Monday, July 29, 2013

Belabor and Delivery - Three Weeks Old

So my wife and I just had a baby. And she’s great and wonderful and all, sure. But I’m trying to write a blog here and, well, she’s not great and wonderful for that. Babies are not good for writing, not good for the creative process. In fact, as symbols of the ultimate creative process, they make any kind of artistic expression seem embarrassingly trite and unnecessary. First of all, in order to create good art you have to actually care about something other than yourself, your wife, and your three-week old daughter. Which I currently do not. I am now a narcissistic asshole, and it feels great. I have played for the other side, the losing side, for far too long. So now it’s, call my parents on their forty-third wedding anniversary? Yeah, right. I am currently devoid of empathy. And without empathy, how can I reach an audience.

But wait, I write a blog, so, what audience?

And if it isn't just a phase, this feeling that my life, my new little family, is of singular ultimate universal importance, if it lasts forever, I’m okay with that. I’m tired of thinking about the NSA and methane in the permafrost and the specter of asteroid diversion warfare and Al Sharpton’s weight loss.

But wait. Shit. I really do need to write this blog. I need to pretend that I can maintain certain vestiges of my former life. I need to confirm that fatherhood won’t kill my dreams of worldly significance (see the irony?).

If only there was a way to…hmm…yes. Yes! I’ve got something! What if I wrote a blog series about being a new parent? Oh my God! That’s brilliant! I can’t believe nobody thought of that before. I can feel the flood gates opening…yes…I can feel the muse return! What if I made it funny and sarcastic and talked about things like getting babyshit on the back of my neck? How does that happen? I’ll call it…hmm…yes! Yes! Belabor and Delivery! So clever!

I’ll start with a quick list!

Ten Things about Babies I Didn’t Know Because I Did Zero Research

 1. Babies shit black tar.

2. Babies shin bones are shaped like boomerangs.

3. Babies really don’t mind puking or the hiccups.

4. Babies hate their faces and try to scratch them off

5. Babies can be fart burped

6. Babies do not care how much diapers cost

7. Babies cannot fly or swim

8. Babies think everything is a nipple

9. Babies do not know who the hell you are

10. Babies don’t look like you or your wife. They look like other babies.


Okay, good. Onward! Time for some unsolicited advice. When you step out of your post-partum recovery room to get some food down at the hospital cafeteria remember to WIPE THAT STUPID GRIN OFF YOUR FACE! Everyone else is at that hospital because of disease death and dying. Hospitals are awful places, despite the totality of your joy. Keep your head down, don’t pass out cigars, and don’t show anyone pictures of your cute little slimeball.

More on hospitals. If you’re a jaded misanthrope like myself, who finds evidence of humanity’s ultimate pettiness and stupidity in even the most altruistic of gestures, then get ye to a hospital. Don’t admit yourself, that’s not what I mean. Just go hang out there and bask in the competence. Rekindle your faith in the goodness of man. Look at all the really smart people who are really good at their jobs. Watch as professionals demonstrate compassion and skill.  Look at all the state-of-the-art technologies built and designed by brilliant minds. See people rescued from death and pain by capable folks who know what they’re doing. Yes, it’s sad that such a sight is so rare these days, that incompetence is the new gold standard, but know that there are places left on earth where shit works properly. Allow me to be specific. We dealt with at least 20 different nurses and doctors during our stay at the hospital. They all knew how to turn their machines on, and how to log into the computer system on the first try. They also all knew how to adjust the lighting in the room, how to work the TV remote, and how to turn the couch into a bed. Not once did someone say they would get something for my wife without showing up soon afterwards with the very thing they said they would get her. Amazing! I can’t tell you how my heart swelled with pride for our species. Did I get bum directions to the vending machines? No! Did they give me the wrong wifi password? No! Nor was I overcharged for parking or given a wristband with the wrong identification code. All I can say is thank God for hospitals and the miracles they perform on a daily basis.

So three weeks in and we lovingly refer to our daughter as The Little Terrorist. And the fact that she keeps us up all night (this really does happen exactly like everyone said it would) is not her fault. I mean it’s not willful or intentional. The real villain in the scenario is her immature little digestive system. Objectively speaking, it’s kind of funny how two professional thirtysomething college-educated adults and one sweet little girl can be collectively held hostage by a simple tangle of baby intestines. Today, for example. The sun is out. We’ve got this nice new stroller. I’m off work for the week. Can we head to a restaurant, sit outside, eat cheeseburgers and drink beer while our dear daughter sleeps soundly? Yes, we could, if only she’d shit first. That’s it! Just shit your pants little girl, come on! You can do it! But, alas, there is no shit. Not since yesterday. Just a bowling ball of air in her gut, and the potential to go ballistic at any moment. So we sit indoors and do nothing. We wait for the sound, like swimmers at their marks on the blocks. We wait for the sound of sweet release, of propulsive defecation.

Time for a second list! This one’s called:

Five Things Related to Childcare That Prove God Has A Sense of Humor

1. The anti-gas, calming medication from CVS causes gas, bloating, and fussiness. They should keep the stuff on the same aisle as non-drowsy Claritin (“May cause drowsiness”)

2. The only gripe I have with Gripe Water is that it costs a fortune and doesn’t work. I should have known my baby wouldn’t like ginger and fennel. Who is she anyway, Padma Lakshmi?

3. Thanks to generous friends and family, we have a bedtop co-sleeper, a stand-alone co-sleeper, a Pack-and-Play, a Rock-and Play, a vibrating chair, a mechanical swing, a stroller bassinet, a full-size crib, a plastic blue baby bathtub, several sleeper pillows, a Slingling, and a padded changing matteress. Where does The Little Terrorist sleep best? On the floor. On a boob. In a person’s arms.

4. Me (unshowered, unshaved, dark bags under my eyes) to the CVS clerk: “Quick! I need soothing nipple cream and an emery board! And some Red Vines!”

5. My daughter was born with a comb-over.

And there you have it folks, the world's first blog posting about babies and hospitals and childcare. Please feel free to leave comments and remarks below.

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