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Oct. 27th, 2009

imperfectdad

The Zen Art of Changing Diapers

New article is up http://imperfectdad.blogspot.com/2009/10/zen-art-of-changing-diapers.html

Sep. 15th, 2009

imperfectdad

Well hi there

In case you missed it, I've moved!

And here's a new article, just for you!

http://imperfectdad.blogspot.com/2009/09/way-with-words.html

Aug. 20th, 2009

imperfectdad

We've Moved!

... and uh, started up again.
New article went up today, and a previously unavailable article is up as well.
Click and go to http://imperfectdad.blogspot.com/ !

Dec. 18th, 2007

imperfectdad

A short note

Both my wife and my daughter are ill.

If you wish to experience the joy that is a sick infant, you can follow my guide below.

Step 1. Find an excited puppy.

Step 2. Take that puppy into your bathroom and stare into the mirror.

Step 3. Hold that puppy as still as you possibly can while screaming into your own face.

Step 4. Do this until the puppy falls asleep.

If your first thought is "the puppy won't fall asleep because I am screaming at my own face", then you are still too sane to have children, congratulations!

Because of this, I'm sure you can understand, I have a monstrous headache that will not leave me be, and this is all you get for an update today.

Happy Holidays.

Dec. 12th, 2007

imperfectdad

The F-word, and Pink

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.



Baby.


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 accusations 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 or Pink

Dec. 11th, 2007

imperfectdad

Happy Birthday to me!

Since it's my birthday, I gave myself a special present last night. More sleep. That means I didn't get the bonus content I'd promised done, but it'll be up tomorrow at the lastest, I promise. Thanks for your patience! :)

Dec. 10th, 2007

imperfectdad

(no subject)

Hi all, I wanted to mention some housekeeping. You may have noticed that I’ve de-friended you with this, my imperfectdad account.

This is okay.

Do not panic.

I have done this because I have most of you on my personal account, and I don’t use imperfectdad’s friends list at all.

You may return to your regularly scheduled programs.

(new essay tomorrow!)


Dec. 4th, 2007

imperfectdad

(no subject)

Entries have been pre-empted by finals week and me teaching classes at work. I promise some special content for the next update though.

Nov. 20th, 2007

imperfectdad

(no subject)

It is important to clarify that when I say that people are dumb for thinking that babies should be okay with being set down on their backs in a quiet room, I visit very little blame on the parents of said babies. New parents, as far as I’m concerned, are incapable of being guilty for crimes short of intentional neglect or straight up murder. Rather, the main bearer of my blame and anger about this, and in fact most things baby related is the baby industry and American baby culture itself.

Certainly, it is impossible to fully prepare any new parent for the journey that they are about to embark upon. However, when you compound that with every doctor trying to sell you their favorite home remedy, every baby book leaving out vital details or telling you to buy the products from every corporation trying to sell you their new, miracle crying cure that they’re just begging Oprah to shill and later turns out to be made of Chinese irradiated, lead embalmed, reconstituted brains from hoof-in-mouth cows, a new parent can end up very confused indeed. (Much like you probably are after wading through that sentence.)

Lets take a look at Babies R’ Us’ “baby needs checklist”.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
stationary entertainer???


I’m going to tell you a secret here, we own about a quarter of that stuff. We own that little of their needs checklist and (as of this writing), our baby has yet to explode. Now, I am a father of only a six week old, and I suppose that in my inexperience it is completely possible that there will come a day that I touch an improperly warmed baby wipe (due to our lack of the proper warming device, you see.), and my baby will immediately crash, undoubtedly requiring a full format and restore. However, I put that in the “Highly Unlikely” category, right below “Genghis Kahn showing up to take the baby for just a night.”, and just above “actually having enough clean dishes to see the bottom of the sink for more than a night.”.

It is though, very easy to convince new parents that they absolutely must have the Stroller/baby carrier with pivoting chair, rear view mirrors, vibrating, heated seat, all terrain wheels, onboard point defense anti missile system, and oil slick dropper. The companies that produce these things are very lucky to have their chosen demographic. Parents to be are scared, nervous animals; eager for items to purchase that will alleviate their many fears. New parents are much the same but with the added, special sauce that we like to call “desperation”. You remember how it was in highschool? Where the object of your affections first ignored you, then had her boyfriend beat you up, installed barbed wire on the tree outside her window, and finally filed that restraining order that still keeps you out of that damn grocery store in Colorado Springs, all because you reeked of the perfume of desperation. Bitch.
Anyway, the point is that these companies are the exact opposite of that. Upon smelling your pregnancy, they will be all over you like flies on ca-ca. I’m fully convinced that most major pregnancy tests contain little RFID chips that notify companies of positive results on said tests, and within days, you’re awash in Similac samples, ads for sales at Babies R’ Us, and dollar off coupons for diapers at Target. (I’m fairly sure that this was developed by the same company that knows to send Victoria’s Secret catalogs to houses the very second the male children in them hit puberty.) My daughter got her first junk mail before she got her social security number. The only demographic that comes close to being such complete suckers are people about to get married. You know you didn’t need that baby seal skin wedding guest album, and you do feel kind of bad, but dammit it was the only one that went with the churches candelabra.

