Due to Extenuating Circumstances

Adventures in Unplanned Parenthood

Archive for the tag “#diapers”

Good Morning, Welcome to the Philippines!

I know. You thought you were safe. You were at home, in bed, in the country you usually fall asleep in, and you hadn’t heard from this blog in months. It seemed the happiness might not ever end.

Then the heart is ripped out of your Monday morning as it becomes clear I pulled the Full MacArthur and have, despite no indication of invitation whatsoever, indeed returned…and you’re the Filipinos, dear readers.


The nicest thing to be said about The Full MacArthur is that military uniforms look dashing. It’s been a loooong six months, readers. I don’t do much dashing these days. I sort of waddle after my son, half-halfheartedly saying, “no, wait, stop, whatever,” while he breaks the land speed record in his age group in Running Towards People We’ve Not Met and Asking Them for Cheerios. Despite my lack of military training and acumen, (not to mention I have inner thighs melded together like two warm loaves in a bread machine), I am Gen. MacArthur. You’ll see.

My two year old son has a lot of incredible skills now. I really, really wish I could understand his brain’s prioritization method. For example, he now picks out his own T-shirt, insists on wearing socks and his favorite tennis shoes, and his major hobbies include scrubbing his baby toothbrush all over his lips and eating non-fluoride toothpaste as he washes his hands with my expensive body lotion. He’s a stylin’ little man with clean teeth and pampered skin. He enjoys doing all of this every day.

Yet he screams the howls of the damned when we insist on changing his diaper after he’s pooped. It’s so strange. He’s not attached to the urine, and he will wear another diaper. It seems to be the turd itself he’s grown fond of. I’m half afraid I could tell him I just want to put the turd in a nicer looking diaper and he’d let me do that. You can see how my skill set has improved; never once, even as a joke, have I offered him a turd-replacement program because, god help me, I am learning.

The thing is, Eduardo treats these like battle maneuvers! He’s willing to lull me into a false complacency because it seems like my tiny baby is now so big. He can do so many things, he’s practically a man. Then he unleashes the dogs of war over his bowel movements and I am so, so lost.

He really can do so many things now! He plays on the deck, he sits in the living room, he runs back to his room, he even sits up at the dinner table when we eat. Sidenote: the table is 75% covered in stuff we’ve brought in but not dealt with yet, so we eat on a corner of it like those sad people you see on Hoarders. Anyway. He goes all of these places now, has toys and activities he associates with each place, always learning new things about what we do in each location. Each location offers fun things: here we watch TV! Here we eat yummy hot dogs! Here we play with Oscar! Here we insist you nap in bed even though we know you lay down in front of the door and sleep there!

Every place has good stuff, is my point. But Eddie doesn’t care about that stuff. TV, cars, kitty cat, that stuff is for one year old babies. He’s two and a half now. All he seems to do is find crazier ways to be defiantly naughty while hurting himself, or, at the very least, hurting someone else. Eddie is the son of General MacArthur, you see? Eddie’s eye-to-brain filter must sound like the inside of a military forward operating base:

Soldier, situation report.

Sir, I have eyes on three possible weak spots. The enemy could climb to the top of the couch and jump off the back. It’s eight unprotected feet onto the wooden landing. He could crawl under this table and foment insurrection by dumping all of the cat’s food into the water. I like our chances of being able to crash the toy bulldozer into the screen of the TV, and I suggest we send a scout to find out if someone could fall and kill themselves trying to climb on the leather ottoman to see out the front window.

Understood, that’s a negative on that ottoman, repeat ottoman is a no-go. Rear unit reporting you can go outside and push the deck chair to the railing so you can fall onto the shed. Join up with them and proceed to the yard to discuss scaling the fence that leads to the busy street.

Sir, I already know I can try to push the deck gate open so tumbling down the wooden stairs onto the concrete would be a piece of cake. SNAFU though–getting to the deck requires the door and I only remember how to use a door knob bout half the time. I want to proceed towards the back hall. Intelligence suggests opening the toilet bowl lid and seeing how much trouble could be stirred up by scooping up toilet water with the bath toys then drinking it while we slide down the stairs on the bathmat.

