Baby’s First Bath

baby bath

Wash your baby on gentle cycle and line dry.

Letters to My Brother

He asked for it, so he got my advice.

Third in a series of emails to my brother who inexplicably thinks I know something about parenting.

[Brother],

Giving your first child its first bath will make you feel like you are trying to defuse a bomb. The package is fragile, you’re not sure what to do, and one wrong move and, explosion.

Get a plastic baby bath that sits over your kitchen sink, and also get one of those big spongy back rests. The Goldilocks part of this operation is temperature. Preferably, the air temp should be about 85 degrees, but as this is impractical (except for you and your I-won’t-turn-the-air-conditioning-on-in-the-summer house), you must take other steps to ensure your baby’s warmth. Run the water and make it comfortably warm. Test the running water with your elbow, not your hand. Try this out today. Run some water, feel it with your hand, then feel it with your elbow. The difference in perceived temperature will shock you.

Ninety percent of the time, if your baby cries during bath time, it’s because he’s cold. The way to keep him warm is to use three wash cloths. One to wash him, and one or two (wet ones) to cover his body to keep it warm. If you wash a part of his body, and then leave it exposed to the air, he will get cold, and cry. The only time Junior cried as an infant was when he was cold during a bath (thank you, BabyPlus). When we figured out we need to cover his exposed body areas with a warm wet washcloth, he cried no more.

If you have a circumcised boy, he will pee during the bath (and many diaper changes), which brings me to another tip, so to speak–don’t circumcise a boy (or a girl, for that matter). It is a truly barbaric practice to mutilate your infant’s genitalia. There is no benefit to this. Some people wrongly claim that circumcised men have a reduced risk of penile cancer. Even if this is true, the risk of penile cancer is miniscule (0.2% of cancers in US males) and the reduction in risk is insignificant also. Should we cut out the breast tissue of all females so they don’t get breast cancer? Regoddamndiculous… Do your homework, and enjoy the smell of a clean baby.

Peter

Free Clothes for Your Baby

free baby clothes

Only 13 cents per item! (and $29.95 shipping…)

Letters to My Brother

The next emails in the series of emails to my expectant brother, who inexplicably asked me for parenting advice.

[Brother],

If you’re fussy about baby clothes, it’s going to cost you. If you don’t care if some kid wore the clothes before yours or if they are not quite perfect, you’re going to save a bundle. I assure you, your kid will never know the difference.

Baby clothes are expensive. Maybe not compared to your clothes, but they go through a lot more clothes than you do, and six bucks for a shirt that s/he wears for four months is too steep. Fortunately, you can get virtually free clothes for your baby by buying in big lots on eBay. Here’s how it works: Continue Reading…

Frequency of Sex after Childbirth

stretched

“Are my feet getting smaller? Oh, wait…”

Letters to My Brother

My younger brother was shocked by my announcement that I was breeding. You can read about his shock and awe in Minds Blown. Somehow, this encouraged him to think more deeply about whether to have a child or not. He and his wife are teachers. Spending your entire workday with children may dampen your enthusiasm for spending all your non-work time with children. As far as anyone knew, my brother and his wife were not going to have children.

But I got a clue to their secret ponderings when I drove with my brother from his house to pick up a pizza. On the way, we stopped at the library, where he handed me a stack of books to slip into the drive-thru book return. As I slid the books into the return slot, I noticed a few of them were about pregnancy and having a baby. I said nothing, but was not surprised a few months later when they told me they were pregnant.

In an email, my brother asked me for child rearing advice as I had had a child only a few years before. I guess he wanted some bad pregnancy and parenting advice from me to balance out the mothers he had queried. This is the first in a short series of the emails I sent him with my sometimes serious, sometimes asinine advice. Continue Reading…

GMOs vs. Mother Nature

GMO-free squirrel

Bumbles thinks GMO corn is nuts.

The Free Market of Mother Nature

“Dad, I’m hungry! Can I have some genetically modified organisms for lunch?”

I believe the free market is better at deciding which products, companies and industries should survive and thrive than any central planners could be. Individuals and organizations who think they know better end up creating distortions that screw everything up.

