When you are preparing to become a parent, you are warned about many things.
If you are the expectant mother, every single woman who has ever given birth will tell you every detail of every minute of her labor and delivery.
For every kid she’s given birth to.
You will be told about the sleepless nights, the potty training, the laundry, the lack of sex, the annoying kids’ shows, the ridiculous amount of shit you’ll have to shlep around with you.
But no one really tells you about the panic attacks.
And the panic attacks are the worst.
You will have them for several reasons.
When you bring that little newborn home, the first two weeks, contrary to what you might have been told, really aren’t that bad.
In those first two weeks, you are still in awe of this thing you have made with your own body.
And people are helping you.
Your parents may be around.
Friends and neighbors make you dinner and do what they can to help out as you adjust.
And you are so in love with this tiny baby that you don’t really mind much.
Plus, when those babies are less than two weeks old, they sleep really well.
They may not sleep for super long stretches, but they pretty much wake up to eat and then go right back asleep.
And nothing, other than hunger, wakes them up.
They sleep through anything.
That’s why those newborn photographers want to get their sessions booked in the first two weeks.
You can shove that kid in a bucket or a basket or a pumpkin or a shot glass, and she will not wake up.
But then they turn 15 days old.
And things change.
That kid will go from one extreme to the other.
And those first panic attacks take hold.
You will close a door just a little bit too loudly during nap time, and immediately freeze.
You will look in whatever direction the baby is sleeping, hold your breath, and wait for your pulse to return to the double digits.
And you will be struck by these attacks every single day for the rest of your child’s napping lifetime.
People tell you that you just need to make it until the kid sleeps through the night.
Then, things will get better.
They don’t tell you how, that first morning you wake up, and realize that your kid never woke you up in the middle of the night, that instead of being psyched, ecstatic even, you will have a panic attack even bigger than the shhhhhhh, you’re going to wake up the baby panic attack.
Because the first time your kid sleeps through the night, the first thought that goes through your head is, Is he okay? Is he still breathing? I have to go check on him!!!
And then you stand outside the door having a silent debate with yourself.
Do I go in?
If I go in, I’ll wake him up. If I don’t go in, he may never wake up…
Those sleep related panic attacks suck.
And so do the I’m at the beach/pool and my kid is nowhere in sight attacks.
You will have many of those.
But there is one panic attack that is worse than all the rest.
The mother of all panic attacks.
And you will have this one many, many times.
The worst panic attack you will experience, repeatedly, as a mother or father,
the one that no one ever warns you about,
is the fucking lost blankie panic attack.
You will never experience the adrenaline surge and the increase in blood pressure that you do when the fucking blankie is nowhere to be found.
At first you will look in the regular places.
No reason to worry.
But then, after you have looked in the three usual places, after you have checked the bed, and the couch and the bathroom, and that dirty, disgusting blankie is still missing, your heart rate starts to climb.
And as the beats per minute increase, so does the speed at which you move through your house.
You are a crazed lunatic.
Where is it?
Have you seen the blankie? Who took the blankie? What did you do with your blankie?
WHERE THE FUCK IS THE BLANKIE???
You pause and think.
Where did you find the blankie the last time?
The washer! You forgot you put it in the washer!
Your hopes are raised.
Only to be dashed when you open the washer and the blankie isn’t there.
So then you check the garbage can.
The top of the bookshelf where one of the kids hid it once.
You check the refrigerator and the car and the recycling bin and the desk in the basement and the garage and the wagon and the microwave and waaaaaay under the couch and the swing set in the backyard.
Every single place the blankie was ultimately located after every other LBPA.
Your kid is crying and you are out of breath and sweating and nearing the need for a defribillator.
If you don’t find that blankie, no one is going to sleep again.
And then, when all hope is lost, when you are beaten down and have accepted defeat and are about to sob hysterically alongside your blankieless kid,
you sit down.
And while you are sitting, you catch a glimpse of your daughter’s pillow.
It looks strange.
It’s not quite fitting into the pillow case.
You go over to the bed to straighten it out, a welcome distraction from the full blown anxiety attack you are currently in, and you realize why it’s not fitting.
There is a lump in the pillow case.
You feel that immediate sense of hope rise in your chest.
But you don’t want to get your hopes up.
So, hesitantly, you slide your hand inside that pillow case, all the way down to the bottom, and…
you pull out…
the fucking blankie.
And while no one tells warns you before you have kids of how badly the LBPA sucks,
no one tells you that the best parenting moment you will ever have isn’t the day your kid is born, or the day she sleeps through the night, or the day you make the last college payment, or the day you become a grandparent.
The best parenting moments you will ever have are those moments when the LBPAs finally come to an end.
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