Sunday, December 18, 2011

You're not a real parent until you take a mouthful of mashed peas to the face

Junior has been doing solid food for over two months now but he hasn't gotten any better at it.

Now that he has teeth, he likes to chomp down on the spoon and not let go, so we spend most of feeding time trying to pry the spoon out of his mouth.

But his favorite thing to do lately is get a big mouthful of something and sneeze, spraying it all over whoever is feeding him. Especially if we are planning to go out afterward. Especially if I'm the one feeding him. When Junior sees us wearing clean clothes, he sees them as a fresh new canvas.

Doing laundry is kind of like strolling through a baby art museum: “And here we see a white dress shirt from Junior's Carrot Period. As we move through this wing you will see the museum's exclusive collection of green bean neck ties. And next we will see the 'Pants With Spit Up On The Crotch' exhibit.”

Junior also likes to paint himself. Here are some of Junior's looks:

I'm not doing so well with solid food myself. I'm eating too much of it, and Christmas time is a terrible time for trying to eat in moderation. The Top Christmas Activities are: 1. Eating and 2. Taking Pictures, a terrible combination for one's self esteem.

At my job someone has put chocolates and cookies in just about every available room: the mail room, the copier room, the break room, the front desk.

I hope Santa Claus brings me willpower for Christmas.

Anyone else having problems feeding baby? Or feeding themselves? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Worst Christmas Songs EVER

It's Christmas time and I'm hearing a lot of Christmas music, and not all of it is good. I put together a panel consisting of me, my wife and Brennan and Sara of Stop Their Frequency to determine the worst Christmas songs of all time. We found that terrible Christmas songs generally fall into the following three categories:

1. No effort
2. Creepy
3. Annoying

No effort: These songs are terrible because of the lack of effort or caring on the part of the artists. These artists simply just phone in a generic substandard song, slap a “Christmas” label on it and then kick back and wait for the money to start rolling in. Take Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” with its idiotic lyrics and mind numbing repetition. Sir Paul should be ashamed of himself for selling people rubbish songs under the guise of Christmas music. He’s a knight for crying out loud! The same goes for “Christmastime” by Smashing Pumpkins: same stupidity and repetition, plus the song is creepier than Jacob Marley's ghost thanks to the ghoulish voice of Billy Corgan.

Creepy: A lot of terrible Christmas songs fall into this category. The first that comes to mind is “Baby, It's Cold Outside,” also known as “The Date Rape Song.” If you don't believe us, just look at the lyrics. The guy is pouring her drinks and persuading her to stay, and the woman finally catches on and asks, “Say, what's in this drink?” Ah, Christmas.

A surefire way to get your song onto the “creepy” list is to place Santa Claus into some kinky holiday scenario. “Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin'” and “Backdoor Santa” are just two examples of these.

Annoying: “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” is a perfect example. Did it need to be written? No. How did it get popular? No idea. Does it hurt your spine every time you hear it? Yes. Will you hear it at least one million times during the Christmas season? Certainly.

Then there's “Mele Kalikimaka,” which might be a little more palatable if it was written – or ever sung – by actual Hawaiians. Cloying, slightly racist, and repetitive to boot. Fly to Hawaii right now and comb every island and I am pretty sure you will not find one native Hawaiian singing “Mele Kalikimaka.”

Christmas Shoes” rounds out the Annoying list for being didactic in the extreme. It takes a boy buying his dying mother some shoes on Christmas Eve to teach the singer the true meaning of Christmas? Come on.

What does your list of Worst Christmas Songs look like? Leave it in a comment if you please.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Our vegas vacation

Before TMZ breaks the story I want to clear the air: I allowed some nude photos to be taken of me recently, but it never would have happened if the Transportation Security Administration wasn't racist.

That's right, I got full body scanned. I've never had to go through a full body scanner before, but this past weekend my wife and I flew to Las Vegas and airport security were full body scanning everyone with even remotely brown skin. This was our first time flying together and my wife is Latina, so I was guilty by association. They took one look at her and herded both of us through the full body scanner. I had never been scanned before but my wife said she gets scanned almost every time. As I sat putting my shoes and belt back on I watched the people that were getting scanned and they all happened to be minorities or people traveling with minorities, like myself. And if you had any kind of head covering or long beard, they swabbed all of your personal items for traces of explosives.

The TSA might have nude pictures of me and my wife, but the joke is on them because I snuck .6 extra ounces of contact solution onto the plane. We eventually made it Vegas, stayed for two nights and had the time of our lives. We left our baby with his maternal grandparents, so we got a full night's sleep for the first time in six months (longer for my wife). It was beautiful. I almost cried.

The second night we hit all these destinations:

That's A through L, friends. We were party animals and stayed out all night. This means the we've still got it. We're still cool. We're not succumbing to being old, boring parents.

That's a nice idea but truth be told we didn't mean to stay out all night. We just got lost and by the time we found our way back to the hotel it was time to go to the airport.

Does anyone else have cool vacation plans? Had any run-ins with the TSA?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

"It's always something"

Whenever things are going badly my mom always says, “Well, it's always something.” It's kind of her mantra.

She explains it like this: “Say your car is broken. Once you get your car fixed then your roof will be leaking. Once you get the roof fixed then your kid will be throwing up. And if your kid isn't throwing up then you need to go try and start your car 'cause it's probably broken again. That's life.”

