Sleepless nights?  Wiping poop every two hours?  Non stop crying?  Bah - those temporary challenges pale in comparison to the awesome things about having a baby.  Here's a list of 11:

1.  Free hugs.  Babies need some TLC.  And after a stressful day at work, so do you.  A warm, cuddly hug from your own baby, with his head and arms resting peacefully on you, is a win-win.
2.  “I made you, (insert baby’s name here)!”  It’s a pretty awesome thing to have your own little person.  You have someone who you can influence and leave your life lessons with, and see grow into an adult.  I can’t wait to sing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody with my son Liam, run up the Rocky steps with him, take him to sporting events, and teach him how to dance some moves.  He or she is your own living breathing mark in the world.  And when you have a good kid, it’s something to be proud of.

3.  The spontaneous expressions.  It’s always fun to see how babies react to things and their many different cute expressions.
4.  Boundless creativity and imagination await.  As babies grow up and learn new ideas, they come up with witty thoughts and naturally think and say stuff out of the box.  Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s wise.  At the least, it’s free entertainment.  At its best, it makes you think more creatively yourself.  For example, our friends Drew and Katherine have a daughter, Brielle, who spontaneously said at one point, “the metro is my frenemy.”  So true, wise little one.

5.  You can dress your baby in whatever you want.  Baby’s aren’t particular about the latest fashion trends, and are far from the age where they demand only name brand stuff.  Dress your baby in a onesie saying ‘I have the coolest mom’?  Go for it!  Dress your little one in a wizard costume?  Go crazy!  Here's a picture of Liam in his boxing glove mitts, dreaming of being the heavyweight champ.
6.  You get to experience the things that you never remembered.  Having a baby, you get to see the first few years of life that you never remembered yourself.  Now you get to see how you learned your first words, how you learned how to walk, how certain foods taste like for the first time, etc.

7.  You get a membership to Club Baby.  You’re in good company if you have kids.  Whether it’s to commiserate or to celebrate, there will be parents around at work, in the neighborhood, and communities online.  Since having Liam, I found myself meeting and talking with more people who are happy to share their kid stories.

8.  It can make you a better person.  Parenthood definitely tests your patience.  It definitely tests your endurance and will.  You have to love, care for, and protect an innocent, fragile little person, and if you handle it well and work as a team with your partner/family, it can bring out your best. 

9.  Babies make the world stop for a while.  I just finished paternity leave, and spent more quality time with my parents in the last two weeks than I have in the last year.  Babies give many new parents a break from work and a chance to bond with their family and friends.
10.  Babies give hope.  So far, Liam has been a kicker.  He loves kicking.  Perhaps he’s a future soccer star or karate kid?  He also loves pooping.  Perhaps a lucrative career in waste management? :-) Babies have talents and skills yet to be discovered, and there’s a hope of something possibly special about this one.

11.  That little smile.  The best feeling is to catch that little smile. 
A final word to fellow, tired new parents: The sleepness nights, diapers, and crying will eventually end.  But so will these fun, cute times.  Enjoy these moments while you can.