Now, honestly, it is nice enough to get free stuff every now and again, but I don’t want to feed our kid Simulac. Sorry, the baby on your packaging is creepy, and I don’t want your crap in my baby. Were I less ornery though, and more trusting of companies than I am, I could easily see myself pouring those samples down my daughter’s milk vacuum at the witching hour when I just need her to be quiet.

This stuff is everywhere, buffeting parents left and right until they’re so confused they’re finally forced to pick any port in the storm, trying the entire time to convince other parents to join them so that they feel validated in their choices (and doing the company’s advertising for them in the process.) . So when an “authority” such as Babies R Us, or “What to Expect When You’re Expecting”, rises above all the others on the shoulders of those parents, more and more people will cling to it, or at very least default to it. Therefore, I think said sources bear a responsibility for providing you with more actual information than advertisements, more facts, and less checklists for Crap You Do Not Need. A real checklist needs to look like this.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
boob(s) is really sort of extravagant, actually.


See the difference? I knew you would.

Special Baby Update Section:

A yeast infection of the mouth. That, in a nutshell, is what Thrush is. Last week, our happy baby exploded (oh man I knew I should have bought that wipe warmer!) in fury and rage. Well, as much fury and rage as someone who can’t control their limbs can do so. No amount of “Cuddle Cure” is going to work when one of the chief steps involved (sucking) is the primary source of discontent. Thrush is apparently, “just one of those things that happens to some babies” such as gas, or constipation, or lycanthropy. However, as an astute person, I noticed that it miraculously appeared just after her father gave her her first bottle of formula.

Feeling like you’ve failed or somehow harmed your own child is one of the worst, most unhappy things I’ve ever felt, and I can get pretty emo…
But really, sometimes you just need to accept that you goof up, and you forget to wash a bottle’s nipple after dropping it in the toilet (kidding!!!), and move on.

Ultimately, babies, like their wolf and bear ancestors, are fairly logical creatures. They function on a simple tenant that they have some core needs, and if those core needs are not met, they cause other beings physical harm (wolves bite, bears claw, babies sonic blast.). To that end, I have developed some tools to provide babies with those core needs in as efficient a manner possible, some of which I will share with you for your own use and defense.

This is a flowchart that you can use to troubleshoot a crying baby. You’ll find that it is fairly logical, and takes you on a step by step journey that hopefully ends with a satisfied baby, wolf, bear, or possibly your laptop I don’t know

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
theory


However, I have to be honest with you, it really ends up working out like this;

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
reality


I wish you the best of luck, and have a happy Thanksgiving should you so choose to celebrate it.
101_0937
someone inflated my head!


Next Week: Parents who try too hard! (also a special “fuck you, day care!” section!)

Nov. 13th, 2007

imperfectdad

The Stages of Babyhood

A few weeks ago, I wrote the essay that would appear as the first entry in this journal, at the time of that writing my daughter was about three weeks old. The essay was written from my perspective about the first two days of her second week.

This is important to note because as babies get older their behaviour changes. There are several identifiable stages to a baby’s development.

Most pregnancy and early childcare books would have you believe that these stages are as follows;

Stage 1) Baby.
A baby, to these books writer’s minds, is your adorable offspring.
This is the product of your last nine months of exhaustion, and you have earned this joy. Babies are capable of making noises after a few weeks, and even smiling, isn’t that grand? Other things babies are capable of are recognizing their parent’s voices, focusing on black and white imagery, and melting the heart of the mother.

Stage 2) Walking.
The second stage, walking is characterized by a baby being able to walk. A walking baby is capable of making noises, eating solid foods, and, of course, walking. This is usually where these books wish you a fond farewell and good luck on your joyful journey into parenthood motherhood.

The realities, as you might be expecting, are somewhat more intricate than that.

I) Newborn
A newborn is characterized chiefly by being able to breathe. Note that I say “able” to breathe. They are not particularly good at it. Newborn babies snuffle, snort, squeak and sneeze. Newborns are also able to eat. You will also note that I do not use the word “capable” here at all. While it is possible for them to do so, “capable” is not a word that describes, in any adequacy, a newborn baby’s capacity for eating.
In short, breastfeeding is not as instinctual as you might want it to be.
A newborn baby is characterized by the two above activities, punctuated by a deposit or two of the most vile spackle on the face of the planet Earth, known as meconium.