I used to think she was just old and cynical, but now I'm starting to suspect she's right. For example, Junior had just started to sleep longer at night but this week he started teething and he's up all night again.

We couldn't figure out why he wouldn't sleep at first but then he started to show other symptoms of teething. For one, he started drooling enough gallons per hour to power a hydroelectric dam. Next, he developed an insatiable appetite for human flesh, a deep love of biting anyone who got within 20 feet of him, especially me. Once we had ruled out the possibility of him being a baby zombie, we put two and two together.

All of this makes me realize that he's getting older, and fast. Sometimes he will give me a stern look and he reminds me of my father-in-law. Granted, they do share a lot of genes, but it's still freaky.

He's also starting solid food. It wasn't easy at first, but it's getting better. Now I can feed him about a half bottle of baby food in one sitting. I feel pretty good until I realize most of the food ended up on the outside of him and me. These days I wear sweet potato colored clothing so when he inevitably spits all over me it doesn't show up so much. My kid can make a mouthful of pureed vegetables go pretty far.

All this growing up makes my wife sad, but I don't mind. She's worried about missing all his cute little baby moments but I'm like, “Psh, let's skip to the part where he sleeps through the night.”

But then we're back to “It's always something” because I'm sure that once he sleeps through the night he'll start doing something else that makes us lose sleep. Before too long I'll have to give him “the talk,” which I am not looking forward to. 

I guess it's OK if he stays a baby a little longer.

Anyone have any philosophies about wishing time away? Or know how to handle teething, carnivorous babies? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Numi Numi

The other night Wifey was watching TV when she suddenly fell out of her chair cackling like an escaped mental patient. “This is it,” I thought. “She's finally lost it. Motherhood and being married to me have finally driven her over the edge.”

But when she finally calmed down (and it took a long time) she explained that she was laughing about a commercial for a “super toilet.” I watched the commercial myself and I had to agree that it was hilarious and a bit creepy.

Just hanging out with our toilet.

 It's hilarious because the advertisers have gone to great lengths to make the toilet look sexy. That's right. And they even gave it a name. It's called “Numi.” Do toilets normally have names? Model numbers, maybe, but names?

Robots in disguise.

It's creepy because it's essentially a robot. It looks like a small, unassuming white porcelain box but when you get close it senses your presence and transforms like Optimus Prime into a full-size toilet. I'm uncomfortable with something that sophisticated in my bathroom. It's only a matter of time until it becomes self aware and leads the other robot toilets in a cybernetic restroom revolt, and I don't want to be sitting on it when it does.

Also, it's just so darn considerate. When it senses you coming it remembers how warm you like the toilet seat and heats the seat up for you. And when you're sitting on the toilet it blows warm air on your feet. It remembers your birthday and asks about your day. It's as if your best friend got on an evil wizard's bad side and was turned into a robot toilet.

And what bothers me the most is it's just so... frivolous. For example, it plays music. I don't know where the sound comes from, though, and I don't really want to. You can also create playlists, so you can have a mix for #1 and #2. And it'll only run you $6400.

I guess rich people have bought everything imaginable and have run out of things to spend money on.

What do you think of "Numi?" Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween is Junior's time to shine

Halloween is a new parent's favorite holiday for lots of reasons.

You get to take your already adorable child and dress him up in a cute little costume that multiplies his adorableness factor by one million. I don't know what it is about a miniature costume but it can turn an ugly baby into a cute one and a cute baby into a devastatingly attractive one.

And then – once your child has reached the pinnacle of cuteness - you get show him off to everyone in the neighborhood. Everyone knows a new parent likes nothing better than to show off his baby to assert that his baby is the cutest.

When you're a new parent out with your baby and you run into another parent with his baby it turns into a kind of baby battle. You ask how old the opposing baby is and exchange some small talk but really you're just trying to determine whose baby is cuter. It's like a baby turf war, and the winner gets to say, “Take your dumpy baby and get out of here! And I don't want to see you in the cereal aisle ever again!”

And let me just make it very clear that our kid is the epitome of adorability. If you want to challenge us you had better have a darn cute baby. Some of these kids are like bringing a knife to gun fight. “All of your genes and this is the best you could come up with?” I sneer at rival parents. “Come on! Give us a challenge.”

Halloween costumes make babies cuter, but they don't have the same effect on adults. Even so, there are a bunch of adults who still love to dress up and they get super annoyed with those who don't. I fall into the latter group, but my boss is adamantly pro-costume. She was totally scandalized when she found out I wasn't dressing up and told me so.

I don't have anything against adults dressing up, but personally I don't have any reason to dress up anymore. I'm grown and I can buy candy.

Do you dress up for Halloween as an adult? If you have a baby, what are you dressing him or her up as? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Still ballin' like a mother and father

We've been in our new apartment now for almost one month and I've decided it might not be as classy as I first thought. Here's how I know:

Everyone has a pit bull except us. I don't know what it is that makes people who live in ridiculously small apartments want to get huge, potentially vicious dogs but our complex is crawling with them. I think there are more pit bulls than people that live here. According to the census the pit bull to human ratio is approximately seven to one in our complex.

