Our little girl, Cordelia, is a happy baby. She is seven months and seventeen pounds of burbling, cheery joy. This provides me with great satisfaction. Every little bit, every tiny scrap of happiness she ever experiences, she has because of us. Everything she ever has, she has because of my wife and my wise parenting and mentally stable DNA. My sperm contain innate happiness.
Of course, my wife spends more time raising the baby, and she did have to lug it around for those nine inconvenient months, and she did have to be (shudder) milked. So I think I should only get 1/4 of the credit for Cordelia’s happiness. Still, that’s enough to make me feel like a God.
Struggling To Move, Part 1
At her current stage of development, it is time for Cordelia to start sitting up on her own. She knows that it is something she wants to do. She just hasn’t figured out the exact technique yet.
What she does is lie flat on her back. Then she tries to just sit up, without twisting her body or using her arms. She just tries to sit straight up. Now, even for developed, grown-up bodies, this is difficult. (Try it.) For babies, it is comically impossible. She tightens her abs, tries to sit up, and grunts pitifully. Then she stops to rest. Then she tries again and again, until she gets frustrated and the screaming starts. Meanwhile, mommy and daddy and their friends sit around and laugh at her.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not a bad man. If there was not an insuperable communication gap between me and my grunty little offspring, I would patiently explain to her what she needs to do to sit up. But I can not. Sometimes, really, the only reasonable way to react to a baby is to laugh at it.
How To Bathe a Baby
My wife recently forced me to watch her give the baby a bath. Being the living embodiment of patience and kindness, she has always done this herself before. However, she wanted me to know how to do it, in case she, I don’t know, is eaten by wolves. So I watched. This is what I learned:
Step one. Fill bathtub with a few inches of water. Remember, babies do not feel temperature like we do and are much more sensitive to heat. The water should be cool on your fingertips and cold on your inner arm. This will almost be scalding hot to a baby.
Step two. Take off all of baby’s clothes. Do not dislocate baby’s shoulder in process, you clumsy dumbass. Remove diaper.
Step three. Place baby in bathtub. Baby will now be in ecstasy. Hope she doesn’t shit. We place our baby on one of these big flat spongy bath mattress things. The best ones are sold under the brand name “Drown Less Soon”.
Step four. Wipe down all of babies extremities with washcloth and a little soap. Try to control your shudders of disgust. Try not to think about how long it takes for baby to turn the bathwater into a weak urine broth. Try to get less shampoo in the baby’s eye next time.
Speaking of the eyes, good visual hygiene is important. I recommend wiping down the baby’s eyeballs gently with a soft chamois.
Step five. Now that baby is clean, let it frolic happily in the water. Remember, babies drown easily, so don’t leave it unattended for more than ten minutes.
No, just kidding! A baby can drown in as little as 1/32 of an inch of water. You can drown a baby by setting it on a damp table. Babies can drown if you even THINK of water. You ever walk around on a hot day and think “Man, I could use some iced tea right now.”? Well, you just drowned your baby. Good job.
Just to be safe, I recommend that, the moment your baby’s body hits the water, you totally fucking freak out.
Step six. If your baby is an uncircumcised boy, be sure to carefully clean the crusty, foul-smelling smegma out from under his foreskin. Having to do this is how God punishes people who aren’t Jews.
Step seven. Remove baby from water. Dry it off quickly, rubbing vigorously to try to restore warmth. Babies lose body heat very quickly. You have ten seconds, or else. Why are you still reading this? The clock is ticking!!! Go, go, GO!!!!!
There. Wasn’t that easy? Hope your baby isn’t blue.
My Wife’s Comment On the Above
First point. According to her, baby shampoo is now formulated to not be painful to baby’s eyes. So I say, fine. Just pour the shit in there. Knock yourself out. Clean eyeballs are as important as anything else.
Second point. Regarding smegma. “Ewwwwww. Thank God we don’t have a boy.” Well, I am only the bringer of truth and enlightenment. Don’t blame me for the design of the penis.
“I’ll take the One With the Baby Drowning Box”
Parenthood has had a dark, corrupting influence on my young, urban brain. The nice, busy street right by our house, giving quick access to stores and restaurants, now looks like a deathtrap for any four year old chasing a ball. The bedrooms are now woefully inadequate to warehouse young life. And woeful was the day I first did research to determine the quality of the local school districts.
It’s banal, but true. I can talk a good game, but the tentacles of responsible, boring daddyhood clench me as tightly as everyone else.
So we started, in the slowest, most tentative way, shopping for a new house.
I suppose that the reason I bring it up is that we saw a pretty nice house. Big. Plenty of room for our business. A good (read “yuppie”) neighborhood with good (read “white people send students there, so they get money”) schools. A yard for me to garden badly. An acceptable price.
But it didn’t work out. You see, it also had a swimming pool. Or, as I call it, the “baby drowning box.”
A swimming pool. Great. Hey, why stop there? Why not just fill the backyard with a dozen antique refrigerators?
Actually, it’s not as bad as all that. I did my research online and, on average, families with swimming pools only lose about half their children. You know those nets you use to scoop the goo off the surface of the water? There’s a reason why they make those big enough to hold a child.
Now, losing half your kids might seem like a lot. But, the way statistics work, that means that in some families with pools, all the kids survive! I’m not going to play the odds, though. I already have to do not-blue checks on her every hour she naps. The last thing I need is to have to run screaming into the back yard every time the house is quiet for a minute.