You've got the nursery set up and your bags packed for that imminent moment when your baby makes a grand entrance into the world. Then labor and delivery is over, and you're released from the hospital to find yourself alone at home with a tiny human. That's when you realize that no birthing class could have prepared you for what that little creature can do.
Your baby will stop sleeping
A newborn looks awfully peaceful when she's sleeping, but don't be fooled. Just like labor wore you out, your child's entrance into the world was traumatizing for her, too. Don't be surprised when she transforms from a sleeping angel into a waking nightmare — in a matter of days or weeks.
Likely more than once. Whether you get a direct hit while changing a diaper or end up the innocent bystander of a torrential leak-fest, there will be urine.
Your baby will poop in the bathtub
If you thought cleaning up spilled milk or melted ice cream was a drag, just wait until your kid flaunts his incontinence in the bathtub. On the bright side, at least he didn't get the carpet (but likely will soon enough).
Your baby will smile
It may seem like your caregiving efforts are unappreciated but, eventually, that little human will start showing some emotion — and when she smiles, all those late-night feedings and constant changings will be worth it.
You're going to feel like a bad parent
For one reason or another, whether it's because your child hits another kid in daycare or refuses to eat anything but Krispy Kreme donuts, you're going to feel like a failure. Don't worry — the feeling will pass. The donut phase may not.
Your baby will become mobile
Believe it or not, you may miss those newborn days when your baby couldn't change positions or tear everything out of your lower cupboards. Eventually, your child will learn to crawl and walk and, when he does, look out. And invest in some cabinet locks.
Your baby is going to get hurt
You may think you can protect your child from the world, but five minutes on the playground or two minutes alone in the living room can easily end in a broken bone or concussed head. Your kid's going to get hurt, so make sure you know the best route to the nearest emergency room.
If you're lucky it will be somewhat edible; if not, you could be back on your way to the ER. Because a baby's curiosity usually evolves into a tasting/eating experiment, don't be surprised when she makes a hungry run for the dust ball in the corner.
Your kid will throw public tantrums
Picture flailing limbs and blood curdling screams. Whether it's due to lack of sleep, a full moon or (more likely) some unidentified irritant, your child is going to throw a fit in public.
Your baby might fake it
Sure, kids are innocent. That doesn't mean they don't have a little manipulation in them. Babies can fake cry — and yours likely will. As he associates crying with getting attention, he's more likely to work up sobs on demand.
Your child will fake other stuff, too
Courtesy laughs, attention-grabbing coughs — you name it. Your offspring can do more than just fake cry, so get used to it. There's something endearing about a baby's need for attention.
Your child will swear one day
Kids say the darndest things, likely not when you're expecting it. With her little sponge-like brain, your child will start repeating whatever she hears — including a few choice words that may both embarrass you and crack you up.
Your kid will have simple tastes
You may have spent an exorbitant amount on the toy of the season, but your baby is likely more interested in the box it came in. As babies grow, they get more curious about their surroundings, so don't be surprised if the table leg is suddenly more fascinating than that wooden block set.
It probably won't be a polite "No, thank you." As your child develops his sense of self, he'll begin to stand up for himself — in a less-than-adorable fashion. Get used it because you'll see a lot of this behavior throughout the teenage years.
Your kid will make you a better person
You may think the focus of your life is your child, but something magical happens along the child rearing path. You become a stronger, more patient, more understanding person. You can handle sleep deprivation, loaded schedules, public humiliation and a host of other life trials — all thanks to that tiny human that came without a manual.
Kristen has a journalism degree and has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.