The other day two pit bulls belonging to two separate owners got into a fight with a homeless lady who takes naps on the apartment lawn. I wasn't sure what it was about but I think they ganged up on her to try and steal the Filet of Fish sandwich she was eating. When the dust had cleared two pit bulls with one half of a Filet of Fish each were seen hurriedly leaving the scene before anyone had a chance to call animal control and the homeless woman hasn't been seen since. Hopefully she has found more hospitable lawns to nap upon.

Then we have our next door neighbor who I have affectionately dubbed “Super Bass.” Nuclear missiles could be falling on a marching band riding Harley Davidsons outside but we wouldn't be able to hear it over the sound of his music. It rattles dishes off the shelf, knocks pictures off the wall and wakes the baby.

Underneath us lives a sweet old cat lady. She's cute because every day she gets on her bike and wobbles off to goodness knows where with two or more cats following along behind her. This was all very precious until one fateful day in the complex laundromat when I accidentally used the dryer after her and all our clothes smelled like a cat convention. Now you will see me carefully sniffing the inside of each dryer before I put any clothes in.

It's not all bad, though. We have a 24-hour doughnut place within a mile from our apartment and... OK, that's also a bad thing. I fear we're becoming regulars, and every time I go in and try to order a few doughnuts they try to talk me into getting a dozen. They always say, “It's only a few dollars more, sir. It's a much better value, sir.” And then I say, “Yeah, but are you going to wake me up tomorrow morning and make me go jogging? Are you gonna buy me some sweat pants when the rest of my pants stop fitting? Then get control of that doughnut enthusiasm, please.”

All this aside, we're very happy here. The main perk of living in our new place is that the complex basketball court is situated right behind our apartment. Whenever we're bored we go and shoot some hoops, but inevitably a bunch of teenagers come and hover around waiting for us to leave. We always invite them to join our game, but so far they never have.

I guess they think a game of “Horse” with a baby in a baby carrier strapped to an overweight white guy and his 4'10” wife is not enough of a challenge.

Anybody have strange or loud neighbors? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Glorious Tales of Parent Derring-Do

I’ve only been a parent for a short amount of time but it hasn’t taken me long to decide the following: Old school parents are the worst.

“Old school parents” are any parents who have been parenting longer than you have and think they have the right and social responsibility to drown you in unwanted parenting advice. Their advice always heavily implies that you’re only having problems simply because you’re doing it wrong. The way to solve all of your problems is to simply listen to the sage wisdom they are always bestowing upon you without being asked.

Old school parents love to ask you about your parenting problems. They don't care about your parenting problems, but they do want to hear them so they can top them with their own glorious tales of parent derring-do.

Old school parent: “So are you having any problems with Junior?”

Me: “Well he's really fussy and wakes up a lot in the night.”

Old school parent: “Ha! Try having three kids in diapers, two in elementary school, three in junior high, three in high school, two in college and one living in your basement playing World of Warcraft all day and mooching all your money. Now that's tough!”

Me: “Wait, so you have, like, 14 kids? I thought you had two.”

Old school parent: “How dare you question me, Mr. One Child!”

But even worse than old school parents are non-parents. I need parenting advice from people who have never been parents like I need a black market colonoscopy that is performed in a dark alley. First and foremost, the advice is useless, and second, it's insulting. Someone who has never had children giving advice to someone who has children is as absurd as me trying to give advice to a racehorse on how he might win the Kentucky Derby. 
It pains me to say it but I fear that in the past when I had no kids I may have given out unsolicited, useless parenting advice. I apologize, and knowing what I know now I want to go back in time and beat my past self with a copy of What to Expect When You're Expecting.

If you ever find yourself starting a sentence like this, “I don't have any kids of my own but I think you should...” stop talking immediately.

What do you say to politely tell people you don't really need their opinion on your child? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cookie monster is my alter ego

I ran into a friend at the store the other day and he was like, “I haven’t seen you in ages! Did you fall off the face of the earth?” I explained to my friend that I hadn’t but I had been blessed with a new baby, which is about the same as falling off the face of the earth in terms of how much social interaction you have.

My curious friend wanted to know what I’ve been up to besides baby wrangling and the following is what I told him. I apologize in advance because it all feels a bit rant-y. Maybe I should start one of those YouTube rant vlogs, where I just look into the camera and say stuff like, “You know what I hate? Leprechauns.”

First, I lost a tube of Chapstick and I'm afraid of where it will show up, most of all that it will find its way into the dryer with my clothes. When I was younger we would wash all the kids’ clothes together. I have a lot of brothers and sisters so when the laundry was done, we’d inevitably find that someone had left Chapstick, pens or gum in their pockets. We'd all accuse each other with no way of telling who the real culprit was but ultimately we spent a good portion of our childhoods walking around looking like squid attack victims, the undersides of school lunchroom tables and wax statue death scenes.

In other news, I took the GRE last week. This means that I spent all last month studying which means I have a bunch of overly large vocabulary words in my head. This also means I accidentally use them in casual conversation unnecessarily and end up sounding like a pretentious jerk. Or should I say a magniloquent fustian profligate.

