Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A Man's Guide to Babies

With King Tom and others having "youngins" and Logan about to hit the 6 month mark I thought I'd share what I have learned about this whole baby thing. Going into the new phase in life I had no real idea of what was going to happen. My whole goal was to follow the lead of The Wife and keep my head down and hope Logan made it through. You see no one told me the important things I needed to know about dealing with babies.

First go back and read this previous post and FREAKING DO IT! I'll sum it up in once sentence; If you are having a baby ween yourself off sleep.

After the little one is born and you are in the hospital look around the room and find things that you can take. I'm mostly talking about diapers and formula and anything that is not nailed down that the baby will use. The thing is they are billing you for everything and keeping track of it and if you have any kind of insurance, little things like diapers and formula are such a small part of the bill it's barely going to show up on the section you will have to pay. One set of friends ended up with 15 packages of diapers and 11 formula boxes. We didn't make out with that much, but as we are checking out I asked the nurse for a little extra and she loaded us up.

Here is why the diaper thing is so huge, tell family and friends to buy you stage 2 and 3 diapers. If you can make out like a bandit from the hospital you are set for infant diapers and that leaves you with stage 1 diapers. I still don't fully understand all the stages but the one thing I know Logan was out of infants within a month and was in stage 2 by around 3 month. He is now exiting stage 2 into 3. Baby don't stay in those early stages long so you can afford to buy that first stage. Stock up on the later ones as early as you can. It's not like they are fruit that go bad. We had two giant boxes of stage 3 diapers just sitting in a closet waiting for this day.

When you are using all your gifted diapers, use the ones that you do not have a gift recite first. Babies R Us are crazy about this, we had to jump through hoops to prove that the diapers came from their store so we could exchange them for a larger size. I understand that we live in a time where people are going to try and get away with murder but it gets a little crazy. I'd even say if you are given diapers as a present ask the person for the recipte. I know that might sound a little harsh but freaking diapers are not cheap.

Diapers are freaking expensive and Target brand diapers kick ass! Logan for some reason always pees through Huggies and Pampers, but put him those polka dotted Target brand diapers and he will stay dry. I think I bought 96 diapers for 13 bucks or something last week, now look at how much that would have been with a major brand. For 20 more it's 33.99 and that's on the cheap side. It's a total racked and they know it. It's like professional video cameras, the cameras do not really cost any where from $6,000-20,000 but they know it's niche market and people have to buy them. Diapers are the same, every baby needs them and they are going to make you pay.

Speaking of diapers lets go to what ends up in them... poop. I never changed a diaper till we had Logan and it's an experience. For a new dad here's the deal, it's black and looks like tar at first. It doesn't smell but looks like it came out of a tar pit and a miniature dinosaur bones are in there somewhere. Once the Labrea Tar Pit ends it's not that bad for a while, it's a little messy but still not a lot of smell. Once they start to use more formula then that's when it becomes bad. For some strange reason this smell does not effect women as much as men. She can muscle through when I get the gag reflex going. It must be a mother thing because that smell gets foul and I need to cover my nose. She wants to laugh at me, but hey I could turn into 50s dad and make her do them all so at least I am helping.

Back to the sleep thing, I love sleep and early on I was a creature of the night, now I go to bed early and here is why. Babies have an extra sense that science has not figured out yet. They know when everyone in the house is sleeping and they hate that. Starting out Logan would wake up ever two to three hours and want food. I said I'd take the late night feedings. I'd try and try to stay up until he woke up. Some nights it worked, most nights not so much. The second I'd lay down and start to get into that deep sleep he would scream his head off. It was like clock work and I think infants hate when more than two thirds of the house is asleep. This is where researchers need to be doing their work. My advice is go to sleep and just forget trying to time it out, sleep is your friend.

Another thing for new dads is remember babies are repulsed by testosterone, it's like Brut and any woman under 50, they don't go together. In the beginning if The Wife left for more than two hours I'd have a screaming baby on my hands. The Wife would return and the second I handed Logan to her the insanity would stop. As the months rolled on the time has increased and now I can go about 5 hours before bedlam is unleashed. Don't get frustrated, I've been told this happens to everyone and sometime after a year it changes and babies want their dads more. Just roll with the punches, buy really nice earphones and throw on some speed metal or something loud and wait for that change.

Finally, don't let the mother get all crazy and buy a billion outfits. Logan started out 16 inches
(don't quote me on that) and now he's about 25 inches. Babies grow fast and we have some outfits he has only worn once and a few he never got to wear. The big thing is find friends who have had babies 5 months earlier and someone who is having one after you and share all the clothes. We have two good friends, one with a one year old and another with a 9 month old. We have given them clothes and they have given us the ones they can't use anymore. It's going to save you a ton of money. It might also help to invest in those horse blinders or something to help keep the momma away from the baby clothes section. I may get a few nasty emails and comments from women in my family or passerbys but all I know is The Wife still comes home with new outfits all the time. Most are on clearance but it gets crazy and before you blink the kid is popping out of the outfit.

Some people will read this and think that I am crazy for not realizing all this stuff earlier, but hey for a lot of guys out there this will be new and they need to know this stuff. I'm probably forgetting a lot, if you have a tip add it in the comments or for those that know me email me and I'll try and do more of these. As men we need to stick together and have our own guide to this baby thing.

1 comment:

King Tom said...

You know what, you're absolutely right- there needs to be more out there for regular guys like us about being fathers.

Good point on getting everything you can from the hospital. We already have a box of 1-2 diapers, so it looks like we won't need another. We also got a boat load of clothes from her family (they've already all had kids) and most of them are girls' clothes, so we have all the pink stuff she'll ever need.

At least till her first birthday.