Tag Archives: Babies

Giving birth in hot tubs (this post is for my lady readers)

Giving birth in hot tubs = not cool. I Stumbled upon a birthing stories website yesterday and was horrified to find pictures of a lady in a bathing suit delivering a child in her patio hot tub. Her husband and daughters looked on while she pulled her one-piece aside and pushed out a baby. Later she wrapped herself in a bathrobe and went to take a shower.

Hot tubs are for drinking beer out of cans and making out, NOT for soaking in afterbirth. I’d link you to the website but I don’t want to offend the mother. Plus she’d know immediately that I am less of a woman than she is. Babies are cute and they make me laugh and cause my uterus to flutter, but the second I start thinking about birthing one of them they all start looking like slippery little ogres.

I also saw a scary video yesterday of a puppy who thrashes to death metal music. That video and the hot tub birthing pictures combined to ruin my night. I was looking forward to relaxing under the spa jets with my puppy in one arm and my newborn baby in the other, and suddenly all I could see was blood and teeth.

Pop quiz for the moms

Your baby’s hungry. Your baby’s hands are cold and chapped.

Do you

a) remove your baby from the cold and let him gum yogurt, applesauce, or chunks of banana until his hunger pangs are soothed?


b) rub Victoria’s Secret lotion into your baby’s skin and then feed him rainbow mini marshmallows from a plastic baggie?

I’m not a mom. I don’t know what’s right. I don’t judge. I just happen to hang out at the same places as hungry babies: Saturday night sporting events, hotdog stands, ice cream shops, gun ranges, and marshmallow factories.

Cracking nuts

I’ve decided to take the GRE, so there. What are you doing with your life that’s so great? I’m studying basic algebra.

Originally this post was going to be about ballet. This afternoon I introduced a three-year-old girl to The Nutcracker with 1977 vintage Mikhail Baryshnikov (swoon!). Everything was going awesome until she asked me about the bump in the crotch region of his tights. I was honest with her, and she quickly moved on with her life, but for the rest of the ballet I watched Mikhail exclusively from the waist down and worried that I was actually showing her pornography instead of a nostalgic piece of my childhood.

Scientific America article on raising smart kids

This Scientific American article hits really close to home because lately I feel like a lazy kid with more learned helpless than intrinsically motivated behaviors. When I read the article, I was waking up from a two-hour afternoon power nap. Instead of arising from the couch with the dream-inspired plot for my next novel, I arose with a need to surf the internet. Luckily the StumbleUpon gods had a life lesson in store for me. I think I have been putting too much stock in being innately talented or innately not talented and not enough stock in trying to be better. I mean yes, I’m a genius, but even geniuses have to stay awake for more than three hours at a stretch in order to accomplish anything.

The Scientific American website summarizes the article’s key concepts so I don’t have to:

Many people assume that superior intelligence or ability is a key to success. But more than three decades of research shows that an overemphasis on intellect or talent—and the implication that such traits are innate and fixed—leaves people vulnerable to failure, fearful of challenges and unmotivated to learn.

Teaching people to have a “growth mind-set,” which encourages a focus on effort rather than on intelligence or talent, produces high achievers in school and in life.

Parents and teachers can engender a growth mind-set in children by praising them for their effort or persistence (rather than for their intelligence), by telling success stories that emphasize hard work and love of learning, and by teaching them about the brain as a learning machine.

From now on I will try to focus on effort rather than on being a terrible writer or a good writer. I will also stop telling little kids that they were born stupid and/or they should just give up, and focus instead on complimenting their determination to finish three-piece puzzles.

Virginia Safari Park

The Virginia Safari Park in Natural Bridge, VA is the saddest, most wonderful adventure you can take from an Interstate 81 exit. First, a photo essay:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Hi, furry cow creature. Do you want to wipe your boogers on Darren’s hand?

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Look Harper! Baby piglets! We can just throw them some grain from this bucket and…

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Holy shit! Roll up the window!

This was actually our second trip to the park. The first time, on Gene’s birthday, we thought it was a good idea to safari in the back of a pick-up truck. I still cannot believe this is legal–we must have signed some incredible waiver when we bought our tickets. Darren was gored by a tusked beast while he was trying to feed an ostrich from his bucket. He still has a scar. This time, we took Harper in a tusk-proof Saturn station wagon. Without automatic windows, we had a few close calls, but mostly we just got snotted on. The zebras were isolated this year, which was fortunate. They will bite off your face if you give them a chance. No wonder Jared Diamond said they were immune to domestication.

Attempts have been made to train zebras for riding since they have better resistance than horses to African diseases. However most of these attempts failed, due to the zebra’s more unpredictable nature and tendency to panic under stress. For this reason, zebra-mules or zebroids (crosses between any species of zebra and a horse, pony, donkey or ass) are preferred over pure-bred zebras. (link)

Wow, that was distracting. So anyway we fed giraffes from our hand, pet pygmy goats, saw a kangaroo with an upside-down baby in her pouch, and whispered sweet nothings to an albino tiger cub. Whatever–I’m so over it. Step it up next year, Virginia Safari Park. I need a unicorn or a baby dragon or something. I can fondle llamas at home.

(More pictures…)

Alice Proujansky

In 2006 New York photographer Alice Proujansky went to the Dominican Republic to document the lives born and the lives lost in a dismally-funded maternity ward. Here are some of the affecting images she captured on film.