Also, we moved into a new apartment and I have high hopes for our new place. I think we’ve moved up in the world because our neighbors have doormats, and everyone knows that doormats are a sign of civility and sophistication. Nobody had doormats at our old complex because they always got stolen. The downside to the new place is that all of the lights on our landing are burned out and maintenance is taking their sweet time to put in new ones. It’s pitch black when I get home at night and a whole gang of thieves could hide out there and I wouldn’t even know it. They could jump out and steal both dollars that are in my wallet and I couldn’t do a thing about it.

And finally, does anyone know what has happened to all the Double Stuf Oreos? I went to the store and when they didn’t have any I about choked a guy. I was livid. I’ve checked a couple of places now and I haven’t seen them. I’ve only seen Football shaped Oreos and orange-y Halloween Oreos and I have use for neither. Have Double Stufs been discontinued? They better not have been, or Nabisco is going have a bunch of angry fatties like myself storming their corporate headquarters demanding their second Stuf. I’ve already made my picket sign.

It says: “One Stuf is not Enuf.”

For reals: Is anyone else having problems finding Double Stuf Oreos? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

I colic like I see it

I’ve been trying to sit down and write for a while now but I’m losing the ability to string thoughts and words together in a coherent manner. Have you ever had a car that needed a tune up real bad? That’s my brain right now. It won’t start, it coughs, it backfires, and it stalls out at awkward times.

A big part of my mental decline is lack of sleep. Since Junior is three months old, that means I haven’t gotten a good nights sleep in over three months. No wonder I’m a mess. I should be grateful because it’s been even longer for my wife. I was sleeping like a narcoleptic rock the whole time she was pregnant and tossing and turning.

The main reason is that Junior loves to scream. Loves it. If he had an eHarmony profile it would say, “My name is Junior and I like long walks on the beach, pooping and screaming inconsolably for extended periods of time for no discernible reason.” We calculated it and he spends about 75 percent of his waking hours screaming bloody murder, 15 percent eating and the remaining 10 percent being adorable.

We don't know exactly why Junior is so screamy because he is in really good health. We decided to feed him the devil’s elixir and he is gaining weight like a champ. The doctor said he probably has “colic” and went on to explain that colic is a condition where a baby is in a foul mood and screams a lot for no reason, and doctors don't have an explanation for it and there's not really any treatment either.

My first thought was: In a foul mood and screaming for no reason? I know a lot of adults with colic. My  second thought was: Lamest diagnosis EVER! Fortunately the doctor assured us that it would last only four to six months.

Four to six months? I don’t know if I can make it that long, doc! There's supposed to be no treatment but we'll try anything for five minutes of peace and quiet. “Give your baby a shot of vodka.” OK. "Strap your baby to the roof of your car and drive real fast.” Sure thing.

We've started using gas drops and they help some but the last time we went to the store they were out. We spotted some organic herbal vegan gas drops and bought them in desperation. We might as well have been giving him sausage gravy mixed with grape Kool Aid for all the good the organic herbal vegan drops did him. Stupid hippies.

And then I made a weird discovery a few nights ago. Junior was screeching away and nothing I was doing was helping. I had stuff to do so I just set him in his swing and started cleaning. As soon as I switched on the vacuum cleaner he passed right out. I was so excited I felt like I had discovered electricity. I immediately recorded myself vacuuming for a while and then burned it onto a CD. Now we play “Hoover's Greatest Hits” for him.

Babies should come with warning labels that say, “SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Babies are 90% work and only 10% fun. Please reproduce responsibly.”

How is my work to cuteness ratio? Is it accurate? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Saving money and looking foolish

I just got my hair cut at the local beauty college for $2 and I definitely got what I paid for. Now my hair looks like this:

It all started with me getting a sweet job transfer. Starting this week I get to do my same job, but at a different office that is 50 miles closer to my house. That means no more commute! So I am pretty happy and I wanted to look all clean and make a good first impression when I start at my new office.

Since our baby has been born money has been tight so I went to the local beauty college for “$2 Tuesday.” That was a mistake. “$2 Tuesdays” are fine for fried chicken and getting into the zoo, but when it comes to haircuts I now know it's best not to skimp.

When I first walked in the first thing I saw was about 10 severed heads mounted on tripods. I was startled and thought I had accidentally stumbled into the camp of a tribe of headhunting barbers. Each severed head had immaculate hair and and upon closer inspection I realized they were mannequin heads. The students used them to practice hairstyling when real people weren't around, I was told later. Nevertheless, it was still very unsettling and made the place feel like some kind of Haunted Supercuts.

Maybe the woman who cut my hair just misunderstood what I said. Perhaps the haircut I wanted was lost in translation because describing what you want in a haircut is hard. I've thought about bringing in a picture but that makes me feel like a metro diva.

I thought about getting out the clippers and trying to even it up myself. I think I'd end up having to buzz most of it off to get it even, and my wife said it would be better for me to look like a dork on my first day than a skinhead.

Ultimately, getting your hair cut at a beauty college is kind of like gambling. Sometimes you win and you get your hair cut by the school valedictorian, and sometimes you lose and get the class clown.

Anyone else had problems getting a decent haircut?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Money worries

When I was in college, I wanted to save the world and I chose my major accordingly. Unfortunately, it turns out saving the world doesn’t pay all that well.

