Archive for category Unfortunate Offspring

TBDL #44 – Teething sucks

The Thursday Baby Daddy Lesson for 3/25/2010

It’s fairly universally accepted that teeth are pretty darn neat things. What isn’t so neat, though, is the big bunch of nasty processes we humans are required to suffer through in order to achieve full toothiness. Is teething equally horrible for all babies, though? To find out, let’s investigate the three types of baby I’ve brainily identified for you.

Some babies, and specifically those belonging to the group I’ve scientifically classified Group A, are wonderful little critters. They’re tolerant to all kinds of crappy conditions and come highly recommended for young, first-time and otherwise ignorant parents. Given the choice, and especially in situations where brains and personality don’t occupy dominant slots on the Stuff My Kid Must Have ‘Cause I Couldn’t or Wouldn’t chart, there’s no going wrong with a Group A babe. Composed of tykes, squirts, urchins and other hoodlums too blissfully ignorant to be bothered by the scenery zipping past (eating, sleeping, falling on their heads, getting picked up by the wrong folks from that place with all the other babies, whatever), Group A truly represents the best-of-breed in terms of easy, no-fuss parenting bliss.

Then there are other babies, those Group B trend-setters who sort of phase in and out of the reality enjoyed by most adults, selectively freaking and chilling, watching and ignoring, gettin’ it and poochin’ it. In my mind–and therefore in near absolute fact–Group B babies are a pretty good representation of the human race in general, accounting for at least 80-90% of that population not already claimed by the ever-growing Group A. These fellows have much to offer, including a rich variety of challenges and worries not typically provided by the miniature denizens of the group previously discussed. In all, while Group B babes aren’t always easy to raise, they’re the ones discussed in all those parenting books you’re sure to have stashed all about the place. Literate parents, then, should have no trouble gleaning  big, meaty nuggets of truth from the roughly 200 million baby daddy books in print.

Finally come the wonderfully terrible remainders of the bunch, those little ones who wear the mark of the Group C stamp and notice everything of the world around them with super-human sensitivity. Much can be said of this group, but lots and lots of time can be saved through a little simplification: as parents dealing with C-bebes, you can’t get away with any crap. It’s a good thing these babies are in the absolute minority because, while they tend to grow up marvelously gifted in some way, not a ding-dang thing on the road to adolescence is easy (and we shan’t even discuss the hurdles that can appear at that stage).  Group C can yield marvelous rewards, but should you find yourself with a little one belonging to that class you will be paying for those rewards on the front end.

Hang on.

Perhaps I should have mentioned earlier that today’s lesson isn’t actually for Group A baby daddies. Sorry about that… teething won’t be an issue for you. Perhaps you’ll accept a toast of apology in honor of your children? Here’s to them, those blessed little fellows, those happy-go-lucky little bags of sunshine and goodness who don’t notice when Bad Things fall from the sky and squish all those about: God love ya, and good luck with everything, hear? Those giant spikes drilling bloody tunnels through your faces? Yeah, don’t you worry a thing about that.

And, really, I don’t have anything for you Group B baby daddies either. Teething will sort of suck for your little clan, but advice for you is best gotten from the mainsteam-just-give-‘im-some-Tylenol-and-every-little-thing-will-be-peaches forums. Because, honestly, other than a few sleepless nights here and there, everything will be peaches.

This, my three friends, is a lesson about Group C babies who, when they are first children, are typically also known as only children. It’s also a very short lesson, and one that didn’t really need all the lead-in I supplied. Again, my bad, but here it is: nice Group C babies become something else entirely whenever new teeth are screwing themselves in. It’s horrible and terrible, and it’ll last for freaking months and months and months. Just remember the little fellows don’t mean to be bastards (unless they actually are… in which case it still wouldn’t be their fault) and that however bad it is for you it’s absolute hell for them. An interesting characteristic of Group C babies is that no two are really all-so-much alike, so you’re pretty much on your own figuring out what to do. Figure it out and do what it takes, though, because if your child isn’t in foster care by the time his teeth are all in, you two are going to have one hell of a good relationship. Well, if you get through potty-training too, that is…

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TBDL #1 – Naked babies are tough to hold

Having been a baby daddy for 13 months now, I find myself in a position from whence I can dispense advice with at least half the authority of the non-parents who have been giving me suspect parenting tips all this time. Being at least half as brilliant as I believe myself to be, then, I thought it only fair that I share my inspiring thoughts with you, my three faithful readers. Beginning with this groundbreaking inaugural issue, I’ll be posting a new lesson every Thursday. Enjoy… and you’re welcome.

