Discover more from Matt Levy's Comedy Stray Notes
Five things I learned each day in the first week of my daughter's life
• We’re in the middle of a baby boom.
Well, if you take a peek at my Instagram feed, it definitely FEELS like we’re in the middle of a baby boom.
Thanks for reading Matt Levy's Comedy Stray Notes! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
Everywhere I look on social media, infants belonging to friends, comedians and old coworkers are popping up.
Maybe it’s not a baby boom though. Maybe I’m just 34 and that’s the natural progression of life.
Yeah, that’s probably more likely.
• In my first week of parenting, I furiously documented everything I could about the experience.
I really get the old adage, “They grow up so fast” now. It’s true. Blink and your kid is growing little tufts of eyebrow hair. These things just sprout up overnight.
Now, with a bit of hindsight, I, a certified DILF, am ready to share my sappy thoughts, stray observations and half baked jokes about being a dad that I scribbled in a Google Doc during the first week of our baby’s life.
To keep this short (a first for me), here are the five things I learned each day our baby lived at home.
• Day One
01.) It already feels like every day is a routine of burps, laughs, poops, pees, the occasional fart, milk spit up, rooting (when baby turns into a gremlin looking for a nipple to latch onto), sleep sacks, generous gifts from friends and family, pediatrician visits, repeat.
02.) When I brought baby Pep into our apartment for the first time, I showed her everything slowly. Her bassinet, the nursery we set up for her, her assortment of baby chairs. Don’t think she really absorbed my thorough lesson. Classic baby move.
03.) Told her “today is the best day of your life.” A month later, I now realize that it must have been terrifying to be moved into a new place with no explanation whatsoever. So yeah, probably not “the best day of her life.”
04.) Anna read Pep her first book and I learned she can’t see much. The world is in black and white for up until the first six weeks of a baby’s life.
Allegedly, she can only see 12-18 inches in front of her face AND too much eye contact is a stimulation overload.
Essentially, babies need a lot of love/attention/people saying “aren’t you the cutest thing ever” in their face, but give them space. But not too much space. They shouldn’t be in a room by themselves ever either.
So many contradictory needs. Good luck getting it all right, new moms and dads! You're going to be told you're wrong a lot.
05.) Wished our cute Pep would stay two days old forever and told her she could live at the apartment and freeload for all time. Wouldn’t even mind.
A month later, I don’t hate the idea of her getting a job.
BONUS CONTENT: At night, Pep pops her little hands out of her tiny sleep sack right after she’s been swaddled. Amazing comedic timing. The kid is already Chaplin-esque. No baby before has ever done this trick. She’s a true original and all other babies are hacks.
• Day two
01.) Anna and I FaceTime’d with fellow new parents who instructed us that “you can be a little rough” diapering your baby. Kind of intense advice. Now that I’m seven weeks deep, I still disagree with it!
Erring on the side of the gentlest you’ve ever been is always the way to go IMHO.
02.) You will have lots of visitors to see the baby. They will politely tell you that your toilet is nasty. This one might just be on me. My toilet seat is a bit nasty.
(NOTE: There are two toilets in our apartment which is very rare for New York. It’s kinda like we’re the Royal Family or something. Anyway, Anna wanted to let everyone know her toilet is not nasty and everyone’s favorite to use).
03.) With the help of Anna’s family, we rearranged the bedroom to make things easier for middle of the night feedings. It seemed like a stressful undertaking but now that we’ve done it (and it only took 20ish minutes), I’d never go back. This is the way to live.
04.) Napped from 5-6 p.m. for the first time in 20 years.
When you wake up from such a short burst of sleep, you’re a bit delirious. This time, I couldn’t stop singing a song I made up with the lyrics, “You, me and mommy. All ya gotta do is dance.”
It sounded better than it reads.
05.) Started writing down observations about babies for a future one-man show that will surely pale in comparison to Mike Birbiglia’s “The New One.” Here are some of the bare bones premises:
Don’t know what baby clothes designers who put pockets in shirts are doing. Nothing goes in there.
If you want, you can “Simba” your Baby like you’re Rafiki atop Mt. Lion King while playing “The Circle Of Life” whenever you want. It’s a fun bit if you’re playing Rafiki. Babies who are thrust into the role of Simba don’t appreciate it though.