Everyone warned me that I would be broke but I didn’t listen. “It’s ok, man,” I’d tell them. “I’m from the suburbs, I went to college and I listen to all this political music, man. The feeling of helping other people and contributing to a cause is worth more than money to me, man. My ideals and self-righteousness will pay my bills. My hybrid car doesn’t use much gas, either. I don’t eat meat, which saves a lot of money.”

I knew the field I had chosen paid very little, but I didn’t realize just how little. When you’re an undergrad student trying to plan for a career and an academic advisor tells you that you’ll probably be making around X dollars per year, it doesn’t really mean a whole lot to you. Such numbers are very abstract to a college student who has been working part-time and paying for everything with student loans and credit cards. My advisor might’ve told me how many honeydew melons and hockey pucks my salary would buy and it would’ve meant about the same to me.

Now I’m out in the cold cruel Real World. I don't have much money, and the everyone is after the money I do have. It's like my wallet has a bullseye on it or something. For instance, the air conditioning in my car broke right as summer was really heating up. I got it looked at and it would cost $1,000 to fix, which means I now drive with the windows down. Apparently car air conditioner parts are made out of gold, diamonds and caviar.

And the organization who wants my money the worst is my health insurance company. Those people don’t want to cover anything, and then I wind up on the “customer care” hotline arguing charges with them.

“I see here that during labor your wife drank an apple juice,” they say. “And your current plan only covers orange juice.”

“Ok, fine,” I sigh. “But I see here on my bill that I was also charged for an orange juice.”

“That’s because after labor your wife also had an orange juice with pulp,” they reply. “Pulp, sir. We do not cover pulp of any kind. You should know that, it's explicitly stated on an obscure benefits information page on our website that you'll never be able to find.”

“Ok, fine,” I concede. “How much are the two juices going to cost me?”



“Per juice. Now about these other charges...”

So forth an so on until I got so tired of fighting them that I agreed to have all of my paychecks direct deposited to my insurance company until Junior turns 18.

I’m not sure I'm going to do, but I think I need to switch careers and get into the health insurance business.

Anyone else finding that their ideals are not paying the the bills? Suggestions on how to actually make some good money? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Our baby is the lightweight champion of the world

Things are going well for us these days except the doctor says Junior is too small and is not gaining weight fast enough. We're doing the best we can but the doctor chastised us like we are stopping our child from gaining weight on purpose, like we have him on some kind of baby Hollywood Summer Beach Body diet cleanse or got him baby lipo.

The doctor told us to basically feed him as much as he wants whenever he wants, and I'd love to be in his place. My doctor, on the other hand, is telling me I need to lose weight. When I mention to people that my baby is small and having trouble gaining weight, they look me up and down and their eyes fill with skepticisim. I keep telling Junior that this is pretty much the only time in his life that people will be telling him to gain as much weight as possible and he should take advantage of it.

Now we're constantly worried if he's getting enough to eat and we constantly want to weigh him to see if he's gaining weight. We don't have a scale so we thought about weighing him on a produce scale at the neighborhood grocery store. It would be hard to do, but my wife could create a distraction so the other customers wouldn't notice me putting a naked infant into the produce scale and start to protest. "I can't weigh my kumquats in there now!"

After much consideration we decided against it because it didn't seem like the most sanitary idea for our baby and for the people who might use the scale afterward.

The tricky thing is that the doctor is telling us to give him formula to supplement the breastmilk, but the lactation consultant is telling us that our baby would be better served by a quart of 10W-30 motor oil because formula is the devil in lactic form, a wolf in milk's clothing. What is a parent to do? Who do we believe?

Ultimately I decided to feed him a lot of Double Stuf Oreos and let him watch too much Netflix because I have found quite a bit of success gaining weight by this method.

Any thoughts on formula, for or against? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How did we get here?

Junior is one month old tomorrow and we are finally getting into the groove of our new parental lifestyle. We understand that every two hours we have to drop everything and attend to the needs of this five pound party-crasher who is now running the show.

We're realizing sleep is a thing of the past and are getting used to walking around like Mom and Dad of the Dead. By now I could probably sleep until 2017 no problem if I just had some quiet.

We know that stress and worry come with the territory. We're always worrying: Is he eating enough? Is he sleeping enough? Is he supposed to poop that much or is there something wrong with his baby bowels? 

We also know that our full-time job is essentially putting stuff into our baby and then cleaning up what comes out. I swear way more comes out than goes in. Our life is full of the Three Ps of Parenting: pee, poop and puke.

Diaper changing is a combination of art form and competitive sport. Once that diaper is open it's a race against time to get him cleaned off and put another diaper on before he pees all over everything within a 20 foot radius. It's so intense that I feel like I'm defusing a bomb, and sometimes I know I'm not gonna make it in time. Knowing the inevitable, I plead with him like I'm at gunpoint: “You don't have to do this! Just point that somewhere else and we'll talk this over.” But you can't negotiate with a loaded baby.

Keeping our baby clean is like playing “Whack-a-Mole.” Once we get one excretion cleaned up, another one pops up. For instance, the other day I was changing his diaper. I was slow on the draw and he peed all over himself. I picked him up and bathed him but he pooped in the towel when I was drying him off. I bathed him again and he puked all over himself during drying. I cleaned up the puke and started to put a diaper on him only to have him pee all over himself again.

At this point I demanded that my wife tell me why we had wanted to have a baby in the first place. She said she couldn't remember.

