So I'm on Week 2 with Ava and so far I have kept her relatively clean and alive! I am winning at this!
Mainly I've been learning how to distract her from wanting to scream her ass off.
I learned the kitchen light is hypnotizing and will get her to suck down a whole bottle fairly quickly -- even the frozen milk she despises.
I learned she is entranced by the mobile on the pack-and-play, which comes in handy when I'm using 45 wipes to clean pureed pumpkin out of her lady bits.
I learned how to coax impressive burps out of her following a feeding.
I learned that she farts as loud as a man.
I learned how to rock and jiggle and swaddle in such a way as to invite sleep sooner than later.
And I learned she enjoys being spoken to. I've been telling her secrets about everyone in the family, and she thinks it is hilarious.
The cats were initially curious about her, and now when she shows up they're like, Not that baby again! It confuses them when I use my baby-talk voice with Ava, because they are usually my little furry snuggle muffins. They are a little pissed off that I'm carting around a wailing, tiny human and talking to her like she's way awesomer than they are.
Murray's been roaming the house, meowing loudly. He's been jumping on the kitchen counter (a big no-no) just to get my attention. He and Simon both have been choosing their noisiest toys to play with and bringing them near Ava, so I'll give them attention. Simon likes to walk up to the baby and meow loudly. Thankfully she seems fairly immune to annoying meowing and squeak toys. And other than being jealous, the cats are rather polite. They've never purposely bitten or scratched a human and they aren't about to start with the baffling baby.
I consider my time with Ava training wheels for when I have my own kid. I now feel about five million times more confident that I can birth a child and not promptly kill it by accident. Of course, Ava makes it look easier than it potentially could be. I'll just be grateful for that in the meantime.
In conclusion: I'm enjoying my new job, but it is definitely all-consuming. Go figure, caring for a human requires a lot of attention! People who have kids and also get other things done -- other than feeding their children and occasionally hosing them off when they're filthy -- those people are over-achievers.