Ok, that’s all I got.
Slept until 2:40 a.m. when we were awoken by baby yelps (kids don’t have tears until they’re six weeks old) expecting a full diaper. Nah, the Huggies were empty. Classic. Back to bed.
• Day three
01.) Had a nightmare around 4:15 and bolted the door shut.
You know how you can’t ever really sleep on a plane? Parenting is like that.
While I’m on my high horse about sleep, here’s a piece of advice I stand by:
Don’t tell “parents to be” to get as much sleep as possible. I say slowly wean yourself off of sleep and wake up early for creative projects in the morning. Then, waking up at odd hours won’t be so hard.
Yes, I know. I’m a genius.
02.) The whole house smells like baby poop (which is oddly reminiscent of movie theater popcorn) but I don’t mind. Not when your kid is so cute. I could even see baby poop becoming a scent at Yankee Candle for parents that want to relive the early days.
03.) From now on, I see everyone as a former baby. Once you have one, you can’t unsee it.
04.) Listening to baby’s breath is magical. Wow. Just hearing her little noises is enough to melt even the most cynical heart. Somehow her mini snores are better.
Still, she’s a raging rookie human who just entered this world and is going through some sort of postpartum depression of her own.
To combat this, white noise machines are a true Godsend.
Somehow, they always calm baby down. Allegedly, vacuums do as well.
04a.) If you’re ever annoyed, sleep deprived and hungry, tell yourself “Enjoy the small moments. Baby will never be younger,” and you’ll be back in the moment in no time.
In all fairness, I stole that idea from a similar sentimental article about parenting. Sue me.
05.) No matter what, treat your wife like the queen (well, not the Queen that just passed, R.I.P.). Say stuff like “Today is Anna Day” and celebrate her all day. Bring breakfast in bed. Cook her favorite dinners. Have trail mix at the ready for middle of the night feedings. Basically, food goes a long way. Eating is kind of everyone’s love language.
• Day four
01.) It’s a lot scarier to hold a baby when it’s not yours. Somehow your own child is much easier to lug around. Probably because you log so many hours transporting them from one room in the house to another.
02.) Babies are the ultimate excuse to get out of a FaceTime call. Just saying “I’d love to chat but the baby JUST pooped” gives you carte blanche to hang up.
Maybe the baby didn’t poop but the person on the other end doesn’t need to know that. Now you can go back to watching “The Sopranos.”
03.) I thought I was a genius whispering to the baby to calm her down and then I remembered whisperers exist. That’s literally their thing.
04.) Babies have horrible taste in music. Like she somehow prefers Broadway music to The Strokes? Hell nah.
05.) I don’t like accepting gifts. It makes me uncomfortable and feels transactional even if there’s love behind it. See, in my mind, I just think “A thank you card is expected. You’ll probably want a gift in return too. Then, I probably won’t even get what I want when I could have just bought it for myself guilt free.”
That all changes now though.
My mom wanted to send me food and shoes. I said, “Hell yeah, I’ll take some food. I’m in for some Hokas too” (Hokas are a comfortable shoe my mom introduced me to. As soon as you wear them, nothing compares. No, this isn’t a sponsored post). Once you have a kid, you start dropping your arbitrary moral high ground.
Later today, I requested my uncle John write a poem dedicated to baby Pep introducing her to the world.
Here is an excerpt:
Welcome, that is, to your loving
mother and father, welcome
to skies, birds and birdsongs, trees, oceans, dawns,
fairy tales, hugs, laughter (and you will have plenty
with your parents!). Welcome
to Earth, welcome to the universe, welcome
to dreams, to love, to music, to silences and peace,
to your aunts and uncles and grand-
parents, to playgrounds, constellations, flowers, to
If you’re not crying, something is wrong with you. Or maybe, I’m just a blubbering sentimental softie now. Probably that too.
The generosity continued through the week.
My friend from college Bernie bought us a Thai lunch complete with spring rolls, sparing no expense. My aunt Leslie AKA the helpful cousin/aunt in charge of our genealogy, entered her in the family tree.
Even better is the fact that you can send a text with a photo of the baby holding said gift and no one is mad that you didn’t send a thank you card. After three-plus decades of writing dull thank you notes, this is a game changer.
