My darling little daughter, Cordelia, has been back from vacation for one week. it’s been a really good parenting week for me. For starters, I have done nothing in the past week to put her life in immediate danger. That makes two weeks of safe parenting from daddy in a row. Of course, one of those weeks, baby was around 2000 miles away. But still, I’m counting it. My self-esteem needs all the reinforcement it can get.
Boring progress report. She can sit up unassisted for a long time. She is very well behaved, able to sit and babble happily through an entire dinner. She can pick up a Cheerio, but she can not then do anything productive with that Cheerio. She thinks that green beans are Satan.
Stuck With Pacifiers For Good
“To avoid development of a strong habit, begin withdrawal from the pacifier by the time your baby is three months old.” – What To Expect the First Year
“When the kid is thirty, nobody will give a shit whether she used a pacifier or not.” – Me
I had one of those magic parent moments the other day, one of those times when the baby does something new and exciting and smart and reminds you that she won’t be a fuzzy, little meat sac forever. Like her first step, or learning to pick her nose.
Cordelia, with difficulty, reached out, grabbed her pacifier, carefully maneuvered the business end into her mouth, and left it there. She does it often now. It’s adorable. It’s like her first chemical dependency, just without chemicals.
I think it is safe to say that, at this point, easily breaking her of the pacifier habit is no longer an option, if it was ever possible at all. Numerous parenting books look with a jaundiced eye on long term pacifier dependency. However, I’d much rather be a bad parent whose kid goes to sleep at night. My baby can develop a “strong habit” of using a pacifier, just as long as daddy gets to develop a strong habit of not spending three hours every night walking her around to get her to conk out.
The best thing about this development, though, it that she is learning that, when stressed, she should medicate herself. Happiness, after all, does not come from within, no matter what Hallmark cards and Gandhi tell us. Relief from our internal stresses come from outside ourselves, be it in the form of little plastic and rubber contraptions, or Nintendo, or grain alcohol.
In the end, your loved one may disappoint you, but you can always achieve happiness by reaching out for something made of plastic. Ask my wife.
A Word About Baby Photos
Recently, we shot a whole roll of photos of our little girl. Sitting up, lying down, doing things, having cute expressions, lying in funny shapes, I relentlessly documented it all. I was really looking forward to getting them developed … I was sure that they would be just the most fan-fucking-tastic documentation of baby development in the history of anything.
Then, when I got the pictures back and looked at them, all I could think was “What is this crap?”
It was basically thirty shots of the same baby, in roughly the same pose. They’re dull! How could I have been so deluded? My wife and I got to play the fun parent game “What made this seem so interesting that we needed a picture of it?”
“Well, I think I thought this was neat because she was sitting up.”
“She sort of had a cute smile for this one. Or something.”
“Well, sure she spends an hour every day playing with this rattle, but when I took this picture, she was doing something really special with it, like holding it upside-down or something. And it was so cool I absolutely had to document it forever.”
Baby pictures are, 94 times out of 100, crap. I try to be ruthless when editing our baby albums. I try to exclude anything that is not actually interesting, leaving the remnants for gifts to relatives or to a big box to be labeled “Only open when the kid leaves home and your heart is breaking and you need something to look at while you drink.”
So that leaves me with a full roll of baby shots, only four of which I consider interesting enough for posterity. (And that’s interesting to me, of course. I’m sure YOU couldn’t give less of a shit.)
On the bright side, none of the new pictures were of excrement. Nobody is at risk of vomiting while looking at this bunch.
One More Word About Baby Photos
Sure, you’re the parent. You love your Wuggly Snuggly Buggly Uggly Boo. You think she’s great. And you might as well. If it dies, you go to jail. I don’t.
But I don’t care. Sure, I think babies are as cute as the next owner of one. But, when it comes to someone else’s child, it takes some serious adorability megawattage to pierce the shell of my intense disinterest.
So, when you are showing baby picture to anyone who is not actually a relative (a friend, someone at a class reunion, a stranger, homeless people), you must limit yourself to three photos. Three. Make it like an audition or a resume. Show ONLY the three most goddamned adorable pictures you can find.
And then, if the victim shows interest and actually asks for more, then and only then can you show more photos. If the person is genuinely interested, you can haul out the album of Poopsie Woopsie’s first smile (all 8 angles of it) and give that person a good skull-fucking.
And what if you have more than one child? Well, you still get only three pictures. Total. Not three each. Three each starts to add up real quick, and, before long it becomes a war crime.
Don’t think that’s fair? Don’t think that gives you enough coverage of your precious offspring? Tough. Should have kept it in your pants, shutterbug.
And Yet Another Word, This Time about Video Tapes of the Baby
These must not be shown to anyone under any circumstances.
Doesn’t That Seem Harsh?
Good God, but babies are boring. Staring at the baby while actually caring for it should already be enough for any person. Actually watching films of it wriggle and drool? I shudder to think of it, and I’m the parent!
You ever see one of those anti-drunk driving commercials where they show videos of these cute kids being cute and then it says “Cute kids, huh? Well they’re DEAD! They were KILLED by a drunk driver! You SICK FUCK!”
This is the only legitimate use of baby videos. If something horrible ever happens to Cordelia, I will watch the baby videos late at night while bawling and drinking Jack Daniels. In any other circumstances, baby videos should NEVER be watched.
And why prepare for the worst? Stick with a regular camera. And those three (Three! Preferably less.) perfect snapshots.
“But I hate babies! I really, really hate them! Why should I have to look at even three pictures?”
Oh, come on. Like it would kill you to smile at three lousy pictures. Suck it up. Be a mensch. Who died and made you king Of Shit Mountain?
Something I Wish Cordelia Had Done Intentionally
Cordelia hates to be put down for a nap, whether she needs it or not. Sometimes, the only thing she has the energy to do is scream. And yet, we keep plopping her in the crib with the pacifier in her mouth. Because that is how mommy and daddy get that precious hour or two a day in which to live our lives.
Lately, Cordelia has developed a new way to signify her dislike of her crib and her imprisonment in it. She takes the pacifier out of her mouth and throws it. Sometimes, it goes across the room.
I am sure that this is just a random baby movement, not an intentional act of communication/rebellion. Which is a pity, because I would love it if she was trying to say “You think a pacifier will buy me off? This is BULLSHIT!”