'd gone to. It didn't matter if the Sox were totally crushing it or getting blown out -- we always had fun. Now the only blowout on our minds, however, is the one coming out of our son's pants. For those of you lucky enough to be unfamiliar with the term, a blowout, in the context of parenthood, is when baby's bowel movement far exceeds the size and strength of the diaper, thus spilling out (or squirting) over the top and sides. Urban Dictionary describes blowouts as "catastrophic." This is true. No one wants to have to clean poop off his or her child's back. But when one must, it is cathartic to talk about it.
"Oh dear God, did you hear that?"
"Do you think we have to change his outfit?"
"I think we have to throw it out."
2. Movie magic.
One of our favorite pastimes was going to the movies. Sure, it's overpriced and we could just watch the darn thing on Netflix in a month. But something about the big screen and heart-attack-sized popcorn made it so much more special. And we loved to dissect the film when we got home -- discussing the good, the bad and the ugly. Well, we no longer go to the movies, nor do we watch Netflix. What we do watch is the inside of our eyelids, any. chance. we. get. When we don't get that chance, we tune in to a show that you may never have heard of; it's called "The Cody Show." It's on 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and it's absolutely, positively priceless.
"Oh my gosh, get up here! He's burping and farting at the same time!"
3. What's in the fridge?
In my pre-baby life, there was nothing I looked forward to more than my next meal. So, naturally food was one of my favorite topics of conversation. I was ready to talk about what was for dinner before I'd even finished breakfast. And Tyler knew that when I asked if he was hungry, it really meant I was, and that he'd better get a-cookin' before hunger turned to "hanger." Now that baby's on board, however, my hunger's taken a backseat. And when I ask Tyler what's in the fridge, he knows I don't mean food -- I'm talkin' how many ounces of breast milk are filling the fridge and the freezer. It's no use crying over spilt cow's milk, but I will cry an actual river if mama's precious milk is messed with.
"Let's make breast milk smoothies."
"Let's pretend you didn't say that."
4. Dress for success.
I can vaguely remember a time when we liked to go shopping. And if I remember correctly, it was because we cared about how we looked. We'd ask for each other's advice on what to wear and what not to wear, for this occasion or that. Now the only occasion we dress up for is... oh wait, there isn't one. And the only advice exchanged is to pick out something clean. But while my sense of style may never be quite what it was, my 3-month-old son is as fashion forward as they come.
"What should Cody wear?"
"You can pick it out."
"OK, how about this?"
"No, he's already worn that once!"
"What are those?"
6. Life is but a dream.
Tyler and I used to have big aspirations. As young and eager recent college grads, we delighted in discussing our career goals, deciding how we were going to change the world and debating about where in the country we wanted to live. Now, we still have aspirations, but on a slightly different scale. I, for example, dream of the day I can take Cody to the supermarket and leave with at least one item on my list. Tyler aspires to take a shower. We both dream of the day we will sleep through the night again (18 years from now). But the most important dreams we have these days don't feature us at all, and they're the sweetest dreams either of us has ever had.
"I wonder what Cody will be when he grows up."
"He can be whatever his heart desires!"
"I think he'll be a football player.
"Over my dead body is my son doing something that dangerous."