One of the many things I have discovered during Sidney’s time in utero is that husbands need to participate in activities that under normal circumstances they would veto outright - all in a very important bid to maintain marital bliss. My biggest offering on the altar of “happy pregnant wife” was attending the parenting class.
It is not that I personally have anything against parenting classes, or those that attend. It is simply that I am of the humble opinion that humanity has survived quite some time without sitting through two and a half hours of classroom instruction on how to keep our young alive. Hell, most of you reading this (all 3 of you) probably were raised by parents whom did not attend such a class, and you turned out just fine (all things, of course, being relative). This all being said, so as to keep the “happy pregnant wife” happy, I agreed to attend this farce … er … class.
So, what did I learn in parenting class you may ask? Well, after the aforementioned two and a half hours of “instruction” from an enthusiastic, if not a tad eccentric, lactation consultant (it is what was on her ID badge), I absorbed the following:
1) Pay attention to the child. This is sooo complex. Basically, it boils down to if they are crying, try to find out why. Check for: soiled diaper; hunger; need of burping; fever; or something in the environment that is making them uncomfortable. If all of these check out, and the baby is still crying, he/she may simply have colic. Good luck.
2) Don’t be a moron. No, seriously, some of the things that we were “instructed” to avoid doing would only be engaged in by an abject buffoon. Oh, so I shouldn’t try to feed the baby solid food during the first 3 months of life? Fascinating. Oh, not checking the diaper regularly and changing him may cause diaper rash? Astonishing. Babies cry when they are hungry or need to be burped? Will wonders never cease! I should support the child’s wobbly head until his neck gets stronger? WHO’D HAVE THOUGHT OF THIS, THANK YOU.
3) Fevers are bad. You know, unlike with adults, where a fever is no source of concern. Oh, wait, no. That’s not right, it is a source of concern. So, basically, just like with anyone, call the Dr. if the baby has a fever and find out what to do next. Or, put more simply: see Rules 1 and 2, pay attention to the child and don’t be a moron.
4) Picking up your newborn will likely make them stop crying. If it doesn’t, check for the stuff set forth in Rule 1, ie, pay attention to the child. If that doesn’t work, it’s probably colic. Good luck.
5) No one has any idea what causes colic. In fact, anytime a child spends 3 hours crying without any other discernable cause, they call it colic. If your baby does that despite you following Rules 1 and 2, good luck.
6) SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) is bad. It is also not actually a syndrome. To prevent SIDS, have a new born sleep on its back on a firm mattress with tight sheets and nothing else in the crib that may fall on, roll into or otherwise cover the baby’s face and suffocate him/her; if you are a total moron and leave something in the crib other than the baby, the firm mattress and the tight sheet, checking in on the child as they sleep to make sure nothing has covered his/her face may help the child, but you’re still a moron. I know what you are going to say, “wait Ed, are you saying we have to keep things away from a sleeping baby that might suffocate them? This sounds a lot like Rules 1 and 2.” And you’d be right. PAY ATTENTION TO THE DAMN CHILD AND DON’T BE A MORON.
7) There are a ton of morons having babies. In our class alone I counted 4 such couples. Two highlights, first the geniuses that wanted to know if there was an ”exact fever” the child needed before they called the Dr. I am not talking “if he breaks 100”, they wanted a decimal point reading. Oh, well, 100.2 is fine, but at 100.3 his brain melts. RULE 2 PEOPLE. Then there was the couple that did not quite understand the directions to avoid SIDS, and to top it off, the wife sounded like Natasha from Bullwinkle. So we get such gems as: “so, can I put one pillow under baby for to roll him over slightly? No? What about soft blanket if he get cold? No?” I kept waiting for her to ask: “Can we put family bear skin in crib? No? But it was small bear killed by grandpapa. No? Ok, what about baby bottle of vodka?”
8) Your baby likely will have colic. Good luck.
So, to sum up: pay attention to the child and don’t be a moron. I am so glad I spent those two and a half hours getting that straight. Love you honey.