Roger that, MacArthur. 5:30 is chow in the mess hall, and we do mean mess, soldier. Do your very worst. Over and out.

My final clue that MacArthur and I are sharing brain space is that he knew the power of a good, strategic retreat. Gotta say, that’s been damn useful. We can’t fight every battle every time. Eddie’s very worst offenses (hurting our pet) can’t be treated like the stupid stuff (throwing food at dinner). It’s just the stupid stuff happens soooooooooooooooo maaaaaaaaaany times a day. He knows he’s doing it, too, so then it becomes a question of limit testing. But I gotta say, I’m holding the line on the poop offensive. Because it is. It is rankly offensive, especially in 100 degree heat.

So, as things progress this summer in our battle to reclaim the house, I hope to let you know how much ground my son let’s me pretend I’ve made.  Until then, this is Douglas MacArthur, signing off. Good day to you, Filipinos!


Love Story: the real sequel

Oh, readers. You’ll love this. I mean it; you’ll love this, because by now you think you’ve copped on. “Sarah can’t possibly have this many physical problems, she’s a head case who exaggerates minor physical discomforts for the sake of the story,” you’re saying to yourself in my voice at this very minute. I do mean this minute. I wait until each and every one of you is reading, then I say it along with you. (Hi, Don & Suzie, congrats on the move!).

Hollywood, I have the ultimate pitch to you. I want to pitch my movie about the sequel to Love Story, only this is very real and the coveted age 40-65 movie target audience will come for this one. They truly will.

We start with the wife, and this IS based on a true story, somewhere out there some superheroes disguised as EMTs and firefighters will corroborate… taken to the ER with what we now know was an extremely sudden attack of benign positional vertigo. The entire world was spinning, I could NOT stop puking, I was lethargic and confused, and wasn’t ambulatory. Simply put, it was like being drunk on a Tilt-a-Whirl after you’ve eaten Thanksgiving dinner then stepped into an anti-gravity chamber. Hm. I need to work on “simply put.” Anyhow, the vertigo is expected to last six weeks or so, and I frequently get so dizzy I have to stop everything and sit on the floor, or I’ll get there one second later but land on my face.

We meet the protagonist, Mac. He’s NOT George Clooney, he’s had to live a real life, so go find an actor that has DONE that, thank you. Mac is now married to a person who cannot pick up their beautiful adopted baby from off the ground, lift the baby or carry him for more than a minute, put him in a carseat, or, for that matter, drive. (I still get so damned dizzy that I get carsick while I’m driving. One or two things my cop father said are rattling around somewhere in my brain, thus I respect a car is a deadly weapon in the wrong hands. I have taken myself off the road before I get myself or someone else killed).

Mac’s school year is all but done, he’s mostly researching and writing. Don’t let that fool you; that’s still a 40 hour work week, when done by serious professors who give a damn and are good at their jobs. Sitting on your butt and writing (for real) is WORK. His day is simple: get baby up, feed him, dress him, drop him at Learning Center (daycare), go to work, get baby, come home, amuse baby til dinner, make dinner, TV, bed. He has made it clear my character is welcome to join in, but if I don’t feel well enough, by all means he’ll get’r done.

Obviously I try to do what I can. Mac can nap while Baby and I watch Sesame Street and count our toes, or I give him an amazing new toy and he can hit other things with it. Today it was a spoon. Yesterday it was empty husk of a highlighter, the innards long-since sent to the Staples in the sky. I helped change the bed after Baby pooped in it and the clumpy, yogurty mess went all down Baby’s pant leg. That mess, by the way, was a grim reminder that Mac should double check he put a diaper on the kid before putting him in the crib.

That’s how tired this man is. He forgot the diaper entirely. Then thanked me for getting a clean mattress pad on the bed. Thanked me.

Think about that for a second.

Hollywood, take note: I am now writing the secret to the greatest screenplay of the last century, and giving it away for free, so at the VERY least give it some thought and then cast an actress who is 40 to play me, not a 22 year old who has a flat stomach and a $300 haircut.

