I used to think that myself.
Then I had Mary.
And I learned that 5 1/2 years of working in the hospital with adults has done little to help me prepare for a child. My illustrious nursing repertoire includes some incredibly helpful skills, such as
- Making a bed with a 300-pound person in it
- Convincing a grumpy old man that, indeed, it will be fun to get up and walk after his heart surgery
- Getting a confused elderly woman to take her pills (hint: use applesauce)
- And, convincing the same woman that I am not, in fact, the devil incarnate
It has been a bit of a let-down to realize that, so far, Mary does not require the use of any of my adult nursing prowess. She is 11 pounds, not 300, and has not yet had heart surgery.
I have also learned that my training in pediatrics from nursing school and grad school has done nothing but provide fodder for the imagination. All parents worry, but my worries have names like Hirschprung disease and diabetes insipidus and ARDS.
You'll notice that my list of nursing skills above does not include solutions to unanticipated quandaries like
- How do I cut her fingernails without pinching her skin? (Yup, did that)
- How do I get her to like tummy time?
- What do I do about flailing while breastfeeding? (she flails, not me)
- Why does she only poop once a week? (I assure you, this is a crisis with adults)
- And, why do I watch her shots with tears in my eyes when I have unflinchingly doled out thousands of them in my day?
Next time, I'm majoring in something else.
But, before I go, here is a month of Mary. In pictures.