More on Babies. Or, You Get Just As Cranky When You Have the ‘Bubble Guts’.

In keeping with the recent influx of people I know having babies, I recently wrote something for someone on colic. So I figured, ‘Why the not build on it here?’. So I did.

As I mentioned the other day, if your people reading skills have been lacking, having a child is going to sharpen them to a razor edge. It’s perfectly normal to be on tenterhooks when you bring your little wiggle worm home. Hopefully, you had gotten your shit together and baby proofed accordingly and figured all that you needed to figure out ahead of time.

Be fore warned: the day is going to come when that little bundle of joy is going to cry. Nonstop. It will transform before your very eyes from said bundle of joy into a shapeless vacuum that exists off of the sleep your supposed to get and what’s left of your sanity.

The ‘Honeymoon’ Will Be Ending Shortly.

As I have been alluding to, it may seem like the only things a baby can do is sleep, inhale food, make messes, and cry. Babies are like icebergs: there is a lot more going on under the surface. I humbly submit to you the following points:

  • The differences between the ‘I’m hungry’ cry, the ‘I’m tired’ cry, or the ‘You’re going to have to clean up a horrible mess in a minute’ cry. Yep, they communicate like wolves.
  • The reason that they throw stuff on the floor from the high chair isn’t to annoy you: they want to know what sound it makes.
  • The logic behind everything going into their mouth is in a roundabout way how they gather information (and build their palettes).

Re-read points two and three: Bet you didn’t know the little fuckers were scientists, right? As they make the jump from formula (or breast milk) to food, that’s when it happens: that’s when you, as a parent, ENTER THE VOID.

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Ever eat something that didn’t agree with you? Ever have a meal ‘cheat’ day that went complete batshit off the rails and then wonder the next day why in the fuck you can’t make a deposit and the Local Bank of Your Toilet?

It’s the same principle. Babies get the bubble guts because their gut-system is still in the ‘install’ phase.

There is something that you can do.

You Gotta Rub That Shit Out. 

That’s right: Rub their bellies. Fuck, still having trouble after that cheat day? Rub your own damn belly. It. Works. 

Not only does Infant massage using moderate pressure help with colic and gas, but it has also been documented that preterm babies benefitted from this practice through increased weight gain, bone density, and overall behavior.

Dad, feeling left out because you ain’t got the boobs your kid wants? Get up on that belly rubbin’!

The good thing about infant massage is that you can start the practice as soon as the child is three days old and you can do it up to four times a day for two weeks. Just don’t do it right after a meal and pay attention to how the kid acts: sometimes they just don’t want to get rubbed on. 

How To Rub Your Baby.

First things, first: make sure that there isn’t any sort of loud shenanigans going on in your home. If it’s distracting to you, it’s going to be distracting to the kid. Then make sure that you’re comfortable when you sit down with them. Again, if you aren’t comfy, they won’t be either. 

Prior to first contact, it’s just like giving your boo a rub down: clip the nails, take off the jewelry, warm up the hands, maybe get the massage oil. The only difference between rubbing your boo and rubbing your baby is that you all ready got the end result of what you were hoping to get prior to the last rub down. (Sickos).

Lay the kid on their back so eye contact can be maintained.

When massaging, use slow, firm, and gentle belly rubs, in a clockwise motion. This is important because it follows the direction of your baby’s intestines. It also moves any trapped farts and baby shit. (You lucky dawg).

In the end, even if massaging doesn’t ease your baby’s colic, don’t be afraid to set the kid down in their crib and walk away. There’s only so much that you can do before you become one of those parents who are freaking the fuck out because the kid is crying and won’t stop. Kids cry. It’s what they do.

P.S.

Our kids still complain about tummy aches to us to this day. Like we’re wizards and all we have to do is wave our magic wands and POOF your belly ache is dispelled in that rotten egg fart that was the culprit to begin with.

As a result of such a complaint, we make fun of said offending child. Why? BECAUSE WE FUCKING TOLD THEM THAT BELLY ACHES ARE OUT OF THE RANGE OF OUR SCOPE OF DUTIES. Ad fucking naseum. As you can see, I’m not a monster: I’m entitled. There’s a difference. 

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Randomness about babies.