II) Less-New-Born
A less-new-born is about two weeks old, Characterized by the above, coupled with a change in the colour of the poop. Instead of being meconium, the stuff yellows to a mustardy goop, which has the special property of being almost magnetically attracted to baby feet. Specifically socks. Never before in my life had I imagined we would go through so many damned baby socks. A baby at this stage is also capable of screaming until she turns a color reminiscent of the Kool-Aid man.
More than once I expected the Crimson Crusader to burst through my wall and demand that I return his infant, punctuated by a hearty “OH YEAH!”.
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oh no!


I imagine that this is less an effect of the crying, and more some sort of latent ability of humankind, not unlike that of the noble Jackson’s Chameleon. A baby at this stage is capable of changing colours, starting with a bright blue and rapidly shifting through spectrum blending in with things such as brick walls, fire engines, and that elevator in The Shining.


III) Less-Less-New-Born.
This is the stage my daughter is at now. My daughter is now comfortable enough to say “goo” (which I assure you is not simply a sterotype, I honestly thought that my wife was the one making the noise, articulate as it was.), giggle, smile, and spray her urine at her parents as though she was prepping her changing table for use as a slip n’ slide.

my daughter- Day 2lookitdatfase jus lookitdatfase!



I mention most of this, because it is important to know that human babies are extraordinarily Stupid. As mentioned before, the basic animal instincts of “eat, fornicate, and get the hell out of the way” are there, but babies just can’t do anything about it. You see, Mother Nature, in all her glory, finally gifted human women with the amazing ability to die less when they gave birth. “How,” you might ask, “did Mother Nature accomplish this glorious task?”. To which I would answer, “You know how men get laughed at for pre-mature ejaculation? That’s just a trial run, baby, have another vodka tonic.”.

Babies, when they are born, are dumped out of the comfort of the womb about 3 months too damn early. Effectively, the bun from your oven is still doughy on the inside. In doing this, your baby’s head is significantly smaller than it will be three months later, and instead of being split open like the Reach Toothbrush Fliptop Head Guy, a mother gets the lovely parting gift of simply being torn open like a packet of airline peanuts. Ain’t Nature lovely?

There are several interesting things to know about this. The first is that most of the world is blissfully unaware of this fact. They do not know to tell you that your baby is fundamentally useless to you or to even herself during this period. As a matter of fact, the biggest detriment to your baby at this time is herself. She’s used to being packed in a waterbed, a thumb always at the ready for sucking, and a heavy metal soundtrack playing right in her ear every single second of every single day. Instinctually, she knows that that is the way things are supposed to be. So when we American idiot parents lay a baby to rest in a quiet room on her back, she wakes up to think that she’s fallen out of the womb, and cant even look behind her properly to see the bed she’s laying on to correct that notion. Add this, to her noting that she’s all alone with no thumb in her face, her theme music is gone, and she’s all of a sudden feeling like something has gone horribly wrong.

You probably noticed that I mention Americans above. I do this for a reason, but really when I say that, I mean industrialized “modern”, westernized cultures. We have, for some inane reason, decided that we don’t really like the idea of continuing the species that much, because it’s just too inconvenient. The companies we work for don’t have the time to deal with their employee’s snot nosed brats or the time that those employees selfishly steal from them in order to attend the heat seeking knee gremlin’s every whim.
So, in order to maintain the standard of living to which you have become accustomed, namely, having the ability to eat Food, our children need to come second next to Work. For this purpose, these cultures have evolved a very special retardation of the brain that makes us think that a near-fetus should be able to sleep through the night in an environment completely unfamiliar to them. It’s like the whole of these cultures somehow turned into X-Men with the special mutant power of “Act Like Babies Are Supposed To Want To Get Left To The Dingoes.”.

This needless to say, is incorrect. So called “primitive” cultures do a damn fine job raising their young, and in fact, many have never developed a word analogous to “colic”. This is in large part due to the fact that mothers tightly bind their children (similar to the tightness of the womb) , wear them and go about their daily lives (swaying them like they would be in the womb), and allow them to listen to the cacophony of daily life (you see where this is going.).

Keeping all of those things in mind has made parenting a cinch since we figured them out. I can’t take all the credit, however. This knowledge was mostly gained from a book named “The Happiest Baby On the Block”, which I would highly recommend to any new-ish parent. The doctor who writes it is a horrible writer, and obviously tries to beef up the core thesis of his ideas with a bunch of words like “The Cuddle Cure”, but I promise that the actual information within is solid.

We learned about the existence of said book during prenatal classes while my wife was pregnant, and decided that we didn’t really need any of that hippy crap. Eleven o’ clock on the second day of that second week however, found us at the local Barnes and Noble, baby and bags under our eyes in tow. Please, if you’re a new or soon to be parent, do yourself a favor and buy this book. You may never need it, but I promise you that at 2 am, after your eardrums are bleeding and you’re pondering just how easy adoption is, it’s a truly friendly face.

Next week, THRUSH!

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