So The Mommy had reserved a few Daddy DVDs in her Netflix queue for me to watch before the big event. Well, as you can imagine things were a little stressful in the lead up to LTD’s arrival and needless to say The Mommy’s Netflix queue became a low priority. About two weeks after LTD’s birth, a DVD arrived in the mail the subject of which was, what should a new father expect during pregnancy. Although the train had left the station, we watched the DVD anyway, basically fast-forwarding through it.
Another daddy DVD arrived in the mail when LTD was about two months old. This time the DVD was more appropriate because it dealt with what to do when you bring the baby home. I was too tired to really watch it and again we set the remote to fast-forward. The funny thing about both DVDs was that they were filmed in Australia by an Australian filmmaker who was documenting his experiences becoming a first time dad. While watching the DVDs, I wasn’t really listening to the parenting advice I was cracking up every time the on camera dads called their baby’s blokes and mates (drinking Fosters the whole time). Turns out Nappy is Australian for diaper. I felt like Crocodile Dundee was giving me parenting advice. “That’s not a pacifier, this a pacifier.”
I honestly can’t remember the last time I had the hiccups. However, I can tell you the last time LTD had them, it was ten minutes ago. The kid seriously has the hiccups all the time. Turns out babies get the hiccups on a pretty regular basis. I guess their little baby lungs and whatever else causes hiccups are still developing and it is all part of growing up. Sometimes when he has them they are shallow and quiet, but man I other times they are loud and he looks at me as if to say, ‘what the hell is happening to me, make it stop.” It’s not like you can make him hold his breath, eat a spoonful of sugar or stand on his head to get rid of them. I did try scaring him once. I told him how much college was going to cost in 2027, but it didn’t work and he kept hiccupping.
One of the books The Mommy and I read (let’s face it, I didn’t read it) talks about the first three months of the baby’s life as being the fourth trimester. In that regard the author recommends, among other things, swaddling. In theory it is possible to use a blanket to swaddle a baby, but all my attempts ended in disaster; and by disaster I mean that LTD, in proud defiance, stuck his arm out and raised his fist in freedom. The Mommy, after watching me struggle, showed me the Swaddle Me baby blanket. The Swaddle Me has a pocket at the bottom for the baby’s legs and Velcro on both side for idiot proof swaddle action. I can’t stess enough how easy the Swaddle Me blanket makes the whole swaddling process. In fact, when LTD out grew the one we were using I cried a little. When done right swaddling creates the straight jacket that keeps parents sane.
From day one LTD has pretty much always used his ability to cry for specific reasons. He was very clear about being wet, cold or hungry and would let us know with a hard target wail. However, about a week in to our new life with baby, he would scream like a maniac every night beginning around 7pm. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Witching Hour. It turns out that some babies just get fussy in the late evening, usually when you are trying to eat dinner. Some have theorized that this is caused by being over stimulated and over tired. I have theorized that it gives me a wicked bad headache.
The only remedy The Mommy and I have found is to just rock LTD while moving around the dimly lit living room. While I find it difficult in these moments to be zen, LTD does pick up on our vibes and calms with our mellow energy. Another challenge that The Witching Hour presents is the anguished heartbreaking face LTD makes when he has been crying for 20 minutes. It is the kind of face designed to cause a parent to let their dinner get cold. Over time, The Witching Hour has dropped down to a once a week pain, here’s hoping it disappears altogether.
As strong believers in the “Back to Sleep” movement, The Mommy and I always put LTD on his back when he goes in the crib to sleep. The current research endorses this position to avoid SIDS. However, when babies spend all their sleep time on their back an unexpected side effect occurs, their heads get lopsided. So of course the experts have an answer to that problem as well, it goes by many names but the most popular is Tummy Time.
We have been told to do Tummy Time for at least five minutes a day. You basically pull a reverse turtle and plop the kid down on his chest and watch him squirm. The goal is to strengthen his neck, chest and arm muscles. They make special Tummy Time mats (can you believe they make stuff for parents to buy for their babies?), but you can use the floor or any surface as long as baby is supervised.
