Baby Boot Camp

Let me just tell you, I have the coolest bloggy friends. No seriously, they rock. When I realized that this NaNoWriMo thing was no joke and would take up more time than I have, I put out an SOS to some of my best blog buddies. I asked if they’d be willing to guest post for me so that I could focus on NaNoWriMo while still keeping you entertained. And you know what? They all said yes! Because they rock!
I’m super excited to introduce Naomi from Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip! Naomi is crazy busy with her two little boys, her own blog, and she also writes over at Baby Banter as Juan (aka Baby Lucha). Naomi is witty, funny, and able to tell fantastic stories. So once you read this, go check her out at her place…I’m sure you’ll fall in love with her as I did.
Baby Boot Camp

My husband Danny is an army veteran. He served eight years in the military right after high school. Sometimes, he misses it and enjoys telling stories of the good old days. He also likes to tell me that I would have been a good soldier because I can eat, poop and shower in three minutes or less. Oh, and also because of the loudness of some of my burps. (This is his interpretation … I think my burps are quite delicate and ladylike.) Anyway, one of the stories that my husband likes to tell is from his days in Advanced Individual Training (AIT).

During AIT, you still have a drill sergeant, but things are a little more relaxed. After the intensity of Basic Training, the few extravagances of AIT are quite meaningful. For example, at meal times you have more than three minutes to enjoy your food and you’re even allowed to talk with fellow soldiers. One day, as my husband and some fellow trainees were having lunch in the cafeteria, their drill sergeant walked up. “Hello, soldiers,” he said gruffly to the group at the table.

Everyone looked up. “Hey, drill sergeant,” they replied. The drill sergeant regarded the table. The soldiers were almost finished, but there were a few items left that hadn’t been eaten. One soldier, across the table from my husband, was just about to reach over and pick up his strawberry cupcake to take the first sweet, satisfying bite when the drill sergeant walked over and stuck his finger smack in the middle of it.

“You didn’t want that cupcake, did you, soldier?” the drill sergeant said, more as a statement than a question.

“No, drill sergeant,” the soldier replied. You could almost feel his disappointment as his head drooped down toward his chest and the look on his face resembled a puppy whose bone had just been snatched away.

“I’ll take it then,” the drill sergeant said cheerfully, as if he were doing a generous favor. Then he very slowly peeled back the pink cupcake liner and opened his mouth to take the first delicious bite right there in front of the spurned soldier. As he walked away, the rest of the soldiers laughed and jeered at the soldier with the stolen cupcake, while he tried to pretend like it didn’t bother him.

I always laugh when Danny tells this story because not only does it help me understand the military life he experienced, but it also reminds me of my first few months of motherhood. I like to call them Baby Boot Camp.

You see, I was that soldier with the stolen cupcake. I don’t know why because I was an enlisted mother. I signed myself up. I didn’t need to be courted by a recruiting officer, with promises of excitement, adventure, a decent salary and a great MOS. I wanted to become a mother. I was looking forward to it. I read all the books. I devoured the pregnancy magazines like they were the newest testament to the Bible. I could tell you down to the day, the exact developments of my fetus on a physical, psychological and spiritual level. I went to my OB and midwife appointments religiously. I hung out at the play area at the mall, just to get into the parent groove. But nothing prepared me for the first few months of motherhood.

These are the months when it takes a carefully refined military operation to organize a hot shower for mommy. And she had better get it done in under three minutes, or there will be general mayhem among the ranks. These are the months when you wolf your meals in three minutes or less while your drill sergeant (i.e. baby) waves his fists and barks baby commands at you demanding you go faster and faster. A military style MRE (Meal Ready to Eat) would be helpful during this time, because these rations are compact, easy to consume and generally pack more than 1,000 calories a punch for long-burning energy.

These are the months when you spend time after the drill sergeant goes to sleep practicing packing your equipment (i.e. diaper bag) so that you can be quicker and more skillful when he is awake and shrieking orders at you. (“Waahhh! Waahhh!” Translation: I need milk now. And my butt is filthy.)

There are the months when you wish you had been issued a Baby Boot Camp Handbook at the hospital that would tell you exactly what to do in each confusing new situation. For example, while undertaking Operation Dinner (drive-thru dinner, followed by immediate consumption in car while baby remains hopefully asleep and content), your drill sergeant begins to scream his lungs out in the back seat. What do you do? Do you pull over and try to calm him down? Do you continue with said Operation? Do you abort the mission, chow an emergency candy bar from your glove compartment, and go home? Surely the Baby Boot Camp Handbook would have the correct response clearly listed.

These are the months when you must adopt the Baby Boot Camp dress code or accept a dishonorable discharge. No nice clothes (they will ruined by diaper blowouts and baby puke). No long hair (it will be pulled out). No earrings (they will be ripped out). No necklaces (they will be destroyed and the pieces will become immediate choking hazards). No high heels (unless you want to risk a fall while holding your tiny drill sergeant). And don’t even think about taking out your Dress Blues (i.e. fancy wear) unless you’ve arranged a sitter and are planning to go on a date with your husband.

These are the months when you fear that your butt may leave a permanent indentation on the couch because you spent 80% of your day on Operation Comfort Suck. After eight hours of nurse, burp, wipe, change, nurse, burp, wipe, blowout, change, puke, change, nurse, burp, puke, etc. your nipples will definitely feel the burn, even if your calf and thigh muscles are slowly deteriorating into nothingness.

It wasn’t that I was unhappy during those first few months. I was more shell-shocked. No one could have warned me sufficiently because Baby Boot Camp is like real boot camp in the sense that you have to experience it to understand. In no way am I trying to belittle the experience of serving in the military. I have the utmost respect for our soldiers. But motherhood is also a service to humanity. We are raising our children not just for our own personal benefit, but because we hope that our children will one day become productive adults and good citizens.

