Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Baby Story Part 11

At the time of this writing, I have been a parent for exactly three weeks and here are my thoughts:

1. It is imperative to inform your neighbors that you have a newborn so they will not suspect clinical depression. The symptoms are the same: fatigue, problems concentrating, feeling overwhelmed, erratic eating, and a loss of interest in activities or personal appearance. Each and every time I trekked to the mailbox at noon still wearing my robe and two day stubble I felt the need to remind everyone I encountered that I had not given up on life, just uninterrupted sleep.

2. I am fairly certain that the most traumatic aspect of my son’s circumcision was my unskilled attempt to remove his bandage. For whatever reason, the physician had affixed his bandages using an alpine butterfly knot and cautioned us that if we met any resistance in its removal to “apply a little water.” I am here to tell you that I came close to water-boarding his waist and that bandage was not going anywhere. I felt that like an Egyptian archeologist attempting to unravel a mummified frankfurter.

3. Diaper reward programs are borderline insulting. I signed up for both Pampers and Huggies “rewards” which involves divulging personal information and then entering a series of cryptic codes hidden on somewhere on the packaging. I spent $45 on diapers and I have now earned the ability to be entered in a drawing to win a pack of crayons. Not crayons; a chance to win crayons. I am used to being slighted, but I rarely have to complete a form and enter a 14-digit code to earn the privilege. The good news is that after a few more children we might become the proud owners of a $25 gift certificate to Starbucks.

4. No topic is off-limits in a pediatrician’s waiting room. On our second visit, I heard two total strangers go from polite introductions to breast firmness within the span of about fifty seconds. Apparently woman A had experienced a severe case of mastitis with her first child which resulted in the surgical draining of some fluid. Conversely, woman B’s milk ducts function like a Wisconsin dairy farm. And while I am on the subject of pediatrician waiting rooms, does anyone else find it perplexing that the online only self-diagnostic juggernaut has begun publishing actual magazines? Given the current trend toward a paperless society this seems like a regressive business model. Would anyone visit a website called

5. Trimming my son’s fingernails is terrifying. I feel like a bomb technician because each time I cut one I close my eyes and hope that a loud noise doesn’t follow.

6. If there is an inexhaustible resource in this world, it is unsolicited parenting advice. This is a double-edged sword, because with a first child you need all the advice that you can get but no one seems to agree on any of it.

  • You should never wake a sleeping baby under any circumstance. Unless you are trying to enforce specific sleeping/eating habits in which case they should be awakened every three hours.

  • A small amount of baby powder is essential to preventing diaper rash and should be applied at each change. Unless the child inhales it in which case they will develop mesothelioma and be unable to conjugate verbs.

  • You should always warm your baby’s bottle to room temperature. Unless you wish to prevent unnecessarily-picky eating habits in which case you should give to them cold.

  • A two week old child’s stomach cannot hold more than three ounces. Unless they are eating more than three ounces at a time.

7. There is nothing like having your infant smile at you, especially once you realize that the smile is an involuntary reaction to the evacuation of their bowels and not an indication of their psychological well-being.

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