Last night Julia had an upset stomach (or something) and cried, continuously, for more than half-an-hour. I spent the majority of this episode safely downstairs moving between the futon (watching a DVD) and my desk chair (messing with this Web site).
After Deb had finally put Julia to bed she came to visit me in the basement. She demonstrated, with her expression and posture, just how grueling the past 45 minutes had been.
I felt bad for Deb. But I've gone through my share of solo "gas bubble exorcisms" so it's not as if hiding in the basement was that big of a sin. Plus, Julia was downstairs with me when she started crying. I maintain that she would have stopped if I had just a few more minutes to let her find her happy place and quietly go to it on her own. But Debbie made the decision to take her upstairs. Admirable in a peculiar way; like when Buddhist monks set themselves on fire in protest.
Last night's events led me to think about the friends and family that have recently had cute and tiny, loud and stinky bundles or have them on the way. I've compiled a few tips that may be helpful to them now or in the near future:
1. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a noise? Substitute a baby for the tree and you're well on your way to a semi-valid rationalization for locking your infant in his/her nursery while you step out for a movie.
2. Babies are always wet and that makes them good conductors of electricity. Don't bother with cumbersome extension cords when there's only an additional foot, or so, between your outlet and the margarita blender. A baby fills the gap nicely. What's more, while you're using your appliance, the baby remains remarkably quiet.
3. Recalled or banned infant products are often a good litmus test for child development. Surviving the use of these products is often an indication of superior intellect and/or motor skills.
4. Diapers. The answer to this parental bane is simple: a more efficient diet. By feeding babies intense amounts of fiber and providing a minimal amount of fluids (required for survival), an infant's waste consists mainly of small, hard, odorless pellets. Not only do these pellets help avoid the need for a diaper, but they make a fine alternative fuel source for hibachis or small wood burning stoves.
5. Infant clothing is expensive. Carpet remnants are not.
6. More nutrition advice: Back in the pre-Bronze era do you think they waited six months to start weaning their babies? Heck no! These early parents shoved whatever they were eating into the mouths of their offspring and so should you. Free yourself from the myth of nursing or bottle feeding. Allergies be damned! Ask yourself what you'd rather eat; Enfamil or a nice, pre-chewed rib eye? If you answered pre-chewed steak (and you probably did), then you're on your way to having a happier, quieter, baby.
7. Reading to babies is a waste of time. They don't know what you're talking about you have better things to do. Your babies should be watching television from the moment they exit the womb.
8. Maintaining a planner/plan-implementer dynamic (wherein the father is the planner and the mother is the plan-implementer) is vital. For example: A father will suggest that it's time for child to be fed because the child is crying. Acting upon the father's plan of action, a mother will implement the plan by washing a bottle, mixing formula, heating formula, feeding and burping the baby. A father's role is obviously the most significant. Therefore, in order to maintain the role as planner, fathers require special consideration when it comes to their every desire and indulgence.
9. While an infant's skeletal structure is almost entirely composed of cartilage, it is unwise to assume that babies bounce. They can, however, absorb tremendous amounts of impact energy. This fact can lead to big savings when car seat shopping.
10. With some minor modifications, infants are able to use the same workout equipment that adults use. Your infant would benefit from time spent with a BowFlex as much as you would, tubby.