Freeze Meals Before Your Baby is Born

baby food

Reheat, eat, repeat.

Pre-birth Food Preparation

Letters to My Brother

Yet another email to my soon-to-be-a-dad brother, who foolishly asked for my advice.

[Brother],

Once you have the baby, your food preparation habits will have to change. Speed will be of the essence. In the weeks before the birth, make dinners that you can freeze and fill your freezer with them. On many occasions, the thought of making dinner will suck the remaining life out of you. You will be too tired and too pressed for time to make dinner every night. Make dinner before the baby arrives.

After the baby is born, when people ask if there is anything they can do for you or if there is anything you need, ask them to bring over dinner. Dot not feel funny about asking for this! People will be happy to do it. Lasagna works great. You make it once, and you can get several more meals out of it.

Peter

Parenting: Have To vs. Get To

Peter

Wait…I’m going to miss cleaning up a poopy blowout?

Letters to My Brother

…on the occasion of his wife’s pregnancy

Yet another email in the series of advice he inexplicably asked for

[Brother],

You will change seven diapers in a day and you will bathe your child every other day and you will spend 45 minutes on the nighttime routine and you may look to your future and think, “Oh, my god. How many more times do I have to do this?”

That feeling can be overwhelming. But this kind of thinking is misguided. When you have a child, you will realize, or you should realize, what Howard Jones meant, or what he could have meant, when he sang, “Don’t try to live your life in one day.”

You don’t have to do it all in one day. Raising a child is a one day at a time proposition, often a one moment at a time proposition. Sure, there will be plenty of times when you will be tired and don’t feel like warming a bottle or giving a bath or rocking her to sleep, and the thought of doing some tasks one more time may depress you, but the problem is not the task, it’s your attitude.

Think about that. You will complain about having to rock your daughter to sleep again, and then one day, you will realize that she’s too big to be rocked in your arms, and you will wish that you could rock her again.

There will come a day when she can read and doesn’t need you to read her stories anymore, when tucking her into bed is the last thing she wants.

The early years are a magical time. Savor every moment. The older kids get, the suckier they are to be around, and that’s a good thing. It helps both of you accept the eventual separation that is to come. When is comes to doing things for your child, treat every have-to as a get-to. The last time you get to do a lot of these things will sneak up on you, so think of every “chore” as being the last time you will get to do it.

Peter

When Your Child is Sick

attack of the toilet bowl

No parenting books prepare you for this.

Letters to My Brother

He wanted advice. That’s his problem.

Dear God, let me take his place.

[Brother],

I’ve told you this before, and perhaps the moment your daughter is born, you’ll understand it completely, but when your child is sick or injured, the effect on you will be ten times worse than the effect on them. So innocent, so naiive and so brave, they break your heart when they suffer. You must be calm and confident to reassure them that all will be well, when inside you fight to hold back the tears. The pain inside you is so great, you irrationally plead with God to take the pain away from your child and give it to you instead.

Your child will not escape illness and injury. Prepare yourself mentally now, so you can be strong when you need to be. Your daughter will be looking to you for guidance. And no matter how bad it is, no matter how panicked you are or how much you want to cry, you need to look her in the eyes with calm assurance and make her believe that everything is going to be okay.

Tonight, Junior was standing on his stool, washing his hands. He tripped as he tried to step off, and hit his head on the toilet, opening a huge gash above his left eye.

His teeth were chattering with fear as we sat in the hospital emergency room. He didn’t want to get a shot. We did our best to get him to believe that everything was going to be okay.

Peter

Wait on Your Pregnant Wife Hand and Foot

Simba is dialated to 10 centimeters

Painting your wife’s belly like a scene from the Lion King, while impressive, does not count as taking good care of your pregnant wife.

Letters to My Brother

Another in a series of emails sent to my expectant brother, who foolishly asked for my advice.

Taking Care of Your Pregnant Wife

[Brother,]

From the third trimester to about 3 months after the birth, you need to wait on your wife hand and foot, and all part in between. You need to do this simply because it’s the right thing to do. She will be uncomfortable in the least, and miserable at the most. She won’t be able to sleep, foods she used to love will taste like crap, she’ll have to go to the bathroom every 15 minutes. There’s a long list of things that will suck for her until she has the baby, and afterward, she’ll be sore down there and tired all the time. Do whatever you can to make her less uncomfortable, and maybe, just maybe, she won’t cuss you out when she’s dilated 9 centimeters and the contractions are killing her.

Peter

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…