The Thursday Baby Daddy Lesson for 5/28/2009

Naked babies aren’t as easy to hold as fully clothed babies. They’re skinnier, for one thing, and slippery. You might think there’s more to grab hold of when dealing with naked babies, especially in the case of boy babies, but those probably aren’t load bearing structures you’re going after. The rule of thumb is that if it dangles or has the tendency to hide in a diaper, it shouldn’t be used as a point of suspension for the child. In my opinion, the baby daddy’s favored hand should always be placed firmly under the buttocks of the naked baby, supporting at least 76% of the child’s weight. This will prevent the hand from wondering where it might get a better purchase point because: a) it will be busy providing lift; and b) it will be worrying about what plans the child’s buttocks might have in the near term. Also, naked babies can urinate on you.

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Devil Muzaak

Little Carter, my little son who just turned two months old, already has a favorite CD. The group is Dogwood, and we’ve been listening to Down the Road over and over and over and over and… well… it calms him down but good, and is a really excellent album to boot. I listened to some old Black Sabbath stuff earlier today, but now I feel all clean again after coming home and listening to some good old accoustic gospel with the boy.

Incidentally, I know I asked for some used Ozzy Osbourne stuff for my birthday, but I feel like I should add restrictions to that request: no Black Sabbath, please. I’m done with it, and have no more need. I guess what I’m looking for is happy 80’s Ozzy. Back when he was singing about fluffy bunnies and not actually consuming them on-stage and whatnot.



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Son of a butt

I’m really amazed that my son is so easily soothed and just so good because, well… well, I just didn’t expect it, is all. I’ve gotten conflicting accounts of my own babyhood, and I tend to believe more that I was a butthead than that I just had a couple of tense parents. One thing leads to the other, I figure.

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All a boy needs

I’ve been neglecting the other blog I set up for my son-to-be. Just absorottenlutely neglecting it. We’ve been given all kinds of incredible things – clothes, goodies from the two baby showers that have been thrown for us so far (including some really big ticket items), furniture, etc. – and I haven’t yet gotten around to posting pictures of all our great booty. For that failure I’ve been harassed by my dad, Lynn’s family, and now the Nicole. No introduction or discussion of the Nicole is necessary… she’s just… well, the Nicole. She’s a wonderful person and all that, but convicted enough about what I should be doing with the babyblawg to make me want to correct my deficiencies to date… and as soon as possible.

Anyway, so yeah, Lynn and I have literally been showered with affection and gifts and whatnot ever since I got her “into trouble” last summer, and from people who mean more to us than I could possibly express, wannabe-writer and all. We’ve gotten tons of really thoughtful and well-selected purchases and handicrafts (some of which look like they came from one of them there Bevery Hills stores), and I’ve just been overwhelmed by all of it.

I think I’ve mentioned before (or maybe I just thought it real loudlike) that the reality of my impending fatherhood has been developing in stages: the ultrasound images; the changes in Lynn’s worklife and in our home; my grandpa Israel speaking the baby’s name for the first time. Tonight, finally, after we had gotten home from the shower Lynn’s office threw for us, the reality became complete for me. It was both wonderful and devastating, and I bawled my eyes out. What happened? Our wonderful friend Addy made Little Carter a teddy bear named Teddy (who is a lot more brown than he looks in my crappy photo):

Teddy in the crib

And before you tell me Teddy’s ugly, have a look at his role model:

Teddy and Mr. Bean in the car

Teddy and Mr. Bean on a mystery holiday

For those of you who don’t know it, that’s Rowan Atkinson (as Mr. Bean) with Bean’s best friend, Teddy. It’s a pretty good likeness, I think, and is the perfect custom-made accessory for the culturally literate child that Little Carter is sure to be. It’s also an item that I will probably be stealing from my young one on a regular basis.