Did anyone else have a hard time with the transition? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

No sleep 'til FOREVER

Dasd asdlasd kad asl vzxpq mrf mrf mrf yowp. Nurf blat asid meeeeefrof tootledofflo.Mijmaxd.

That's all that came out when I tried to write about our son in the first week after he was born. Sleep deprivation is a scary thing, man.

Where to begin? I guess let me say first that some people in the medical profession are angels, and others are the exact opposite. I've speculated about the nature of hell in the past, but now I know for certain that the innermost circle of hell is being stuck in a hospital.

And not to be cheesy but my wife weathered the whole delivery ordeal like a champ. I was in awe of her courage.

I had some serious buyer's remorse in the first few days. Many and crazy were the thoughts that ran through my fevered brain. Maybe there is a return policy, I thought frantically. We kept the receipt and he's barely been used, they'll take him back. Or maybe we can exchange him for one that sleeps.

I slept so little that I felt like a tortured prisoner at Guantanamo Bay. Did you know that a baby can be dry, fed, clean and burped and still inexplicably screech bloody murder all night long? On a baby crying scale from 1 to 10 (1 being a whimper and 10 being a vocal-cord-shredding blood-curdling wake-the-dead shriek) our baby will go from sleeping peacefully to a 10 instantly for no apparent reason. My nerves are shot.

Your mother and I had a pretty good thing going before you got here,” I told him one night at 4 a.m. “We were nice and invited you here and you're technically our guest so you should really be on your best behavior. We gave you life and the least you could do is show a little appreciation and go to sleep!

Babies are a lot of things of but reasonable is not one of them.

Everyone told us how hard it was going to be and we listened carefully and tried to prepare ourselves. But nothing can really prepare you for how hard it really is, except actually having a baby, but by then you're locked into an 18 year minimum commitment.

It's not all stressful. We, like, love him and stuff. We're happy he's here. He's also kind of cute, although at this stage he's still a little wrinkly. He looks kind of like a cross between an old man, Yoda and a gnome, in the most adorable way possible.

Anyone have advice for a new father? Had a rough time with your first baby? Leave a comment if you please.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ready or not, here I come

So the doctors think Junior is taking too long and my wife is scheduled to be induced tonight.

On the upside we know exactly when my wife will start labor, and an approximate range of time when she'll deliver. It’s like “Baby-On-Demand.”

On the downside we know that for this new part of our lives to start, the old, semi-carefree part has to come to an end. It's just hard to say goodbye to some of the things we've grown accustomed to that will be going away, such as: money, sleeping, time alone together, etc. Now we’ll have to reference everything as B.B. (Before Baby Era) and A.B. (After Baby Era).

For one last hurrah we went out and ate at one of our favorite places because we know with surety that our time as amateur foodies is coming to an abrupt and violent end once the baby is here. We did the math and all of our money that is not going to paying hospital bills will be going to pay for diapers.

Next, we went to the arcade with some friends, won a bunch of tickets and scored some sweet mood rings. We put them on and the color on both rings was stuck between “happy” and “despair.” Spot on.

Don't misunderstand: we're super happy and excited, but every time a new part of my life starts I have to whine about how “the good times are over!” It's what I do.

There are tons of things I'm looking forward to, though. I get to play with all his toys and teach him manly skills like unstopping toilets, changing car oil and firesetting.

And there will be other opportunities for me. I've already mentioned how my wife feels about drugs: she loves them. The pregnancy kind, that is. (She would want me to specify that.) She is eager to take as many as she can get her hands on during the delivery, so afterward she'll be a bit fuzzy and I'm going to trick her into all kinds of things.

I'm definitely gonna ask her if I can buy a motorcycle and she'll probably say yes. You might think it's messed up to trick your wife when she's at her most vulnerable, but she has refused to let me buy one when she's sober and doesn't understand that speed (and speeding tickets) are in my blood. She says I can buy one if she gets to do something equally dangerous as motorcycle riding, such as intravenous drug use with shared needles or bear wrestling.

We're headed into the hospital right now. I though about tweeting a labor play-by-play at @ourbabyisbetterthanyourbaby, but I think my wife would get annoyed.

You're doing great, babe, keep pushing! I'll be right back after I post an update and some pictures!”

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Baby is on his way and hopefully he's not ugly

Our baby will be popping out any minute now and consequently my wife and I are freaking out.

It doesn't help any that he keeps flipping back and forth. He thinks he's some kind of eggplant-sized gymnast in there. Sometimes we go into the midwife and she says, “He's head down, you're good!” and the next time she's saying, “He's breech and you're gonna need a cesarean.” He is grounded the minute he comes out for all the stress he's caused us. This kid is ornery, and I know exactly where he gets it from: his mother.

And speaking of his mother: she is dying to meet him. Most of all she wants to see what he looks like. She is consumed with an unhealthy curiosity about this, and admit I am a little interested myself.

For one, we're not sure how tall the baby will be. My wife is 4'10” (she tries to add on some fractions but don't you believe it) and I'm 6'2”.

My wife is also worried that the baby will be ugly, but I keep telling her that if the baby is in fact ugly, we will be the last ones to know. Every couple thinks their baby is the cutest and most adorable, which is a result of evolutionary processes that help the human race survive. I guess a species is less likely to eat their young if they are too busy showing baby pictures to everyone.