Later in the day, I took baby Pep to the dollar store below our apartment and laundromat hoping to score gifts. I am now a gift junkie with no morals whatsoever and will go so far as to actively hunt them.
Our dollar store friend hooked baby up with plush toys. The woman who runs our laundromat handed me a crisp $5 bill.
The people at Anna’s salon didn’t get the hint that we wanted a present for our brand spankin’ new daughter and just said “Congratulations.”
• Day five
01.) Told my parents I appreciated how nice they were to me as a kid because I get it now. They said, “You thought we wanted to eat you.” That’s true. I did.
02.) It’s really hard to teach my baby when to stop eating because I don’t even know when to stop eating.
Think this may have something to do with how many buffets my family went to as a kid. There was a place called Sweet Tomatoes we loved that was delicious and most likely shaped my unhealthy relationship with food.
03.) Cloth diapers are made to upset babies. They’re intentionally uncomfortable teaching newborns to potty train faster. That’s messed up.
You’re probably imagining a cloth diaper with clothespins. So was I. Those are no longer a thing. Now cloth diapers come with “snappys” that have sharp, razorlike hooks.
Good luck and don’t accidentally stab your baby’s thigh with them!
04.) Would like to see a “Breaking Bad” style show starring Ken Jennings and Mayim Bialik. Yes, we watched a lot of “Jeopardy” while Anna nursed.
I often fall asleep now while Anna is up next to me saying things like “What is Peru?”
05.) Don’t ever hang up a call between your wife and mother in law before it’s over EVEN if you have a good reason.
Learned that one the hard way.
• Day six
01.) Baby Pep saw rain for the first time today. She was not impressed. Babies do not care. All they like in this world are milk, mobiles, pooping, sleeping and things that feel soft.
02.) Today was her first pediatrician appointment. For new parents who don’t have cars like us, always order an Uber XL. The drivers are always fellow parents and happy to help install car seats. The only downside is they’ll share parenting advice the whole ride.
03.) Pediatricians are REALLY nice when you first meet them.
With almost two month’s worth of dad experience under my belt now, I can say that with each subsequent visit, pediatricians become a little less friendly.
Always make sure that they weigh your baby before they poop and pee too otherwise they might be considered “underweight” even though they literally just excreted a good 15% of their body mass.
04.) Babies scratch their faces with no restraint when they’re hungry. It’s terrifying. She has no idea what she’s doing. Just so you know! It’s a thing!
05.) You can make your baby salute people or dab whenever you want.
Still, that’s never as funny as watching a baby cry, suddenly stop mid-sob, forget what they were doing and then start wailing even harder than before. Kids do the darndest things.
• Day seven
01.) If you put a baby in a robe, they look like balding business-men staying at hotels.
It’s kind of funny.
02.) It’s nearly impossible to capture a baby’s smile in a still photo since they change their facial expressions so quickly. Over the course of a month, I’ve taken probably 1500 photos and only 70 or so of them are good.
Once I did get a good picture of baby Pep smiling, I told her, “Pep, I’m so proud of you” and she pooped on me. Classic baby move. Then, once we took her diaper off, she pooped some more. Pooping really makes babies smile. Either way, kid has superb comedic timing.
Even better? She somehow flips me off all the time. Love when she does edgy material.
03.) The best way to burp a baby is by gently patting all over their back rather than in just one place. In no time, you’ll be getting cute belches out like a champ.
Yes, most of my days are spent cheering for a tiny human to poop, pee and burp.
04.) Babies are natural yogis. Pep is always finding herself in difficult poses without even knowing it. Even weirder is that our daughter has rock hard abs but the flabbiest, weakest legs of all time. Infant bodies make no sense.
05.) If you squat, your baby will stop crying because the movement reminds them of the womb.
Plus, you, the parent, will get shredded.
So, yeah. You really do learn something new every day. Sometimes even five new things.
Any fellow parents have stuff they want to share with a newb like me?
Hit me up. I’m all ears. I like tips and tricks.
OK, back to parenting IRL for me.
Not a parent and want to ask me questions about what it's like? The DMs are open, my fellow former babies
Thanks for reading Matt Levy's Comedy Stray Notes! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.