Mac did Love Story, the original. His first wife died very young, of a cancer so vicious it couldn’t even have the mercy to end her days quickly. There was no Ali McGraw, no beautiful soundtrack, no Academy award nominations. It sucked Mac dry then left him for dead, except he was still here.

Now here he is, in a sequel that, like so many others, is a fainter shade of the real deal and nobody’s heard of the actress. A whole decade younger…should have been a safe bet, huh? Nope. Still calling 911, still getting huge medical bills, still seeing doctors shake their head and say “I’ve never heard of this before. Sorry.” And in the middle of all of this…he found enough love in his heart to dream of a son, and then Baby finally comes. Mac is now under studio contract to keep making this work no matter how much the actress is wandering off and on the set, taking weird pills, sitting for no discernible reason in the middle of the floor, making the whole house into an instant parody of the world’s shittiest ashram. The baby screams because he wants Cheerios, the soundtrack to the Wiggles is on permanent loop for the rest of our lives, and after cleaning up the poop, putting everything in the clothes washer, drying it, bringing it upstairs, feeding our kid and spending time with me…

HE thanked ME for putting the mattress pad on Baby’s crib.

Hollywood, I know you’re blowing me off, but believe me when I tell you every couple who has been in love through these times will see this movie. Anybody can fall in love. Hell, it’s so easy the Kardashians, David Hasselhoff, Voldemort and Donald Trump all did it, and remember Hasselhoff was quoted as saying “I’ve got taste. It’s inbred in me.”

The sequel is the better, braver movie here. It’s the choice to be a good man, a good father, a good husband, a good provider, a good son, and, with the time he was allowed, a good brother. THAT’S the angle, Hollywood. Show the choices people make when one has to be at 100% day and night, trusting the other will be there when the time comes.

She is here. No, hon, look down. On the floor. But I am here, and I’m grateful that “romantic movie” gives way to scary EMTs, poopy sheets and the grace to thank me when I do what I can as well as I can.

I love you Mac, as I can and from wherever I am. Yep. Down here again, kitchen floor. Thanks for making the sequel.


Reasons My Baby is Crying

One year old edition:

  1. He is not allowed to stick his head in the living room trash can
  2. I won’t let him eat splinters the cat has scratched off of the baskets that were supposed to be a tasteful and low-budget place to put away toys in the living room
  3. He waved a plastic spoon at the cat, the cat tried to catch it in his claws, and it scared him. Which then scared the cat. I now have a crying baby and an actual, substantive scaredy cat in my living room.
  4. The baby isn’t allowed to throw Cheerios at me while I’m trying to feed him food that contains anything other than Cheerios
  5. The Cheerios are damp because he drooled on them
  6. The Cheerios are missing because he threw them on the ground
  7. We’re out of Cheerios
  8. Mommy left him alone to put on pants that can be seen outside the house so she can BUY MORE FUCKING CHEERIOS WHAT, DID YOUR BIRTH PARENTS BUY YOU STOCK IN GENERAL MILLS?
  9. Daddy can be heard on the stairs but not seen.
  10. Daddy can be seen in the kitchen but isn’t talking directly to him.
  11. Daddy is looking at him and talking to him but he wants the cat.
  12. He’s not allowed to eat paper towels
  13. He’s not allowed to suck on the ends of computer charging cords
  14. He is only allowed one episode of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood a day, and that’s 7/8 more of an episode than Mommy can handle without doing something more stimulating, like sticking her hand in a Veg-O-Matic
  15. He wonders why his train stops rolling when it hits something
  16. He stood up using the bottom of the couch for support then got scared of heights
  17. He smelled his own fart and got angry
  18. He saw a picture of himself on my phone then got sad when the screen went blank
  19. “Rock Out Elmo” fell over and it looks like he’s having a seizure
    • OK, I’ll give him that one
  20. I came in from shoveling snow and directly went to put my cold hands in his pajamas to change his diaper.
    • OK, I give him that one, too.

