A Programmer's Short Guide to Newborns
Enjoy the experience!
- There's no manual. You wouldn't read it anyway.
- Nothing can prepare you for the sleep deprivation. Regularly pulling all-nighters to meet deadlines doesn't compare. Trust me.
- "Breast or Bottle?" is a bit like "Linux or Windows?":- Lots of people on both sides, all with very strong opinions. At the end of the day, both sides get the job done, all without bringing about the End Of Life As We Know It.
- 99.99% of system malfunctions are covered by: A) Wet/Poopy, B) Hungry, C) Tired or D) Pain, (roughly in ascending order of "difficulty to deal with").
- Don't eliminate A) or B) just because of recent Change/Feed. These are easy, try them first.
- C) is not always as obvious as you might think. "Frantic Activity" + "Bawling" sometimes == "Tired". Go figure. Fixing this problem usually involves some baby-specific procedure that can only be arrived at through trial and error: something like standing on one leg with baby balanced between the other knee and your elbow while humming Rachmaninoff and using a hair dryer to blow warm air on baby's butt, all the while flushing the toilet and running the faucets. This is where you really wish you had that manual.
- D) is not usually that common, but don't rule it out if you've tried all the rest. You'll probably find that your Pediatrician deals with dumb questions from newbie users better than you would. They won't flame you, shame you or dismiss you with a curt "RTFM", (there is no FM).
- Remember that baby doesn't know (yet) that you're a geek. Revel in the captive audience as you explain why [Insert Name of Lame Programming Language Here] is totally bogus when compared with [Insert Name of Less Lame Programming Language Here].
- Two week olds are not Bored. Three months, maybe; two weeks, never -- not even if you're explaining Perl's regular expression syntax.
- Expect poor performance and usability issues, because, as with most complex systems, babies start off "buggy". Despite this, almost everybody will lie about how good/calm/sweet their baby is/was. The few who don't will become your new best friends.
- Parenting websites suck. Pink stuff, cursive fonts, too many words. Don't bother.
- Did I mention sleep deprivation?
Fitz, July 15, 2006