Posts Tagged ‘Parenting’

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The Fancy Plans Guide to Childbirth: Volume 3

August 28, 2010
[The final installment. Originally published Nov. 11, 2009.]

Welcome back to our third, and quite possibly, last installment in the Emmy-award winning instructional series, the Fancy Plans Guide to Childbirth. If you would like to catch up with the rest of the class, please click the following links:
Part I
Part II

This edition will deal with the decisions following the delivery (or as we call it, “afterbirth”). Please bear in mind that most of these decisions will have multiple choices, meaning there is no wrong way to proceed.*

*Except for the “do not do’s” listed below. Do not do those.

Young Starshine Freelove Wilson began to regret ever being born.

Post-Delivery Plans
Now that all the screaming and bloodletting is over, it’s time to celebrate your ability to create life through the magical act of “getting some.”

As your partner heads back to her area for some much-needed drugs and reconstructive surgery, feel free to take a victory lap around your Contact list, letting all your friends and relatives in on the vital statistics:

  • Sex (“It’s a boy!“)
  • Weight (“Less than infinity.”)
  • Length (“Well, keep in mind that he’s less than 4 hours old and the room was a little cold, but I’d say a little under an inch.”)
  • Birth Time (“Shortly after my explanation about the “thing” I had with her sister. Well, half-sister, if you want to get technical.”)
  • Visiting Hours (“I’m sure she’d be happy to see you any time! You say you’re in the lobby? Come on up! She should be back from her crotch-stitching any minute now.”)

Or you can skip the procedure, in which case your child will be ambushed by the physician sometime in his mid-30's.

Circumcision
This used to be an easy decision (“Of course!”) but recently there has been somewhat of a backlash against it.

Simple rule of thumb: make your kid’s package look like yours. In addition to it being somewhat of a bizarre bonding thing, it will also help you avoid awkward conversations with your unsnipped son in the future.

Son: “Dad, why does your [insert stupid ‘penis’ replacement word here] look different than mine?
You: “Good question. You see, my parents were raised in a different era and they made a decision based on an outmoded set of morals…”
Son: “Oh. Are you talking about why they decided not to abort you?”
You: “I think you’re spending too much time with your mom.”

You say this book only contains the "best" baby names? I'll take two!

Choosing a Name
As the proud owner of a brand new child (with that awesome “new child smell”), you will be tempted to saddle your offspring with an imaginative name currently in use by no one else. The potent combination of anxiety and sleeplessness will play tricks on your fragile mind, raising the possibility of cursing your child with a lifetime of humiliation (“Chad Kroeger, Jr.”) or an early death (“River Phoenix,” “Jet Travolta”).

Stick with the classics like Justin or Michael. For the girls, try Jennifer or Jessica. These are great, nearly-Biblical names that have never been associated with skanky, marginal or vapid celebrities.

Some more examples:

  • Gallant – Yes; Goofus – No
  • Jermaine – Yes; Tito – No
  • Jessica – Yes; Ashlee – No
  • Billy Ray – No; Miley – No
  • George Michael – Yes; Andrew Ridgely – No
  • Rozz – Yes; Valor – No
  • Uma – Yes; Oprah – No
  • Sunny – No; Cher – No; Chastity – No
  • Philip – Yes; Yancy – No
  • Fresca – Yes; Tab – No
  • Jif – Yes; Nutella – No

Heavy-handed metaphors exceeding 24 tons exit here.

The Future
Once you have your new arrival home with you, it’s time to start mapping out his life, starting with learning to read in multiple languages by age 3 and culminating in his Master’s degree from Harvard 20 years down the road, at which point you’ll be able to live off his earnings as a groundbreaking inventor/#1 draft pick.

You both will pick out hereditary traits you wish to encourage:

You:
Keep – Famous wit; full head of hair
Toss – Lack of self-motivation; blogger’s insecurity

Her:
Keep – Your full head of hair
Toss – Everything else, starting with that “famous wit”

You can also speculate on some “fallback” options for your pressured child, in case you have set the bar too high.* Some other acceptable choices are fireman, cowboy, homosexual, philosophy professor, protestor-for-hire, SAG member, hitman, psychic friend.

* As if.

Then sit back and watch reality set in as you come to the realization that the TV is doing a better job raising your child than you ever did while trying to keep the saving account/bail fund full of emergency cash.

-CLT

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The Fancy Plans Guide to Childbirth: Volume 1

August 18, 2010
[Here’s a classic set of posts. I refer to them as “classics” because I wrote them AND because they are over 6 months old. Prepare to be splattered with the uterine fluids of learning!  Originally appeared Nov. 24, 2009.]

Congratulations! You’re having a baby!

After what seems like an eternity, you’ll finally get to see the end results of your drunken, fumbling sexual encounter nine months ago.