The wisdom to know the difference

Unless you live under an especially nonporous and far-flung rock, you know the quote about “the wisdom to know the difference.” This Thanksgiving weekend, I am deciding to embrace all of the things I cannot change.

  • My husband. If I could change what I don’t understand about Mac, someone else could change what I do understand, and love, and often secretly marvel at. I’d rather that not be the case.
  • The garage. It’s never going to be clean. It’s a black hole of old boxes with mysterious markings like “Donnie’s flatware.” It’s in handwriting I don’t recognize, and we don’t know anyone named Donnie. We also have bits of electrical equipment I don’t know how to use, a breadmaker from 2001, a giftwrap plastic holder that doesn’t close properly, giftwrap covered in finely ground sawdust, a sit-up exercising frame I should be using, a powersaw I should not, and an enormous bag of red solo cups. Who the hell is leaving flatware, cups and exercise equipment in my garage? I blame Donnie Wahlberg.
  • My students. I can teach, guide, ask, cajole, wheedle, bark, instruct and demonstrate. Not change.
  • My abdomen. My abdomen is a rogue nation in my world. The head negotiated with it, the heart pleaded with it, the gallbladder attacked it. Eventually the hand signed forms to remove large chunks of it and the legs gave up enabling it all the time. My mouth has imposed sanctions. My nerves are shot because of it. A coalition of the willing (eyes and feet) got it to as many specialists as it took, and still takes, to keep it in line with the global philosophy. They have all failed to make peace with it. So my ears are listening to every other body part and deciding some things will never be fixed.. We have extended a peacekeeping force to do what can be done.
  • Cat hair. We vacuum every day and dust three times a week. I don’t know where it comes from. We only have one cat. I wonder if he fleeces other cats and secretly brings it in while we’re at work. Every week I have enough hair to construct a whole new cat if I want. I’m thinking of going into the pillow business.
  • My friends’ friends. I never cared until Facebook. I’d better stop caring so much or I’m going to cyberthrottle someone I couldn’t pick out of a lineup in real life.
  • The plight of every suffering person.
  • The situation of every impoverished person.
  • The pain of every person who can’t tell Coke is better than Pepsi
  • The dried cereal stuck to my child. He can’t quit dropping the cereal puffs out of his mouth. They’re stuck EVERYWHERE. On the back of the highchair, on his butt, on the living room rug. I find them stuck in his hair, on bibs that got gluten-glued to diapers in his diaperbag, in the meshy part of his pack’n’prison. They’re mashed into the cat’s tail, on the welcome mat by the back door, in the mouth of the stuffed lion on his activity center, the back of Mac’s sweater and clogging up my tub’s drain. I have an incredible plan concerning cost-effective pothole repair with a Gerber sponsorship.These things are delicious cement just waiting to be activated by a hungry baby.
  • Donald Trump. He’s a natural disaster much like a tornado or a hurricane. You can’t stop it on your own, your best bet is to band together and help everyone in the aftermath.
  • Diapers
  • Dammit. Mac called me on my bullshit.
    • See the first sentence.

A short list of things that confuse me

There are times that I look around at the university where I lecture and think to myself “are we all sure I’m the person who is supposed to be up here?” Don’t get me wrong; theatre and how it intersects with culture is genuinely my passion. I have spent more than 20 years learning about it, doing it and writing about it. Passing that on to other people is freaking great. Generally speaking, I feel anyone who clearly remembers life before the internet has a place on the college campus; we are living history and what we went through will genuinely be forgotten by next Tuesday if we don’t tell people about life BPC (Before Personal Computers).