The government decides that homeowners are better than renters, ultimately leading to real estate market inflation a distortion that results in collapse.

The government decides that everyone should go to college, leading to tuition inflation that creates a generation of indebted serfs with worthless degrees.

The government decides that certain foods should be subsidized, and we end up with an obese, sick population which eats junk instead of real food. Examples are unfortunately endless, but you get the idea. Continue Reading…

Can We Be Done with Selfies?

the Princess

Artist’s rendition of a selfie

Selfie Trend Hits New Low

I long for the days when people would give their cameras to strangers to take their pictures. Selfies are not a replacement for this custom, as they are not just about getting your picture taken in front of an interesting backdrop. Selfies, as the name would suggest, are about the self. They are self-indulgent and for the self-absorbed. They reek with the desperate smell of our “Hey! Look at me!” Internet culture, where the competition for attention is fierce, and the most outrageous wins.

Sadly, my own step-daughter, Principessa, is high on selfies. I detest them and all their connotations, and I resent that I now get strange looks when I ask a stranger to take my family’s picture. Selfies, you ruined that fine moment of kindness between strangers. Sometimes I get looks of “Why wouldn’t you just take a selfie?”

And now, seflies have hit a new low.

Tech guru Kim Komando says it better than I can:

“Just when you think the selfie trend can’t get any more nauseating, it does. Some have posted selfies while driving or while flying, others have appallingly taken selfies at funerals, during plane crashes and in front of trains. Grim, isn’t it?

Yes, those are all dangerous and awful examples of the selfie culture we seem to have today, but I think this selfie takes the award for worst selfie ever.

In a horrific crime, a teenager in Jeanette, Pennsylvania, allegedly killed his 16-year-old classmate by shooting him in the face. The suspect, 16-year-old Maxwell Marion Morton, then decided to take a selfie with the dead body in the background and sent it to one of his classmates via message-destroying service Snapchat.”

Read the rest of the story here: Selfie with a Murder Victim

Night Terrors Harder on Parents than Kids

petrified son

Junior (petrified)

Night Terrors: Not Your Father’s Nightmares

“I wanna be the helper!”

Junior had a fever and was sleeping in my bed. The wife had fled downstairs. With a long day of work ahead of her, she needed her rest.

When Junior gets a fever, he is more likely to have nightmares and night terrors.

“Junior, it’s okay. You’re all right.”

“I wanna be the helper! I wanna help the lady!” he cried.

“It’s okay, Junior. Everyone’s fine.”

I could feel him shaking in the dark. “Are you cold?”

“No.”

He was shivering with fear. Continue Reading…

Kids and Sports: Killing the Love of the Game

love of the game

It’s not their job and you’re not their boss.

How To Kill Your Child’s Love of the Game

Let the kid play!

I am coaching Junior‘s 3rd grade basketball team. We are more than 2/3 of the way through the season, and I have had it with the fathers. At games, they cheer when we score a basket, but they also try to coach from the stands. All game long they are yelling at their sons, telling them what to do.

It is far enough to have one person, me, the coach, telling them what to do. I have learned through my many years of coaching that having a parent tell a kid how to play is the absolute best way to destroy a child’s love of the game.

Thus far, I have kept quiet about this. I want to maintain a good relationship with my players’ parents. But that has limits, and I am at them. When the parents’ behavior becomes detrimental to the team and the players as individuals, I need to end that behavior. I just reread that line, and I think I should have intervened earlier, since the behavior has been detrimental from the start. And now it’s worse. Continue Reading…

A Salute to the Single Parent

single parent

Because people need to be warned when a single dad is in the area.

In Praise of the Single Parent

Wimpy Father Can’t Handle Even One Child

Single parents, I don’t know how you do it. I am working full-time temporarily, and the wife works out of town two days a week, which means that for two days a week, I am a single parent. I have two children at home. One of them (Thunderfoot) is 17, and requires little attention, besides cooking and cleaning up after her. I do this only two days a week and I am overwhelmed. I don’t know how single parents with multiple young children in their possession for seven days a week cope. Continue Reading…