I've also heard there are other evolutionary processes at work. A baby looks like the father for the first few months and this makes the father more likely to stick around and provide for the baby. Men are pretty vain, I guess. And if it looks like him, he knows the kid is his. Sounds like men are insecure as well.

Anyway, my wife was so curious that she uploaded pictures of the two of us into a sketchy, virus-ridden website that claimed it could show us what our baby will look like. I had a bad feeling about the whole business, and not just because of all the pop-ups.

“No good will come of this,” I warned.

But my wife is terminally stubborn and did it anyway. Soon there appeared on the screen an image so inhuman and horrifying that it looked like a cross between an evil gnome and Steven Tyler. I'd post it here but after seeing it my wife and I fled in terror and haven't been back to our apartment since.

Ultimately, I'm fairly certain this kid will will be ridiculously attractive. I mean, look at his parents. Hottest. Couple. Ever.

Has anyone else tried those babymaker websites? Don't lie! Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Down with disposable diapers

 Babies are cool in theory but when it comes right down to the gory process of getting one here my wife and I start to freak out. Our baby is going to be born in one month and to help us be less nervous about the delivery we enrolled in a childbirth class and so far it has been educational.

More or less.

Our class is taught by two hippie doulas and we suspected things were going to be a little “different” when they showed up to class with plastic baby dolls strapped to themselves by way of awkward baby slings. We were right. The class consists of approximately 75 percent good information and about 25 percent hippie agenda.

For example, in Class #3 they were telling the women that in order to have a successful delivery they must give themselves positive affirmations like, “I will stretch beautifully.” That’s what they said! I had to try so hard not to laugh out loud that I think I strained something.

Class #2 was basically a doula advertisement. Our teachers love to state “facts” without citing any sources, such as “Having a doula with you at your delivery decreases your risk of a cesarean by 50 percent.” I can accept that but who says? What study? What peer-reviewed journal was it published in? They never say. And then they say, “My business cards are on the table if you want to reduce your risk of cesarean. For a small fee of $900.”

They are huge proponents of “natural” childbirth and speak of epidurals and any other drugs other than marijuana with barely-restrained contempt. It’s the twenty-first century and if we have the drugs to stop pain, I think it’s OK to use them. It’s like a guy about to get his appendix cut out saying, “I don’t want any anesthesia ‘cause I want to experience it, man.”

They’ve also said that disposable diapers are the new bottled water and back that claim up with more mystery stats such as “25 percent of landfills are made up of disposable diapers.” My wife and I agreed that we are not about to fool around with cloth diapers. My wife suggested we counter their argument with some imaginary data of our own, such as “The water used to wash cloth diapers displaces 2 million baby seals every month” or “90 percent of cloth diapers are woven and sewn in sweatshops by children who have never been hugged. Ever.”

I love the environment, but the environment is gonna have to take one for the team on this one.

Don’t get me wrong. I sometimes shop at Trader Joe’s. I enjoy organic produce. I burn some incense every now and again. I’m as liberal as the next white kid from the suburbs who went to college.

But I think some of these new school hippies seriously need to chill.

Has anyone else had adventures in baby class? Any opinions on doulas, cloth diapers or natural childbirth? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Oh, it burns!

My wife and I just celebrated an anniversary, and even though things are going well I have noticed a few differences between she and I that cause us to have “discussions.”

1. The sun. My wife can be outside all day in the middle of summer and she gets a beautiful tan with no ill effects. Not so with me. The other day we went on a picnic and I realized I forgot to bring a hat or sunscreen so I started to panic.

“We have to find some shade quick!” I said anxiously. “Hurry, give me your shirt and let me put it over my head!”

We had only been out for 30 minutes, which for me is about 29 minutes too long. I had already started to blister, burn and peel. My wife could hardly comprehend it.

2. The Thermostat Wars. My wife likes it at a muggy 82º, while I prefer a cool 66º. I'm not sure why we have a 16 degree temperature gap. I can only think of two possible explanations: I'm fatter than she is, and my ancestors come from cold snowy climates while hers come from warm tropical ones.

3. The kind of dead animals we will and won't eat. I love friend chicken but my wife can't eat it because it comes on the bone. However, she can sit in a seafood restaurant with a huge smile on her face and dismember a crab with little metal implements. This is very disturbing to me because it's like she's performing and autopsy on the crab.

“The victim was killed by getting boiled alive, cracked open and having all of his innards scooped out by a little tiny fork and sprinkled with lemon juice. We're dealing with a very disturbed killer!”

4. Preparedness. My wife likes to prepare for things waaaaaaaaay in advance, and I like to take things as they come a.k.a. procrastinate. As I've mentioned, we're expecting a baby so my wife sent me a link to pictures of the 31 flavors of baby poop and detailed descriptions of what each specific type says about your baby's health.

I was understandably horrified, but my wife said sternly, “We need to know this stuff.” I love my wife but I am not about to memorize the different colors and shapes of baby poop. I'll worry about that when the baby gets here.

5. School. I hated college, and when I graduated I didn't even stick around for the graduation ceremony. My wife loved college, and wishes she could go back. When fall rolls around and all the stores are full of school supplies, my wife just sighs and gazes longingly at the protractors and notebooks. I think that's just perverted and sick.