It’s not the sentiment of Addy’s gesture that shook me up, or even the time spent researching and hand-crafting the perfect gift for us, but rather the function Teddy will fulfill: Little Carter’s first, best and probably favorite companion.

I’m a big old manly man, but I’ll admit to a soft spot in my heart for teddy bears. My mom was supposed to be here to celebrate her first grandchild’s birth with us, but God was ready for her before He blessed us with our little fellow. She used to make teddy bears of all varieties and, whenever I think of my childhood, I remember great happiness for both of us as she would unveil a new teddy. Some wore overalls, some wore other kinds of little outfits and some were even colored up in very un-bearlike ways, but every single one of them meant the same thing to me: I was a little boy and I had a happy life in a happy home.

I guess I always figured that when it was time for me to raise my own child, there would be a teddy bear involved. It’s silly, I know, but now that I have Teddy, I know I’m going to be a father. 

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No toys for Wei Ping

Lynn and I went looking at toys to finish up Little Carter’s registry last weekend, and not a single toy in the entire baby department was made in this country. Or outside of China even.

All kiddy clothes are made in China. Not 100% fine, but they wash. All furniture. Not optimal, but there is a slightly higher grade of crap available if you spend the time looking for it. And it mostly airs out.

But I absolutely refuse to allow my son to chew on the toxic garbage produced in that hell hole. China has the world’s worst record of human rights violations, and the manufacturers there have absolutely no qualms about using dangerous substances in the production of the trash we buy from them. In some cases they refuse inspection outright, and yet we still buy their cheap crap. Yes, they provide cheap labor. But it’s at the detriment of human life that our precious baubles are so inexpensive. The all-powerful Chinese government has no regard for human life–theirs or ours–and so many people suffer from their production practices. Is it China’s fault? No. It’s true that their bureaucracy is as crooked and corrupt as any good communist regime should hope to be, and that their fervent cries of anti-Capitalism don’t stop them from doing any nasty, underhanded thing to make a dollar, but we wouldn’t be in this mess if not for good old-fashioned corporate American greed.

No, we shouldn’t curtail free enterprise in this country. That’s not my point. We should instead demand quality merchandise from our retailers. Free enterprise, when truly free, cannot exist when the masses refuse to purchase their wares. But most humans suffer from acute stupidity, so I don’t see much protesting of the constant import of Chinese garbage.

OK, so here’s my point: we love Little Carter, and we know you do too, but we won’t be accepting gifts of toys made in China. Stuff made in the U.S. and Canada and parts of Europe (France, Germany, GB… any place where sane people live) is fine, but anything else is going back to the store or getting sold on eBay or whatever. No offense, but there it is.

There IS good stuff out there. Lynn and her mudder found some excellent non-toxic wooden and rubber toys from an online vendor of environmentally friendly goodies. But it’s kind of a pain, so don’t worry about trying to buy safe toys. Daddy Eugene would be just as happy with a big old wedge of celebratory cheese. U.S.-made, of course.

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Announcing: Carter Mills Beauchamp-Simmons

Lynn and I had our followup ultrasound this morning, and had some suspicions validated about our unborn baby:

  1. He’s very active
  2. He’s very healthy
  3. He’s very male

Carter Beauchamp-Simmons

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Opportunity Lost

My trip to the baby doctor with Lynn yesterday was fairly uneventful. The little dude still has a great heartbeat, and his mother is doing about as well as can be expected under the circumstances. Apparently it’s normal for a pregnant woman’s internal organs to get squished up into the roof of her mouth as the baby gets bigger and bigger.

Anyway, the nurse had her teenaged daughter there at the office with her–something about a lame pep rally, classes weren’t being held, etc.–and sometime during the general pre-pee-in-a-cup chitchat, it came up that the girl attended Bush-Mann High School in Middleboro. It was interesting, because we have some friends who live and work in Middleboro now, and one of them actually teaches at that school. Even more interesting is that it turns out our good friend, Adeline Novak, is one of the girl’s teachers, and is actually among her favorites.

