Last time, I’d mentioned that this next article would be about parents who try too hard. That is incorrect. In the spirit of the season, we’ll be talking about something else entirely.
Since it is “that season”, let us today talk about the F word. You all know the F word, right? The F word, of course, is Fuck.
Fuck being what you say when you are bombarded by the other F word, Family.
Now, before I dive headfirst into an essay that I’m sure will guarantee Santa never visits my house again except to hurl the occasional brick of coal through my window, I’d like to at least mention that I am very, very lucky when it comes to my family. Both my blood family and that of my wife are very kind, giving, helpful people that have provided a support network that has kept our heads above water more than once.
So if they’re so loving and wonderful, what do I have to write about? It would be nice if your parents were the only people you had to deal with when you have a baby, however, such is not the case. Like some sort of horrid, dread gong, the arrival of a baby sends forth a pulse of attention. This siren call beckons any who can detect a certain scent, similar to bears and menstruation. Your estranged cousin? On his way. Your aunt who lives in that cabin in the woods and only comes around for Easter to tell you about how sinful you all are? Booked a flight. That crazy uncle that moved to Indonesia to become a hermit living only off of the yolks sucked from turtle eggs? Yeah, he’s just arrived at the hotel down the avenue.
I wish I could adequately describe to you this event. It isn’t possible, but I will try. Imagine yourself as an Egyptian during the time of Moses, and the walls of the Red Sea are crashing down around you. Now imagine that these massive walls of water are made up of human bodies who you barely know but you are supposed to allow into your house anyway and let them give you advice about how to raise your only child even though they have never raised a child of their own. Also they pinch cheeks.
The fortunate thing about all of this family, however, is that almost all of them bring you stuff. A significant portion of the time, this stuff is money. Now before you go thinking about having a child to collect early on what you think is your rightful inheritance, remember that this one time gain is overtaken quickly by long term diaper costs.
Second only to money, you will receive gifts of clothes. While this, in and of itself, is fantastic, there is a catch.
Somewhere, there exists a book. This book is as ancient as the stars, and contained within are the basic laws that govern the universe. Things such as Time, Thermodynamics and Gravity are detailed within its vast, eldritch pages. Within this book, there is a note. A tiny scribble written into the margins of the entry on Biology, added shortly after this galactic codex was sent to the galactic printers to be bound. This note states simply “Boys wear blue, Girls wear Pink.”. If one is to violate this rule, they will be beset on all sides by people who assume that dressing your baby girl in blue actually causes some horrible brain warping anomaly to appear and this will magically transform her into a gun-toting, football playing, bowl-haircut-wearing butch-dyke lesbian feminazi (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Some of the dirtiest looks I’ve ever gotten have been from people who’ve called my daughter a boy (such a handsome little boy!), and had me correct them (oh she’s a girl). The Look is a silent way of saying “DON’T YOU KNOW THE FUCKING RULE?!”.
Now I have to place equal blame on parents here. You see, a large portion of them have subscribed to this rule for a good portion of their lives as well, and thusly, when some Neanderthal dares call their child by the opposite sex, the very foundation of their belief that their baby is the cutest/most handsome little girl/boy ever born begins to crack. Usually the retaliation is The Look accompanied by a terse “SHE is a GIRL” or some equivalent.
This is inappropriate, not just because it’s rude, but also because it is retarded. All babies look fundamentally the same, like Winston Churchill.
Compare (click for big):
A noted statesman, orator and strategist.
In addition to this near featureless, almost basset-hound looking face, there is nothing included in the baby package that could be listed as a “secondary sexual characteristic”. Yes, it would be easier to identify your little girl as a girl if she had D cups from day one, but I’ve got news for you. That news is that even your little boy will have C cups when he’s born, due to the influx of hormones from his mother, and after a few days, boy or girl, they will end up as flat as a board for a good 12 years or so. After that what your boy decides to do with his chest is up in the air…er, so to speak.
I’ll let you in on a little secret here. Pink, blue, green, or yellow? Your baby does not care. She has no preference, no subtle understanding of the concepts of tone. When first born, your baby can’t even see
color, and thusly will not be making any choices about which flowers you should set up in the bedroom to match the duvet, paint an impressionist painting twenty feet high, or make any fashion choices, no matter how much pink you set her up with. Let her work on figuring out the many points of articulation on her own fingers or at least that her feet aren’t some alien creature attached to her bottom half before pushing societal pressures like feminization on her, ok?
My daughter looks terrible and sickly in most pink colors. Blue brings out her eyes. Simple as that.
Thirding Money and Clothes is Food. Astonishingly, I have nothing to complain about about this. Food is awesome, and the less cooking/dishes you have to do, the better your life will be. Food, again, is awesome and your family is awesome for bringing it to you.
One of the primary downsides to Family is simply that, after nine months of knowing your child is going to be born, you have certain ideas about how you plan on raising your child. You want things to be a certain way to build up habits and traditions of your own, and you certainly don’t want anything that you perceive as a danger anywhere near your precious child. If you’re as lucky as I am, you also get to spend some time with your child before the deluge of family breaks over your home. This opportunity allowed my wife and me to build up some habits and preference about how our daughter was treated, and scheduled. Your Family, however, has little or no regard for any of this and will cause your entire, fragile little world to come crumbling quickly down.
Like a wrecking ball, your family’s job is to identify cracks in your façade, points of weakness, and use those to cause your entire structure to violently implode, getting bonus points if they do it within a certain amount of time. Jenga is no longer the family game of choice.
By far the most intrusive to our lives were repeated
suggestions that we weren’t keeping the baby warm enough. To family, a baby cannot *be* warm enough. In a house in which “room temperatures” are high enough to cause lizards to spontaneously evolve sweat glands, you would think that she’d be safe, but no, some relative has to come along and inform the parents of said child that she needs a hat. A good ninety percent of holiday dialogue will revolve around the child’s need for a hat. The child being inside has no effect on this. The child already wearing a hat has no effect on this. The child being perfectly happy has no effect on this. It does not feel pain, it can’t be reasoned with, and you are at its horrible mercy!
Once you’ve adorned the child with a hat (or a second hat, or a third), you begin to realize that nothing could possibly keep the baby warm enough to meet your family’s criteria.
This is an actual conversation from Thanksgiving*.
“This baby is cold, you better put a hat on this baaaaby!”
“Oh put some mittens on this baaaby!”
“Her feet are cold you better but some socks on this baaaaaby!”
“Oh she’s cryin’ you better put a blanket on this baaaaby!”
“Its cold in here you better put some fire on this baaaaby!”
“The baby is cold somebody get some hot magma for this baaaaaby!”*may not be an actual conversation
It was at that point that we decided to leave. We probably should have left after the fire suggestion, but hey, free pie!
Inspired by the fantastic Baby Owners Manual
, I’ve created some helpful diagrams that you can reference when visiting family over the holidays with your new baby.
Fig 1. The baby at rest. This example shows the baby as she commonly is.
Fig 2. The baby at rest-er. This example shows the baby how the parents wish her to be.
Fig 3. Get the hell away from my child. This example shows the baby as the family would have her, if they could pry her from my cold, dead hands.
I hope this prepares you a bit, but nothing can ever save you.
And now, the bonus content I'd promised you.
One LiveJournal icon, so you can remember how screwed you are;
And two baby icon wallpapers, 1024 x 768, if you'd like a different resolution that can be arranged. Yes, one of them is pink. Enjoy!Blue