Ignoring your screaming baby, and other helpful parenting tips

Today we give all you soon-to-be dads out there important tips on how to become a helpful, responsible father.

We’ll start with how to avoid diaper duty.

This one’s fairly simple: Abandon your sense of smell. It shouldn’t be hard. The female threshold for putting up with foul smells is much lower than a man’s. Women surround themselves with perfumes, sprays, air fresheners and candles with scents like, “Pumpkin-Apple-Autumn-Squash-Falling Leaf Potpourri,” whereas a man may not realize that he has a 3-week-old rotting trout under his couch.

Use this to your advantage. Let the scent of your baby’s horrible emissions reach your wife. When she rolls her eyes at you while taking baby to the changing table for the 214th time in a row, simply reply, “I can’t smell anything” — even though you can smell a steak barbecuing on a neighbor’s grill four houses down.

Just a warning: At some point during the pregnancy, experienced friends or family members will tell you things like, “Poopy diapers aren’t bad when it’s your own child.”

These people are liars. I have yet to unwrap one of my baby daughter’s Pamper explosions and think, “Normally this would be really disgusting, but since it’s my own child, I think it’s wonderful.”

And yet, you do sort of get used to it. A year ago, having another human being’s feces on my elbow would have permanently scarred me. Now it’s part of my morning routine.

In fact, once you have kids, you become immune to all sorts of disgusting stuff. Even while eating.

Normal couple eating dinner:

Wife: “Dear, you’ve got some Hollandaise sauce on your sleeve.”

Husband: “Well that’s just great. Now the night is ruined. Where’s the stain remover? I’ll throw this in the wash and ...”

Couple with a 9-month-old baby eating dinner:

Wife: “Hon, the baby just spit up Gerber green beans all over you.

Husband: “Yeah. Pass the salt.”

This brings us to our next child care tip, which deals with how to keep an infant from screaming. This shouldn’t be too difficult, seeing as how your baby is a gentle, quiet, sweet, precious little angel. Notice I said “Your baby.” Mine, on the other hand, has moments when I’m fairly certain she is possessed by demons. She usually saves these moments for when we’re out in public.

The secret to dealing with a screaming baby is to ignore them and hope your wife or some random stranger drops by to deal with it. The phrase, “I didn’t hear anything” comes in real handy. For example: Say you’re home watching the Denver/New England game, when all of a sudden, the baby gets hungry and starts crying — this despite the fact there’s a crucial third down coming up.

Do you just mentally block out these heartbreaking screams and stay sitting there, engrossed in the game? Obviously not. You’re going to have to get up off the couch and do something about this situation, like turn up the volume.

Yet this may not satisfy your baby. She wants food now, not after this offensive series. So she’ll keep shrieking to the point where neighbors aren’t sure if the noise they hear coming from your house is a teething baby or a raccoon being tortured. This is when your disgusted wife will drop what’s she’s doing, pick up the baby, and take her somewhere to soothe her, like to another room. Or to the porch. Or to her mom’s house in California.

But that’s OK. Yes, you’re probably going to get divorced and lose all child custody rights, but on the bright side, you will have a quiet house for the remainder of the second half.

So that’s my parenting advice for today. You may hate it and think I’m horrible. You may think my tips really stink. Maybe they do. Who knows?

I can’t smell anything.


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