That said, there are things about baby gear that confuse the hell out of me. I don’t just feel curious, or befuddled, or even inadequate. Baby gear makes me feel DUMB. To wit:

  • why do baby bottles have rings? The ones in the hospital that you throw away every two ounces like you are a rapper in a video don’t have rings. But the at-home model does. Why can’t we just shape plastic like the ring is attached?
  • Without looking it up, tell me the differences between cloth diapers that are AIO, pre-fitted, pocket, hybrid and/or 2 in 1. For extra credit identify what a “leg gusset” is and explain why a diaper has something that sounds like part of a saloon whore’s costume.
  • Nipple sizes. Newborn, 2, 3…two what? three what? If you’re thinking of looking directly at a full bottle and squirting it to see if that edifies you, please take a picture. I’d like very much to know what the expression on my face was.
  • How does my baby know when I’m standing? We can jiggle him for a solid hour while he cries. Jiggle and walk, jiggle and walk. We jiggle him until our hands are numb and there’s a disturbing tic in my eye every time I move my shoulder. ANYTHING to keep him from crying. The second we sit to jiggle? The baby unleashes the hounds of hell directly out of his face. How did he know we sat while we jiggled? HOW?
  • He spent at least 36 weeks in utero hearing Spanish. Do I sound weird to him? If not, why not?
  • Finally, I own this and use this and it still confuses the hell out of me how I got here.
  • nosefrida-the-snotsucker-nasal-7898

Fashion for Infants

As a new parent, one of your most basic obligations is keeping your child appropriately dressed for the weather. Plus, we all know those little tots attract lots of fans looking for adorable photo ops! By following these simple steps your Baby will be Red Carpet ready in a flash!

1. Determine the size of your baby. Baby clothing can be listed in weight or in months. If you have a fat baby, the months will seem too small. If you have a skinny baby the months will seem too big. If you have twins the months will seem to last forever and ever and you’ll drink a lot. The most important thing is that no matter what size your child is now, that will change in a week and you’ll have shrunk all of the clothing in the dryer by then anyhow. Your best bet is to befriend very forgetful people and get them to throw you a shower approximately four times a year.

2. Determine the season. If it’s warm out, dress the baby in that outfit that looks like she’s going to the beach. If it’s cold out, start with that and then add layers until she’s spherical. Then add a hat. Everybody fucking loves babies in hats.

3. If you don’t know how to put on a onesie, follow my handy guide:

  • Baby clothing is often colorful and fun. If your onesie looks muted or boring, ask yourself if you are Amish. If you are not, then you probably have a fun and colorful onesie that is simply inside out. Fix it or don’t, nobody here is judging you.
  • Put your hand in any random onesie hole. Pull the baby’s arm through that hole. If it looks like the baby’s wearing a turtleneck, you’ve identified an armhole. Rotate onesie 90 degrees and put that hole on an arm.
  • If you see snaps over the baby’s head, you’ve identified where his butt goes. Turn the onesie 180 degrees and try again.
  • If your baby has an arm through each hole, a head out of one hole and his butt down by another hole, then I’d call it good because it has been 20 minutes and we haven’t even gotten to pants yet.
  • If you insist on pants, put one leg through a leg hole. Put the other leg through the other leg hole. Notice the pants are too loose. Realize you forgot a diaper. Pull the pants off. Put a diaper on the baby. Diapers are supposed to be colorful and fun. If your diaper is not colorful and fun, ask yourself if you are Amish. If you are not, then you have been using old-fashioned white cloth diapers for no reason and boy, am I about to BLOW YOUR MIND.
  • Now that you know we have colorful absorbent diapers with wetness indicators and all they are costing us is Mother Earth, back to the pants. Put one leg in the leghole. Put the other leg in the other leghole. Then put the first leg back in the first leghole. Repeat until you figure out you have to grab him and slide up the pants over his butt really fast.
  • Socks. It’s important that the socks match, so that when she kicks one off and you file the Missing Sock Report you can tell the police “it looked just like this one.”

In the final analysis, there is no “right” or “wrong” way to dress a baby, unless you put high heels on an infant. If you do that, then I’d like to come to your house and tell you about all the things being Amish has to offer. Otherwise, have a good time and don’t forget the hats.

Hoods are also acceptable

Hoods are also acceptable

The State of Iowa Congratulates You!

Congratulations! You have decided to become parents in another state over the holidays. Let us be the first to say, your timing is ludicrous. When your adoption agency tells you it will take a few days to settle the Interstate Compact, what they are really saying is “you’ll be lucky to get it done before your child is eligible for Social Security benefits.”

