HowTo:Survive a Baby
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“Honey, isn't it your turn to wake up this time? You said that last time. Okay, okay... I'll go feed it...”
So you got home with a soggy, screaming 7-10lbs of a future taxpayer. Your memories from the hospital and the delivery room are hazy at best, with fleeting images of fainting or near-so dads kicked out of the way, the doctor mumbling something about "too late for epidural" while poking his head between the mother-to-be's legs with that sleazy grin you're supposed to take as friendly. The thought of maybe we should have used a condom after all being on top of your mind. And in the midst of the confusion and exhaustion when you crash on the sofa at home, you're staring at the bundle in your arms wondering what now?
The bundle of joy, the cause of all your future misery is deceivingly innocent in its sleepy state, with its itsy bitsy toes and itsy bitsy fingers, and with the occasional sleepy sound you could have sworn was "dad-da". When awake, a baby is controlled by its urges. To the untrained eye, these are food, poopied nappies that feel uncomfortable (We'll get to the rashes later) and various tummyaches and in cases of badly planned parenting, babies lifted or cuddled by strangers will scream as loudly as they can in an effort to summon a panicking parent to "rescue" them from their tormentor back to tormenting their parents. If I'm going to abort the next one doesn't cross your mind at least twice a day, the baby's failing its mission.
A baby requires a surprisingly large amount of gear, gadgets and various apparel in relation to its physical size to maintain its minimum requirements for a non-screaming state. We're adults in such need of finery, we'd all have to live in mansions with Humvees with personal drivers at our disposal whenever we need them.
Some of the basic tools include the crib, bottles, nappies, trolleys and itsy bitsy baby clothing that costs again, frightfully much more than the usage of materials would warrant, and thanks be to the fast growth rate of a healthy baby, you'll need to buy a new batch of clothes every four to six weeks. If you're unlucky and landed with twins, you need to double up on everything, including insomnia. Rattles have been used for centuries to distract babies from their evil plots against parents, as rattles have traditionally been used to repel evil in tribal societies.
Any supplier of these items would be happy to help you figure out what you really don't need but must have to make it through the toughest months of your life. All these naturally for a considerable sum of money. The props are sometimes more important than the baby, when showing off your supposed blessed luck to outsiders. Remember, you have to keep up appearances of a happy, blissful family life, or you won't get your friends lured into the same miserable state of servitude to make yourself feel better.
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FeedingA baby is relatively easy to feed in comparison to vegetarian wives, but still, there is a whole lot to consider. Unless an infant is breastfed, there's the whole hassle with baby formulas, which kind, how to mix them and what the optimum temperature of a baby's food should be (38.2ºC/100.76F, a decimal lower or higher, and the baby will know and make sure to vomit it all over your new, clean shirt). In general, it takes a lot of time and practice to get it "just right", and by that time, the baby has moved onto solid food and the learning starts all over again. All those hours getting used to fixing the perfect baby formula weren't wasted, though, since according to Murphy's Law, you are likely pregnant with your next baby by now, although the doctor said you can't get pregnant while breastfeeding. Sucks to be you.
Once your baby has grown
teeth, to the age of about 3-4 months, you can slowly start introducing fruit and veggie purées to the child's diet, unless it suits your tastes to lose a nipple. This will often lead to protests, violent behaviour towards the food bowl, spoon and parents at whom the food is hurled at by surprisingly accurate little fists. To keep a baby happy, you need to submit to the fortune wheel of parenting luck, which most often lands you bruised, sleep deprived and hurting from the last teaspoon that hit your eye when the baby insisted on eating the food on their own.
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Nursery rhymes and lullabies aren't necessarily a waste of time, but a waste of energy, and you're mostly fooling yourself if you're trying to get the baby to fall asleep by singing to it. When a baby seemingly dozes off in your arms after plenty of humming of songs you remember vaguely from your own childhood, you can take a risk of trying to place your baby into the crib. In the majority of cases, the baby starts crying again, even if the crib was kinda comfy. Why? Because you haven't stayed up another six hours yet.
Trying other approaches, results may vary. Clinical trials however have shown that mothers feel mostly uncomfortable and turn on their side with the baby next to them, and fathers with the babies on their tummies have an inexplicable tendency to doze off, while the baby's often quite happy about the situation, blabbering on incoherently and giggling to throw off any other adults in the vicinity while they wait for the perfect moment to lift the dad's eyelid and poke their finger into the dad's eye.