Five years into motherhood now, I’m a regular soldier. I catch my three-minute shower, two-minute poop, pull on my BDU’s (i.e. grungy jeans and T-shirt suitable for constant stainage and grimy little fingers), throw my hair in a ponytail, pack up my gear for a day in the field, and scarf down my breakfast while standing at the kitchen counter. That way, no one will have the opportunity to stick their finger into my strawberry cupcake or my scrambled eggs. But the truth is, I don’t really mind anymore if they do.
See? I told you she can write a fantastic story (I LOVE the last paragraph so much)! Now what are you still doing here? Go check Naomi’s blog Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip.

Thanks again Naomi, I owe you one.

And so it goes…


  1. JDaniel4's Mom says:
    I love this post. It tell it like it was at my house. JDaniel still gets the last bite of my cupcake.
  2. What a great post! I'm *definitely* Mommy's drill sergeant! She loves her cupcakes, though, so maybe she'll just be sure to always have extra on hand...
  3. Love the whole post but this statement "But motherhood is also a service to humanity. We are raising our children not just for our own personal benefit, but because we hope that our children will one day become productive adults and good citizens."
    BOOYA and AMEN!!
  4. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    Thanks for all the mad props, Nat:) You know I love ya!! And super geeked to be over here today. Thanks so much for having me!
  5. Loved the whole post, but the last paragraph was the best! It's like you're in my house, Naomi :-)
  6. Motherhood is a war. For sure.
  7. Unknown Mami says:
    Wonderful post. You should hear me burp, I'm quite well-known for my skills.
  8. Mandyland says:
    LOVE this post! I had to laugh - literally out loud - at "abort the mission". That's a key phrase in our family. And neither my husband nor I have a military background. You should see the looks that a nerd and a sports guy get when they declare, in line at Target, "Abort the mission. I repeat. Abort the mission."
  9. Perfect description! My baby has a baby of her own now and one on the way. I think I'll have her read this. She'll relate.
  10. Mommy Needs a Vacation says:
    Loved this post!!
    PS- How is the writing going?
  11. I completely agree with you Naomi that you must go through those first few trying months of motherhood to understand what it's like. There really is no comprehending it until you've done it. The same with labor. Stories abound, but until you go through it, you will never truly know. And, it is bootcamp - the baby breaks you down in the first six weeks and then builds you back up thereafter (smiles, coos, and laughter).
  12. dusty earth mother says:
    Love the image of the mini-drill sargeant. You rock, Naomi!
  13. Some days I definitely feel like I'm in battle. Thank you for telling it like it is. Great post!
  14. What a great post. Glad your novel writing is going well. :)
  15. Sheena Simpson says:
    Hahahaha It's like I always say waging war against chaos and dirty dishes.
  16. Oh this was fantastic. "Operation Comfort Suck" I know it all too well...this is a must read for anyone contemplating motherhood!
  17. The mad woman behind the blog says:
    AWESOME POST! Having been through both the military and the baby boot camp, I think OMwCW got it SPOT ON!

    And I seriously need the husband to read this! Do dad's know this stuff? They should.

    LOVE LOVE LOVE. And thanks Natalie for introducing me to a great blogger!
  18. Mrs.Mayhem says:
    Naomi, this was awesomely well-written, as usual! Love the military analogy. Just wait until they're teenagers... I truly have become a drill sergeant!
  19. JDaniel4's Mom says:
    This post was selected one of my great posts of the week.
  20. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @JDaniel4'sMom--Thanks so much for including me in your great posts of the week!! That was so nice of you. And oh yes. Now that we are mommie's that last cupcake bite is always spoken for.
  21. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Mrs. Mayhem: Oh lordy! The teen years. I am shaking in my boots just thinking about it. I'm going to need some training lessons from you on that one!! Promise me that you'll help me when I get there?
  22. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @The mad woman behind the blog: So excited to meet you too!! That's awesome that you've been in the military. Were you in for long? Are you still? Going to head over & visit your bloggy! Can't wait to check it out! Great to meet you:)
  23. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Yuliya--Thanks so much!! The days of Operation Comfort Suck are almost over at my house now. But they are quickly being replaced by Operation Trash the House in Under 30 Seconds and Operation Hide Your Filthy Brother in the Clean Laundy, etc. etc. The fun never ends, does it??!!! Hehehehee.
  24. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Sheena Simpson--I love that!! Waging the war against chaos and dirty dishes. That could be a great title for a blog of it's own. You are a genius!
  25. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Jen-- Thanks for reading!
  26. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Tonya--I think we all feel like that as mothers. Some days more than others. Thanks for reading and nice to meet you!
  27. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Dusty Earth Mother--Yep. We know who's in charge in this house. Heehee.
  28. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Kristi--I like what you said about them breaking you down and then building you back up with smiles, coos, etc. Because that is really so very very true!!
  29. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Mommy Needs a Vacation-- Thanks!! Great to meet you.
  30. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Renee-- Wow! That must be so much fun to have grandkids. It's amazing to think that it's really not that far away. Time just flies once you have children.
  31. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Mandyland--I can SO see my husband and I doing something like that in Target!! You guys are so cute!!! Wish we lived closer to each other so we could hang out in person.
  32. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Unknown Mami--We should have a contest.
  33. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ KLZ--Yep. And I only wish I had a little bit better training.
  34. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Alysia--Thanks so much!! There's so much common ground to stand on when you share mommyhood, isn't there?
  35. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Kimberly--Thanks so much!! Going to head over to your blog and take a peek! Great to meet you. :)
  36. Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip says:
    @ Cole--You are super cute. I'm sure Mommy doesn't mind sharing her cupcake with you!