Cool, great, yay, and Lynn was happy because she knew it would make Adeline happy. But I had a grand opportunity there that Lynn wouldn’t let me explore… and I’m sure I’ll regret it for years to come. You see, it’s the easiest thing in the world to start rumors–hurtful, funny as heck, whatever–amongst little kiddies like the one we had access to yesterday. For some reason, at her old school some little stoogie asked if Addy’s husband, Carter, was a Jew. And, no, I had nothing to do with that, unfortunately. Anyway, the rumor got out that my curly-headed friend of jackboot-wearing German descent was actually Jewish. I’m not sure what impact, if any, that particular bit of silliness had on Adeline’s career at that particular school, but obviously any of a number of other potentially damaging falsehoods could just as easily have come up. And I wanted so badly to start one myself, given the unrepeatable opportunity that had so unexpectedly presented itself to me. But I didn’t do it. Lynn was all, “That’s mean” and “you’ll damage our friendship” and “why would you do that, you fat-headed gravy sucker,” and it kind of got me off my game a little bit. Before we left, I told the girl to treat Addy well. Honestly, I said that, and that’s all. Of course, what I wanted to say was, “Treat her well because she has a mentally handicapped husband to tend to at home, and can’t put up with any foolishness out of you.”

That would have been awesome! But then, maybe it wouldn’t have been. Maybe Lynn was right after all. She did have some good points… and I do like my gravy…

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Fun with Genetics

OK, so the cat is out of the bag now.

Or rather, the cat is technically still in the bag, and we don’t know what the cat looks like yet, but news of the bagged cat is… well… out of the bag.

Anyway, the recently emancipated news is that Lynn and I are going to be parents next year! The first trimester ended just this week, and our expected due date is May 7, 2008. All is well, and the little guy has a good, fast heartbeat. Lynn has been under much less stress now that she’s gone to a part-time schedule at work, and I think that’s helped. She still gets a little nauseous, and she’s definitely looking forward to the metabolism boost that everybody keeps promising is coming, but she hasn’t complained much at all. She’s even talking about doing it again already… but of course my alien spawn hasn’t popped out of her belly yet. We’ll see what she thinks after she actually meets the little fellow…

It’s an exciting time for me, but also an introspective one. I’m going to have to pony the crap up with some qualities I don’t really think I have, and soon… and that’s what’s truly scary about the whole thing. Things like patience and willpower and follow-through-itude are going to be important, but they’re the very things I struggle so much with. I’ve needed to exercise all three of them in the past (with varying degrees of success), but staying consistent with them has always been the hardest part.

I go through phases where I’m absolutely fired up about something, and there’s no way to stop me during those times. My attention still divides frequently, of course, but I always find the strength to refocus it and get the job done, and at a quality level at least an order of magnitude higher than expected. Getting through school the second time was a good example of that. It wasn’t a sustained “fired up” phase, though, but rather a string of phases, some stronger than others, broken here and there by unforseen circumstances in my life. I was between semesters when Mom died, and it took a huge effort to even stay enrolled. I wound up having to drop a class or two during that semester, and my heart just wasn’t in my work. Lynn’s support and, well, nagging (which I appreciate now, after the fact) were the only things that kept me on task then, and looking back I can see how well the two of us always work together in stressful situations.

Because of that, our child is going to have a huge advantage over what sadly seems to be the majority of other children in this country. Having two parents that love and respect each other and who, despite their many weaknesses and shortcomings, each always manage to strengthen and encourage the other under fire, is an important first step. Being wanted by both is important as well, and that’s definitely the case here. I’ve seen too many children trapped in feuds between their parents–and was one myself, long ago–and I don’t want my own child to ever feel like he was the catalyst for that kind of trouble. We’ll fail him in many ways, that’s for sure, but not in that way. Not ever.

So, anyway, I got fired up pretty hot when I first heard the news, and the trick now will be to maintain that fire. If you don’t mind, I’m putting some of that responsibility on you. Tell me when I’m slacking, and remind me how critical my perfection–or at least my attempt at it–is going to be for my blessed little child. Keep us in your prayers, and rejoice, for a new little Beauchamp-Simmons is nigh upon us!

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