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.