For your reference, here is a guide to what you can expect from the State of Iowa concerning your Interstate Compact.

  1. The fingerprints you have done every year that you were with an Iowa-based adoption agency are not sufficient. Neither are the ones you had taken in Nebraska by both the Sheriff and Police Department. You will need a new set taken in Iowa and sent to the FBI. This must be done before we start the paperwork. You arrived on the 22nd, we don’t work over Christmas, and then after you get it done we won’t submit it to the court until after the New Year.
  2. The only place to get your prints done in Council Bluffs, this is absolutely true, is the UPS store. We don’t know why, either.
  3. While all of this is happening, you cannot cross into Nebraska for ANY reason with the child. This means that you will need to spend three weeks in a hotel. This is above any costs you have already incurred for home studies, adoption fees and necessities for the baby.
  4. All paperwork sent to Nebraska is sent via traditional mail. The government can communicate with people living in the International Space Station, but they cannot use email to complete interstate adoption paperwork.
  5. For anyone wishing to express a grievance with this antiquated system, you may lodge a complaint between 2:00 and 2:07 pm on every other Thursday. The Complaints Division is located at the UPS store. We don’t know why, either.
  6. Incidentally, we are well aware that this is the least-gross way to conduct the business of adoption. Your small, private agency allowed you to apply for an adoption when you were turned away from several traditional Nebraska venues. We know you were turned away because you hadn’t been married long enough (three years for the State of Nebraska, which is understandable) or because you could not register with a religious adoption agency. If you are atheist, as your husband is, you have very real trouble adopting in Nebraska. In fact, some agencies want a letter from your pastor to help prove you’re a good person before you can start the process. It doesn’t matter that you hold good jobs, are involved in your community, pay taxes and genuinely care about helping humankind…if you are Good Without a God then you are also Childless Without a Chance.

Let us not ignore, though, that this bureaucratic bullshit is nothing, absolutely non-existent, compared to what you found when you began looking for private adoption agencies. We are, of course, talking about the sliding scale of race that you got from most of the agencies you researched. The documents that laid out, in black and white (pun intended but still repugnant) how skin color determines what you pay for your adoption.

So that this is COMPLETELY OBVIOUSLY CLEAR, we are going to explain it like we’re talking to a four year old. IN AMERICA, WE PRICE BABIES ACCORDING TO HOW WHITE THEY ARE.

Here is a price list from an agency in Florida. Similar scales were sent from MO and GA.

African American track (100% Black) adoptions are free to apply for. Final cost of adoptions, about $14,000

All other adoption tracks cost a non-refundable $500 application fee.

Biracial (mixed with black) $14,000 to $18,000

Latino, other designations $14,000-$20,000

Biracial (not mixed with black) $18,000 to $25,000

Caucasian boys $25,000 and up

Caucasian girls starting at $30,000

Prices vary according to medical expenses and needs of the birth mother.

You will hear many debates on why this is fair. It mostly has to do with white people not receiving as much government assistance, so the birthmoms deserve more money. Nobody ever points out that these fees can be held separately from medical fees. There’s a mysterious wormhole in the fabric of the adoption universe that sucks up more money when everyone involved is white. So, in conclusion, while there are many conversations to be had, ranging from “this is a supply and demand equation” to “doesn’t this speak directly to why we need to discuss race more, not less in America?” let us not forget the most important factor here: this is fucked up.

All in all, it takes three weeks, tons of money, a paperchase that will end in 2022 and you’re living in a room the size of a postage stamp. But this is what happens when you use a small, ethical agency that collects one uniform fee for one beautiful child. Your child, who is at once the most expensive thing in the known world and the most priceless.

The State of Iowa regrets that we’re out of copies of our free booklet Explaining to Your Children Why It’s Offensive to Designate Them 3/5 of a Human Being but Not Offensive to Charge 3/5 of a White Child to Adopt Them.

Congratulations again on your newest tax break.

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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