The only foreseeable downside about starting this blog when I did is the fact that my kids aren’t babies anymore. They are growing children hurtling towards adulthood. Because of that, I tend to focus more on the now of parenting instead of the how it was.

Be that as it may, a bunch of people in my life have had babies of their own over the past four months. In honor of those occasions, I present to thee a really random list of baby related knowledge that I have gleaned over the years.

  1. When it comes to naming the kid, think about how they will respond to the name you’ve christened them with when they are 60. If you name your daughter Talulah Belle and she makes it to 60, there’s a strong possibility that she’s going to be a complete fruitcake from all of the shit that she’s caught over the years because you thought her moniker sounded pretty.
  2. Guys, when your wife (or baby-mama) is pregnant you need to treat her like the fate of the world relies on her having an easy 9 months. Because in reality, the fate of your world really does rely on that. If she’s not one to be fussed over, don’t sweat it. Just do what you can. If you’re one of those guys that doesn’t want to accept that having a kid is going to change everything, consider this: how you act now (at the gestation stage of your spawn) is going to cast a very long shadow over the rest of your natural life. Long story short? If mom has an easy nine months because you’ve been her point person, everything else ought to fall into line.
  3. Also, guys, in the event of an unplanned pregnancy, what the woman decides is law. If she wants to have it without you, you need to be an adult and tell her how that makes you feel. If she wants to start a family with you, and you aren’t ready, you need to be up front with her. If she doesn’t want the baby at all and is planning on aborting, you need to be the bridge that gets her to the other side of that. What you believe in doesn’t matter: it’s her fucking body.
  4. Before the child is born, YOU MUST COORDINATE ACCORDINGLY (read: be prepared). Make a plan with your significant other about how the 2am feedings should be handled. Figure out where the crib is going to be. If it’s your first kid (and her second) you still are entitled to have a baby shower. Baby showers (while weird because it’s a bunch of women and the father) are fucking fantastic because you’ll be around family members you haven’t seen in years and they’ll be handing you shit you’re going to need the day the stork arrives. In the months leading up to my son being born, I made a point of buying one thing a week that we might need. Toys, books, clothes, whatever. It adds up. When we brought him home, he was ‘comfortable’.
  5. Get it in your head now: YOU’RE LIVING FOR SOMEONE ELSE NOW, NOT YOURSELF. Everything you do, even if it is taking care of yourself, is now a means to (hopefully) a happy and healthy life for your child(ren). I’m of the opinion that families fail when one or both of the parents can’t accept this.
  6. Kids thrive when there is a routine in place. The day starts at the same time every day and ends at the same time everyday. Meals are served as close to the same time as you can get them (shit happens we all know that, so don’t sweat it if the meal times are going to be off every now and again). Nap time happens at the same time everyday. And yes, they need to be cleaned every fucking day. Wiggle worms telegraph like a punch drunk boxer. You can tell what kind of day you’re going to have by breakfast if you are fairly decent at reading people. If you’re not, you need to fix that shit. Don’t know how? Talk less and listen more. That’s all you have to do.
  7. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DON’T BE A PARENT WHO ENCOURAGES BABY TALK!  Firstly, you look and sound like an asshole when you do it. Secondly, this is the number one reason why kids have trouble when it comes to language acquisition. When you encourage improper grammar and pronunciation, the kid thinks its proper. It’s that simple. Lastly, the more you talk to the kid (regardless of their age), the easier it will be for them to communicate. Also, if you keep talking to them, they’ll keep talking to you when it matters (teenager-dom and onward).
  8. Additionally, kids, regardless of age need to feel like their opinion matters. That’s right: you need to listen to the little shits too. Yes, even babies. You might think that all they are doing is making noise because they can but I have always been of the opinion the noises mean something. Yes, you will feel stupid. However if you approach it like a rational conversation, it will pay off. I have prided myself on having one on one time with all three of my kids where I just let them ramble and it has always paid off. They are always secure in the fact that they can say anything to me even if it is fucked up. Granted if it is fucked up, or if it has to do with a larger problem, you need to let their mother know.
  9. Playtime and interaction with the child at ‘the baby stage’ is crucial. Everything that happens to them those first couple of months, is new and exciting for them. I’m sure you’re thinking “Thanks: I’ll file that under No Shit Sherlock. What most people don’t really express is that playtime tires the little motherfuckers out. Want junior to hit nap time/bedtime like they were running a marathon? Then you need to make it happen. Case in point: A million years ago, it was just me and my eldest child at the house. She was about two years old and she was being a little fucker for most of the morning because of who knows why. Her nap time came right after lunch (because everyone, EVERYONE wants to nap after having a big, delicious-ish meal. NUDGE NUDGE WINK WINK new parents). So I figured if I keep her going with the playtime up until lunch and then after lunch we go for a walk around the neighborhood, nap time ought to be a cinch. Everything proceeds according to plan. When we go for the walk, she’s whining almost immediately. I pay her no mind and we keep walking. At that age, she was a runner. Naturally, I made a point of holding hands so she doesn’t get any ideas. We make it down to the end of our streets and she shuts up. We get to the next block, parallel with our house and I feel my entire arm move like a whip crack. I look at my shoulder and follow the trail of my arm down to my hand that’s holding the hand of my eldest and I see that she’s looking down. Naturally, I’m thinking she’s tripped on a loose shoelace. I go in for a closer look, she’s snoring. Little shit must of been walking whilst asleep.

