Our daughter Medha was born *exactly* on her due date, which still caught us unprepared. With her first few cries the world around us underwent a massive transformation, without really changing one bit. (Morons like oxymorons, you must be thinking, and honestly I am growing tired of this pattern.)
Throughout the pregnancy, whenever friends warned us about the loss of freedom, hours of sleep and sanity, that lay yonder, I always thought, "C'mon there have been at least about 10 billion births before this. If all sorts of people could handle it without any additional qualification, I think I can handle it too." Today, while I stand behind my statement, I can't help but think about how much easier it was to transition from bachelorhood to matrimony, than from there to parenthood.
There is lots of freely available advice on childcare. Most of the good stuff comes with a killer caveat: each child is also fiercely unique. The situation boils down to something like this. You have user's manuals for ten thousand different VCRs. However, you don't have the manual for the exact model you have. So if you browse through enough different manuals, the instructions for operating your VCR would probably be a proper subset of that accumulated wisdom. But then again, it might not - since remember every VCR here is unique!