However, despite our small differences, we are still having lots of fun. Hopefully the baby coming doesn't mess that up.

Anyone else have funny spouse/partner differences? Leave a comment if you please.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Fried chicken butter pizza

I just turned 29 and since that is just one year away from The Big 3-0, I went in for a checkup. My doctor looked at me like a veterinarian looks at a horse with a broken leg. The prognosis was – unsurprisingly – not good.

I know I've gained a little weight recently. My wife also says it's normal for a husband to gain weight during his wife's pregnancy, but I suspect she is only trying to make me feel better. Why my wife's pregnancy would make me get fatter is anyone's guess. Perhaps it is because on any given evening you can find us driving around town on a quest to find some random food that she is craving, and when she is eating cheeseburgers, potato chips or banana popsicles, a few might accidentally make their way into my mouth through no fault of my own. It can't be helped.

Whatever the reason, it got me sent to the “Nutrition and Exercise Counselor,” which felt a lot like getting sent to the principal's office. I'm grown and not in elementary school anymore, but I was similarly terrified. She clucked to herself while reading my charts and I cowered in a chair across the desk from her.

“Do you know why you're here today?” she asked eventually.

“I'm fat?” I ventured.

“Right. I can tell from your blood work that you don’t exercise at all.”

“That’s not true!” I protested.

“Moving hand to mouth doesn’t count as ‘exercise.’”

Oooooh she was evil. But she was right. Next she told me that what I was eating was also part of the problem.

“For example, how often do you eat pizza?” she said.

“Once a week,” I said proudly, thinking this was a small and reasonable amount.

“Once a week!” she exclaimed. “That’s way too much!”

“Seriously?” I asked, dumfounded. “I ate pizza, like, every single day while I was in college.”

“Yeah but you aren’t in college anymore, now are you?”

Thoroughly beaten, I couldn't do anything but sit and listen as she explained with a straight face that HDL is “happy” cholesterol and LDL is “lousy” cholesterol. She also gave me color coded lists of foods: green meaning “go ahead and eat,” yellow meaning “eat with caution” and read meaning “don't eat.” I really was in elementary school.

At one point she leaned over to show me something on one of the lists and I realized she smelled very strongly of cigarette smoke, which made me furious. All I could think was, Girl, I know you did not just come up in here trying to tell me about “healthy lifestyle choices” when you are smelling like you just smoked seven packs of Marlboros! I could sit on my butt and eat pizza topped with fried chicken and butter all day every day and I would still outlive your smarmy cigarette-smoking hide!

But of course I didn't say any of that to her. I just listened, in case there was a test on it later.

Any other husbands/boyfriends/partners gaining weight with their pregnant wives? Comment if you like.

PS - I guest blogged at WTF Is Up With My Love Life and you can read it here.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I'm becoming my father. I knew it was happening when I started to tell long rambling stories and forgot the point of the story before I completed the telling. I really knew it was happening when my wife would politely tell me that I had already told said story at least 50 times before and not to worry because she remembered the point of the story and could easily finish it for me.


It's not so bad. My dad is a good guy. I have come to like him so much I want to name our soon-to-be-born son after him. It is funny, though.

In addition to the rambling stories, I have noticed how cheap I am becoming. When we were kids we used to leave the lights on all over the house and my dad would follow behind us flipping them off and saying, “Do you think I work hard all day so that you can light empty rooms, leave the TV on when you're not watching and leave the refrigerator door open? Do you think electricity grows on trees?”

No, dad,” we'd say. “Electricity comes from the Hoover Dam.”

Yes,” he'd reply. “And thanks to you it takes the whole Hoover Dam to power this house!”

Now I do the same thing, watching those light switches like a hawk and lecturing my wife on where electricity comes from.

The cheapness manifests itself in other ways, too. My wife was going to throw out some expired lunch meat, but I told her that was $3 worth of meat and it was still good. I promptly made myself a sandwich and took it to work the next day. When I ate the sandwich on my lunchbreak I promptly got dizzy and hallucinated that my co-workers looked like fish and my boss looked like Poseidon, God of the Ocean. Then I threw up. These are just a few examples.

I used to wonder: Why is my dad so cranky? I guess it was because he was trying to raise a bunch of kids and make a living too. He was supposed to be able to fix everything that broke, make sure his kids didn't turn into serial killers and give money to everyone who asked for it, and there were a lot of people asking for it. And all the while he was supposed to pretend like he had the whole thing under control.

Now that responsibility is knocking at my door, I am starting to see how it could easily make a man lose his sense of humor. I'm not ready to be a dad! I can't possibly do all the things that are being asked of me! I still need my own dad. I constantly ask him for help whenever something goes wrong, especially with my car. I get on the phone and describe the problem to him.

“See, when it's in third gear it makes a noise like 'rowr rowr wub wub wub,'” I say. “And then when I shift up to fourth it's like, 'reeeeee-ow-ow-ow-ow-wooooooooooooo.'”

Then my poor dad has to try to diagnose my car problems from that mess.

“Well it sounds like you've got a hyena in your transmission, and then possibly a parakeet in your electrical system.”

Being an adult is so hard. I take some consolation in the fact that my wife is turning into her mother, and it is also hilarious.