The nasty business
Changing of diapers can in several cases seem simple, but there is no such thing as easy. If you're changing a girl, you at least know one thing, they won't squirt you in the face. The best means of preventing this from happening is to dress for the occasion. Rubber gloves and a sturdy welder's apron are a good start, but recommended gear also includes some form of a facial mask protecting the face from overly excited bladders vacating themselves into your face.
Once these angles are covered, slowly approach the baby and using a pair of pliers, open the fastenings on the nappies. Brace your nose for any possible odours and toxic fumes if you aren't wearing the full hazmat suit. For something that consumes only milk, it can smell quite horrible.
Carefully scoop whatever contents might linger against the smooth little bottom into the nappie and using the secret and ancient martial art of Parenting, form a tight, tidy bundle out of the nappie and use the fastenings on it to seal the stench. At this point, you can carefully gasp for more air, while you work your way to wiping off the worst of it into a baby wipe. Pay particular attention to any folds of skin around the private bits you shouldn't be thinking about, especially not when it's your daughter, you perv.
If it's a boy, it'll most certainly try to squirt you in the face. Make sure to train your dodge reflexes on a regular basis, a baby changes its tactics as often as Paris Hilton changes boyfriends.
Now you're almost done. Theoretically, the next thing you need to do is to wrap the baby in another, clean diaper and you're done. However in general, it was relatively easy to get the clothes off the baby, now you'll have to use all your strength and wits to wrestling them back on. Good luck with that. No wonder your friends left you when they heard you got knocked up, they're out partying while you're sitting there with a baby who's doing its best to squirm out of your grasp and the body suit you're trying to pull on it, and are losing all hope of ever being able to take this for another eighteen years before you can legally kick it out.
If you learn to survive the day-to-day basics of parenting and manage to create some form of controllable routine in your life, you are bound to face the next challenge eventually. Illness can hit the unsuspecting victim at the most inappropriate times.
Babies do get sick, and some do it on a regular basis, some more often than you'd care to count. The most common symptom of a sick baby is screaming. How do you distinguish screaming because a baby's sick from screaming because a baby is hungry, or has pooped in its nappies again? You can try if it has a fever, but it's never a guarantee, it could be screaming just to taunt you if the thermometer you've shoved up a baby's bottom doesn't tell you your baby is feverish, and trust this, when you've shoved something up your baby's ass, it'll want you to suffer.
To be sure your baby isn't dying, a visit to the doctor is often required. And with your luck, once you're there, there is nothing wrong with the baby, because it's distracted with something like a shiny stethoscope.
Oh yeah, parents get sick, too. You're going to have to live with it. Why? Because despite you're feeling like you've been hit by a truck, it still doesn’t excuse you from getting dinner on the table, cleaning out the litter box, walking the dog, taking your sick baby to the doctor because he’s got the same creepy cootie crud, doing laundry, helping with homework, picking kids up, dropping kids off… and picking up everyone’s crap in general. To be honest, you've committed yourself to slavery for the foreseeable future and your health can't be allowed to affect it, unless you kick the bucket.
Your mental health however, is something you'd better shut up about. It will be fucked up, and if you try getting help, you'll be handed a bottle of prozac, your baby will get ritalin and your spouse will be investigated by the police with the suspicion of them having paedophile tendencies thanks to something you've mumbled to the lady next door while you're high on mood stabilisers. In all honesty, you'd better just shut up about it and start cutting yourself.
Means to Thwart a Baby
A baby's existence is guided by an instinctive urge to torment its parents. So why not come up with a way to get a holiday from parenting?
Hire a NannyThe good old English nannies in their grey wool coats and old wisdoms they learned from their own nannies are a rare and dying breed. Hence, to acquire one, you need wealth, connections or in America, a telly show where all your bad parenting is splashed out on national television so you can get a few hours of rest from your offspring.
However, were you as lucky as to being able to afford hiring the real deal, you can always comfort yourself with being able to send the baby off to boarding school the moment it hits the appropriate age. Meaning you're free to live your life as you're used to, with casual sex and the occasional wild parties that land you waking up in another state without underwear.
The benefit of growing older is that you forget how much you hated having a baby around the house. You swore that when you have grandchildren, you'd never, ever allow them to be pinned on you. Then your kid comes home with a bundle with its oh-so-blue baby eyes and itsy bitsy baby fingers and itsy bitsy to... Right. To return to the subject, abuse the moment and pass out on the sofa or at the dinner table or in your mother's bed where you swore to never, ever sleep after her boyfriend touched you inappropriately there, claiming he thought you were your mum.
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