Head count of naked children

I’m very grateful to Little Babushka for chronicling Sunday’s epic birthday party so I wouldn’t have to. For me, leaving the party was like waking up from a wonderful, but equally intricate and exhausting dream. I could have written down the dream, but I was still in a fugue state and didn’t think I could make any literary sense out of it. So thank you, LB, for putting words to the madcap house of mirrors that was the Insolent Child’s third birthday party.

Why grown men shouldn’t be afraid of babies

Gentlemen, I know that sometimes babies can be scary. They like women better than they like you and  they can make you feel like a total zero by crying in your arms in front of other people. You don’t have boobs to feed them with and it’s hard to remember age-appropriate songs to sing to them. It’s all very unnerving. However next time you are in a nursery, here are some thoughts to fortify and encourage you:

1. You are much bigger than a baby. You could probably smash one under the heel of your shoe.

2. Babies are more scared of you than you are of them.

3. Bird babies eat throw-up. Human babies know that’s disgusting. Wouldn’t you prefer to wipe baby vomit off a onesie than to watch some little person swallow its own mother’s chunks?

4. You get laid more than a baby and you can hold your alcohol better. If you were in a fraternity together, these facts would make you a superior frat brother to the baby.

5. Babies that don’t talk yet are especially intimidating, because they could be thinking hateful thoughts about you. But you can use this to your advantage. You can imagine things a loser would say and then say them aloud in a baby voice. Everyone will get that you’re imitating the baby and they will laugh because everything a baby might say is stupid funny. “Sometimes I think I only have to fart and then I accidentally poop myself in public.” Secretly, you will know that the baby was just shamed. One day you can remind the baby that you won this early power struggle.

6. You really won’t drop the baby. Everyone thinks this is going to happen but it rarely does. And men tend to have bigger hands and more practical shoes than women so they are even less likely to spill the goods. If you are still worried, just sit with the baby in your lap in a comfortable chair, or if you are throwing the baby up and down, avoid doorways and concrete floors.

7. It doesn’t emasculate you to be majorly into babies. Most women find it really cool when a guy’s best friends are babies, especially if they all wear matching outfits and drink from the same bottle.

8. Here is a tip that I saw once on a television show. It’s for real and it works every time. If you have a crying baby in your arms, just keep saying “Shhhhhh” in a loud and sustained way right in the baby’s ear. This seriously works. The baby shuts up immediately and listens to you like you are God. I guess the sound reminds the baby of being in the womb. Anybody who witnesses this trick will think you’re a genius or a real life Baby Whisperer.

In conclusion, it’s always good to be fearless about babies because your girlfriend may or may not be lying to you about her birth control.

I told you your kids were contaminated

You already know that the biological legacy of our chemical supply is my pet cause. Here’s more from a CNN article today:

Michelle Hammond and Jeremiah Holland were intrigued when a friend at the Oakland Tribune asked them and their two young children to take part in a cutting-edge study to measure the industrial chemicals in their bodies.

[The] tests revealed that their children — Rowan, then 18 months, and Mikaela, then 5 — had chemical exposure levels up to seven times those of their parents.

“[Rowan’s] been on this planet for 18 months, and he’s loaded with a chemical I’ve never heard of,” Holland, 37, said. “He had two to three times the level of flame retardants in his body that’s been known to cause thyroid dysfunction in lab rats.”

The technology to test for these flame retardants — known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) — and other industrial chemicals is less than 10 years old. Environmentalists call it “body burden” testing, an allusion to the chemical “burden,” or legacy of toxins, running through our bloodstream. Scientists refer to this testing as “biomonitoring.”

As usual, some defenders of the chemical legacy say that presence does not equal proof. But wouldn’t we rather err on the side of caution, especially considering how sensitive our bodies are (especially our hormones) and how these same chemicals have been proven to cause cancers and reproductive problems in lab animals?

I hate it when the news makes me preachy. I wish there were more excuses to write about funny stuff, like gay wizards. Quit screwing things up, world!

Sketti dinner

Tonight I attended the Montessori School Spaghetti Dinner, a gala fundraising event that the children call a “sketti dinner” or alternatively a “spasgetti dinner.” We drank powdered lemonade out of paper cups and managed to maintain adult conversation over the din of students pretending to be either monsters or vulnerable peasants being attacked my monsters. Montessori has the world’s prettiest, most tattooed teachers, but they were tired from a day of molding young minds and cooking noodles. They were probably a little disappointed that no parents thought to bring a keg of beer to hide in the playground. I had a great time because I’m crazy about 1) dessert buffets, and 2) small children that other people have raised to be adorable. I heard one little girl on the jungle gym say, “I’m so shwetty from all this running.” After dinner it got dark outside fast and the kids sprinted back and forth like echo-locating bats while Darren and I stumbled around trying not to crash into playground equipment or cute outfits emerging from the night. It was like a scene from Children of the Corn but instead of a cornfield there were swingsets, sandboxes, and parents trying not to drop their cupcakes on the ground. Lastly, there were two canaries living in the dining hall and one little boy tucked himself under the blanket spread over their cage in order to stress them out to within an inch of their lives. I saw the back of his short legs and a convulsing blanket where his head should have been and I knew I had to do something. I caught the boy right before he tipped the cage sideways in order to grab a canary tail through the bars in his marinara-stained fingers. By saving the canaries, I felt like I did my good deed for the night. However our attempt at singing the birds to sleep was foiled because the little boy kept sneezing into the cage.

Excellent dinner, Montessori! May your children go easy on you Monday morning.