The Mommy and I have discovered only one small problem with Tummy Time. LTD hates it. He really hates it. He really, really hates it. When you research what to do when your baby hates Tummy Time, the experts agree that over time he’ll get over it. You can try to make it fun by playing with toys in front of him or making faces, but at the end of the day if he cries through the whole thing there isn’t much you can do about it. Tummy Time is important, so like so many other things in life you just have to get through it alive.
I’m downstairs trying to catch up on some recorded shows when I get the call. I am needed upstairs in the baby’s room immediately. As I arrive on the scene, The Mommy is holding both of LTD’s legs in the air keeping his back off the changing table. We have just experienced a massive blow out with poo going up the back and down the baby’s legs. One of the main problems with the blow out is that once the poo has past the diaper layer and entered the forbidden zone of the onesie, it is virtually impossible to remove the garment without creating a poo-baby.
The Mommy and I worked like an Indianapolis 500 pit crew. We were fast but messy. The only strategy was to push through and limit the amount of time the poo spent on the baby. In the end, we had a containment breach on the diaper, the onesie and the sleep sack. Afterwards, The Mommy and I reached the same conclusion, no more beer and nachos for LTD before bedtime.
Here’s something fun, a summer cold. Last week, I had to go to the pediatrician’s office twice. Once for LTD’s two month check up and once for the Daddy/Baby part of The Mommy’s new mommy class. What does two visits to the pediatrician’s office do to the human body? Easy, it makes it sick. There is no greater incubator of germs than the baby doctor’s office. I went in healthy and came out feeling like bomb went off in my head. If you have ever wondered if it is fun to change a diaper at 4am when sick, I have the answer. It is not fun.
The only good news is that so far The Mommy and LTD haven’t contracted my plague-like illness. The baby book claims that babies really don’t get sick all that much from my sneezing and coughing, they get sick from the germs on my hands. So armed with that information my digits are constantly coated with Purell. If LTD does get my cold, a doctor told me that the more they get sick when they are young the better their immune systems will be later, so we got that going for us, which is nice.
One of the nice things about having a baby is the nice way your friends and family support you. You will get onesies and bibs. You will get stuffed animals and diapers. You will get advice. A lot of advice. You will get books. A lot of books. Everyone has their version of a must have baby classic and it turns out when it comes to those classics many people have the same book in mind.
The Mommy turned me on to Library Thing, a new web site that catalogs all the books in your baby’s library. When you share your catalog with friends and family they can easily see the books your baby has already. Library Thing eliminates the awkward pause when you unwrap your fifth copy of The Cat in the Hat, your fourth copy of The Giving Tree or your 17th copy of How to Pay for College in the Year 2027. You can add Library Thing to your baby blog or email the link out. Now stop surfing the Net and read the kid a book.
My friend Erica had a baby boy last week and as I extend my congratulations to her I will also share with her a piece of advice. Take those pictures now. Something happens to newborns around three weeks of age that no one talks about all that much. The condition is one that new parents don’t think they will have to deal with until the teenage years alas, I give you the scourge that is infant acne.
At birth, LTD never really looked like a newborn, he didn’t have that red smushed look. On day one he basically looked like he looks now. The Mommy and I were very happy to have avoided that awkward period in which the newborn looks like an escapee from the island of the mole people. However, our good fortune in the looks department didn’t last. Around week three LTD didn’t just get a little baby acne, he got a lot. The red pimples were mostly on his chest and face with a few scattered elsewhere. Combine the pooping and peeing on himself with the acne and it is no wonder he can’t get a date. The good news is that after a few weeks the acne went away as quickly as it came. The doctor informed us not to panic, as the red stuff was indeed acne and not a rash, hives or signs of alien hybrid activity. The pimples never got scaly and never bled, which was another indication they were the result of acne. Sadly, it was all perfectly normal.
New Dad Suggestion (NDS): Baby acne is not caused by dirt or grease it is caused by hormones and there is nothing you can do about it. If you want to feel like you are useful you can use a warm washcloth with water, but don’t bother with the Clearasil, nature is in charge.