Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

Your Guide to Adopting and Raising a Baby in an Iowa Casino

Everyone with a new baby is excited, anxious, head over heels in love. They also have a new routine to build and person to bond with. It’s not just being a new parent. You are now a new type of unit with your spouse. You talk about how you see responsibility, how you picture the future. You can’t help but dream, like they show in the movies, that all those things happen in your own apartment/home. You snuggle your little bundle in the nursery you painted with stuff you picked out amidst a collection of sturdy but tasteful baby furniture made by IKEA, Target or similar.

Believe me, I am very well aware that this is the ultimate White Whine, but having a newborn in a hotel is weird, y’all. Three weeks. I’ll explain the three weeks next time. For now, what’s relevant is we had a small suite with a minifridge and place for the crib. This extra space was heaven sent. If nothing else, it meant one parent could “sleep” in the bed while the other person “worked” or “read” on the couch. In reality these things were never accomplished as every cell in our body was tuned into The Infant Channel. In a space like that, your lizard brain picks up on every minute thing the baby could possibly think about doing. He made so many weird noises we nicknamed him Bubble and Squeak. A very big shoutout goes to all the grandparents, who paid for the room. After all of the adoption expenses thus far, what we could have afforded for 3 weeks was to take turns committing petty thievery and staying in county lockup.

Our friends and family drove up to meet the baby. You can picture how it was to sit with them, trade Christmas stories, take pictures, and play our new favorite lobby game “Winner or Loser?” The game is simple; by watching the body language of people coming out of the casino you guess if they won or lost. The correct answer, by the way, is “it doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s how drunk and undignified you get.”

Our visitors also brought us baby gifts! They were very sweet, with the exception of the Light-Up Rudolph that went berserk at four in the morning and scared the everloving bejesus out of me. More importantly the baby gifts corrected oversights we had committed during our midnight Walmart mission. Now, I believe in thinking through scenarios. I am a strategist. I’d like to think contingency options and foresight help me win most battles I face. And yet.

In the harsh light of day it became obvious we had underestimated the size and scope of matériel needed to win this war. For example: mittens for the baby. We didn’t know babies need special mittens so they don’t scratch themselves. Other examples: sleepsacks, warm onesies and burp cloths. Want to know how naive we were? We had a Christmas outfit, one sleepsack and six onesies. We figured one outfit per day, wash every six days. Christmas onesie? Stretches it to one laundry day a week. One sleepsack, wash with onesies. One package of 5 burpcloths would probably last a week. We also had one package of diapers, the formula the hospital gave us, some things in a diaper bag my sister gave us plus TWO blankets AND A HAT. How much does one family need?

If you aren’t laughing yourself stupid right now, then it’s only because you have fallen off your chair and died.

If you are going to unexpectedly get a baby and live in a hotel for three weeks, then benefit from our lack of preparedness. Print off this list and carry it your wallet.

  • 7 outfits per day+ two pajamas per day. Buy more if, like me, you don’t know you need to place a boy’s penis facing down so he doesn’t shoot pee straight up the waistband of his diaper
  • Mittens, socks, booties. These serve a dual purpose: they make the baby comfortable plus they save you from female relatives constantly asking if the baby isn’t cold.
  • Hats. Everyone knows they are warm, but do you also know how fucking cute babies in hats are? It could be an entire British television series; “…and now back to our popular ongoing series, Little People in Hats.” See? You read that with a British accent in your mind.
  • Formula. Formula isn’t to feed the baby. Have you SMELLED formula? If you came across formula in the wild and had no idea what it was for, would you stick it in your child’s mouth? You would not. You would gingerly replace the cap and give it a decent Christian burial. Besides, all that formula gets burped up anyway. Babies live on the energy they suck directly out of your marrow. This is why new parents are tired all the time. No. Formula is for something much more important. It is for pissing off the Breastfeeding Brigade. You want to feed your baby breastmilk? Great! Good luck and go to it. You want to tell me how to feed my baby? Then prepare for an asskicking while I explain to you it’s none of your business that the both the baby and the food couldn’t be made at home so I catered in.
  • Those swaddling blankets. My sister was right! You need a bunch of them. You swaddle the baby at night, when he cries, when he’s scared, when you want to take that picture everyone calls Baby Burrito. They are also great towels, mops, hairwraps, aprons, oven mitts, hankies, you name it.
  • Diapers that have a strip to show wetness. This is so much better than the “stick your finger down there!” method.
  • Finally, after you have all of these things, put one of each on the baby. If you do it right, it doesn’t matter where you’re living, because you still have this.

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One thought on “Your Guide to Adopting and Raising a Baby in an Iowa Casino

  1. OH MY GOSH aside from doing it in a hotel room welcome to my first three weeks of being a foster to adoptive mom! This was a riot and spot on!! I had a mom friend give me gas drops. I was like, “What in the hell is this?” Then I learned, oh did I learn!


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