DID I NEGLECT SOMETHING? SALLY FORTH IN THE COMMENTS AND I’LL ADD IT TO THE LIST!

Having trouble finding a decent library and/or comic shop?

Moving sucks. Changing residences, that is. Not physical movement. Well… Sometimes that sucks too but that’s besides the point.

The last time my Wife and I moved, it was to the other side of our hometown. This wasn’t that big of a change as we were familiar with “that side of town”. We had always lived in areas where things were easy to get to (street lay outs made sense, things were connected by highways, everything was within reasonable walking distance).

Our first order of business after all of the dust settled from relocating was where the library was. We were lucky with our first two apartments. Both libraries were within walking distance. Pretty handy when you have young kids you’re raising.

The 2nd to last time we moved really sucked. On “that side of town”, nothing was connected by any semblance of a highway. It’s all side streets and main drags (none of which seem to go by a traditional grid structure that Civil Engineers use today, everything tends to veer one way or the other…) and roundabouts (of which, people drive like assholes in).

We eventually found the libraries within our area (which weren’t within a reasonable amount of walking distance) but an idea struck me: Is there a search engine for libraries?

Yes there is!

The National Center for Education Statistics has created a search engine for Public Libraries.

As a litmus test, I entered all of my previous addresses and it correctly brought up all of the libraries within the areas entered.

Link to it, favorite it, bookmark it now. You’ll thank me later.

Through a fluke coincidence, as I was starting the second installment of The Umbrella Academy I discovered something remarkable on the bottom of the masthead page, (Thats the page after the title page inside any given book. I don’t know if that’s the proper term for the page that credits everyone involved with making a graphic novel collection per se, I just know that that is the common term in publishing.) the Comic Shop Locator Service, (888)-266-4226.

I was intrigued, so I dialed the number. Servicing America and Canada, this is an automated service that gives you the address and telephone number of every possible Comic Shop within a given area code. I wish I would have had something like this around when I was a kid.

While this post may seem like a feeble attempt to promote independent ownership in an age when convenience is dominant, consider this: it unfortunately is.

In an age when computers and big box retailers are running the gamut on ALL types of literature, plugging an automated location service seems a little redundant.

It doesn’t hurt to try, though.

To locate a comic shop near you, call toll free (888)-266-4226. To find a library click here!

In which, I talk about adopting parental figures.

Once upon a time, the idea of two people getting divorced within the realm of America was considered wildly verboten. As we progressed down our timeline, our collective minds evolved and concluded that regardless of our religious stance, if it isn’t working between two people, they should be allowed to divide their assets and go their separate ways.


I am a child of the 1980’s. While I can’t speak to the cultural happenings of this time (because I wasn’t old enough to know the difference between my ass and a hole in the ground), I can unequivocally state that divorce became the in vogue experience that a large percentage of middle class families slogged through.

Even though I was the youngest of four children, My family was no exception to this event.