But hold on. Before you start dangling your new offspring off the nearest balcony, there are several intermediate steps that must be taken. We’ll run down the pre-delivery preparations, the “miracle” of childbirth and some post-delivery issues and concerns.

So grab a notebook and pay close attention. The information here could save your life.*

*Note: Does not contain life-saving information.

Most pregnant women should drink plenty of fluids. However, this one should put that glass the fuck down.

Pre-Delivery

The Labor Bag
Labor can (and most often, will) occur at the most inopportune/inconvenient time. Any number of events may be put on hold including:

  • Getting some sleep
  • Awaiting sentencing
  • Consummating an affair
  • Having a beer with the guys

Due to its last-minute nature, you will need to have a “labor bag” or suitcase of essential items packed and ready to go at all times. Follow these checklists to ensure you arrive at the hospital prepared to deal with any eventuality.

Hers (see Appendix B)

Her kit will contain 185-315 items depending on various factors. The bags/suitcases needed will take up the entire trunk of most mid-sized sedans and weigh between 250-300 lbs.

Please note that this “kit” will always be missing a minimum of one or two suddenly important items. Fancy Plans cannot be held responsible for any shit you might take for not bringing the listed items.

You may be asking what items like “#8 Needle and Gray Thread” or “Steel Magnolias shooting script” are doing on this list. We have no idea, either. The only sure way to find out why it’s important to have is to not bring it. And god help you if that happens.

You’ve been warned.

His

  • Toothbrush
  • Newspaper
  • Cigarettes (optional)

(Note: Any “His” item will be available for purchase on the hospital premises with the exception of the cigarettes, which will be available at a distance inversely proportionate to how badly you need one.)

Hey. Pregnancy is no reason to not arrive in style.

The Trip
As the due date draws closer, begin looking for signs that your partner is in labor. She will often drop several hints (and occasionally, body fluids). Listen closely for telltale phrases such as these:

  • “My water broke.”
  • “The contractions are x minutes apart.” (x = any number less than infinity)
  • “I hate you.”
  • “We need to go.”
  • “Now.”
  • “I can’t believe you slept with my sister!”
  • “My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.”

From here, you have more choices to make.

Should you drive yourself? If you feel confident in your ability to make it from Point A to Point B in a minimum amount of time, while providing very occasional comfort to your partner between dodging suddenly oncoming traffic and tenacious highway patrolmen, go ahead and pick this option.

If you would rather that someone else handled the driving, freeing you up to calm your partner, consider asking a close friend or family member to take the wheel. Be aware that your partner’s highly emotional state will likely result in a sudden, high-volume airing of your “dirty laundry.” Depending on who is involved, this may result in some awkwardness, some of which will persist for years.

Perhaps your best bet is to call a cab. First, the presence of a complete stranger will reduce the awkwardness felt as all your worst traits and choices are put on display. The language barrier may also work in your favor.

Secondly, you can greatly reduce your hospital bill by having the cabbie deliver the baby. All cab drivers are required to pass the Backseat Delivery Certification Exam (BDCE) in accordance with every movie ever made. The only downside (besides ruining your partner’s dream of a clinical, sterile environment staffed by professionals) is you may have to name your child after the driver, which may result in unwieldly monikers such as “Abdullah Stevensen.”

Most healthcare professionals will tell you that it can be very beneficial for a mother in labor to take a walk. This will encourage contractions and can be somewhat calming.)

Consider sending your partner down the eight flights of stairs to hail a cab. She’ll get the “contraction” jumpstart she needs, leaving you time to wrap up the last-minute odds-and-ends like finishing the back nine on Tiger Woods’ Golf or calling her sister to inform her that you won’t be meeting her at the hotel.

Well, apparently they need a bigger arrow because you're still going the wrong way, Einstein.

Checking In
Once you have arrived at the hospital, a million more decisions will need to be made. As the man (and the person not in severe pain and/or covered in their own bodily fluids), these decisions, which will affect both of you, will need to be made both carefully and quickly.

You may also need to answer some questions during check-in. Let’s hope you have been paying attention. Among the many questions you’ll be answering incorrectly are:

  • Due Date (“Ummm… today?”)
  • Dilation (“I think it’s just the harsh hospital lighting.”)
  • Contraction Interval (“Less than infinity.”)
  • Partner’s Last Name (“I’m not sure. The same as her sister’s I think.”)
  • Closest Relative (“Well, her sister’s at the Ramada…”)
  • Known Allergens (“Buckwheat… and… nickel.”)
  • Previous Pregnancies (“This is my first that I’m aware of…”)

Once you have finished fucking these up and sent your partner off to a night full of unnecessary procedures and allergic reactions (all under an assumed name), it’s time to proceed to the delivery room.

Coming up next: The Delivery Room, The Delivery & Documenting the “Miracle.”

-CLT