By the 1990’s I found my toes on the edge of being a teenager. It wasn’t pretty. I was lonely and horny all of the time and I didn’t know how to talk to anyone, let alone girls. I was angry all of the time because I was being shared between two people who didn’t get it right with my first 3 predecessors and now they were trying to get it right with me but they were doing it in two different ways.

Serendipitously speaking I was a lucky son of a bitch because I effectively came of age when the era of “Grunge” redefined a stale musical landscape. I was awash in music that defined how I felt. Anger, horniness, isolation and loneliness: it was all there and I could tap into it every time I turned the radio dial or punched in the channel numbers for MTV.

When I officially became a teenager, my sister, the oldest of us kids, and the one person of our family who guided me the most, proffered some sage-like wisdom to me:

“Find some surrogate parents. Ours are ok, but they’re never going to be able to be the parents that they ‘should be’ for you. They’re more concerned with ending their parenting stint on a high note at any cost”.

I’m paraphrasing of course but she was absolutely right. While my parents did have their hearts in the right place, they constantly butted heads on the wrong things, let things slide that shouldn’t have been slippery in the first place, and imbued me with a certain amount of schizophrenia due to the fact that their parenting styles were drastically different.

Shortly after my sister dropped that bomb on me, I took it upon myself to adopt the mother of my best friend at the time. I never told him this. Don’t know why, I can’t imagine that it would have mattered to him. But his mother always treated me like I was one of her kids.

It was nice and weird at the same time. I could make her laugh and she seemed genuinely interested in me and what was going on in my life. When I went back to my own home, or my father’s home, I didn’t get the same level of consideration for various reasons.

Finding a surrogate father proved a little more difficult as most of my friends were refugees from divorce as well. Their dads had their hands full as it was. They didn’t need someone else’s kid sniffing around their domicile.

Then, in 1994 the single ‘Liar’ by Rollins Band gained heavy air play.

This… This was the guy that I saw in the Mac ad in one of my sister’s Rolling Stone magazines a few years prior. This was the guy who went on to write for that same magazine for a short period of time. His level of anger seemingly matched my level of anger. That is to say, I felt that we were both of the same mind.

I adopted Henry Rollins as my surrogate father.

As I dived deep into the corner of time that this person claimed as his own, I was overjoyed to learn that there were books and spoken word albums as well.

Henry got me through a lot.


My teens gave way to my 20’s and like with all relationships, familial and otherwise, I grew up and moved on. It’s not that there was anything wrong with what Henry was talking about at the time. It just didn’t resonate with me as much.

Throughout my 20’s and into my 30’s, I was bludgeoned with life changes.

A certain series of events with multiple friendships had shown me that those friends, the relationships that I had had with them, had run their course. It was the first time in nearly a decade that I had been as lonely as I was in gradeschool.

I was the caregiver for my father for the last 3 years of his life.

I left a job I was at for over a decade in search of other, more suitable employment.

I rooted down and started a family of my own. I experienced job loss when I need it the most: shortly after my 3rd child was born. I felt the pain that comes with having to ask for help when I have never had to do that before.

Life was moving on even though I was hanging on by my fingertips.


Through the miracle of podcasts, I found my way back to Mr. Rollins within the past couple of years. It had been a while since I had listened to anything that he had to say, so I figured “Why the fuck not?”

Everything resonated with me the way that most of his early stuff resonated with me. It was dumbfounding. What I heard, and I deep-dived again, was the voice and thoughts of someone who was trying to clear a path in the world for the younger generation. A thing of which, I have been trying to do for my own children.

Of course, this re-ignited my fandom. On occasion, I’d fire up some of his spoken word stuff (the stuff from this century) and use it as background noise. One day, I caught something, an idea that he was trying to get across.

I was listening to him tell the story of when he got to play with the Ruts during their benefit show for their ailing guitar player. During the second half of the story, he was going on about all of the ‘surrogate fathers’ of the bands that he idolized when he was a kid who were also playing the same benefit.

What I thought was “Doesn’t he realize that he is in the same position of surrogacy?”

Maybe he has. Maybe someone else has all ready brought this to his attention. I can’t imagine that he’d bring it up himself.

Henry Rollins may not be a legitimate dad, but he’s been a father for a lot of us. I for one, am grateful for it.