This is deference to Mad Momma's request that I have not done a parenting post for a long time. Actually, I was rather disconcerted by the criticism after taking my son to see a movie. But then, if I had paid attention to feedback all these years, I would have been God!
Having met up with a couple who are expecting their first baby, I was quite amused that the to-be dad does not share my cavalier attitude towards fathering. While I was throwing Mad Momma's kid hither-tither, he very gingerly took him in his arms and seemed very scared of dropping the kid. So, I felt there is some need for easy-to-follow instructions for soon-to-be parents.
On that note, here is some DIY stuff on the most important thing a dad can do in a baby's early life. To remove all doubts, the dad's prime responsibility is Shit. Cleaning, Management and Disposal.
The Diaper SIP
What - do you think - constitutes the biggest chunk of expense in the first year of a baby? All of you who are pointing to the snazzy cot, Fisher-Price toys and Baby GAP clothing items (I did) would be amazed to find out the kind of moolah that goes into the coffers of M/s Pampers, Huggies, Wipro Baby Soft et al. Imagine 15 bucks every 3 hours for a year - and you are looking at two Delhi London return tickets on Virgin!
So, for all parents-in-making, I have the advice of small savings.
The moment the pregnancy is confirmed, buy one packet of 10's diaper every week. If you do this for nine months (36 weeks), you will end up with 360 diapers which will see you through the first 60 days of the baby, which is the most crucial period as that's when you are trying to grapple with hospital bills, office treats, soon-to-become useless toys (bought on a whim) and hijda extortion!
As you can see, the learnings from mutual funds and recurring deposits can be applied to varied fields!
Cleaning It Up
All references to feet (and the bottom half of the body) refer to the kid.
All references to the upper limbs refer to the cleaner.
1. Bend knees to put more pressure on his tummy. This is to ensure all the stuff gets squeezed out before you unravel.
2. Open the diaper stickers (Velcro for Pampers and adhesive for Huggies, the latter needing greater force to open!) and remove the front flap of the diaper. Now, the ‘job’ is visible in full glory.
All colour – except white – is normal and acceptable. If the baby is breast fed, the colour is rumoured to reflect the dietary patterns of the mother. However, this is purely psychological and has no scientific basis.
3. Quickly hold the two legs at the ankles in between (1) thumb and index and (2) index and middle finger.
The operative word here is ‘quickly’ – as the feet might land in the mess if you are not quick enough! Which means a greater mess to clean. Also, use hand which is not the strong hand. Greater dexterity is needed for the other job!
During the cleaning activity for male children, care is to be taken to avoid sprinkling of water to great heights and distances. This usually involves spreading an oil-cloth to cover expanses bigger than the state of Colorado or strategically placing pieces of cloth on the source itself. Female children pose no such immodest problems!
Some male children are known to do the sprinkling on themselves as well (you never know which way it turns!) – especially, their own faces – but Morarji Desai is living (actually, WAS living) proof of its good effects.
4. Holding the legs in the aforementioned way, use other hand to take the cleaning wipe.
Use it first to (firmly, but softly) wipe off stuff from the broad area generally known as the ‘bum’. Pay special attention to any smearing of stuff to areas not generally associated with excrement. A particularly squelchy job might extend downwards to the back of the thighs. Also, if the job is more than an hour old, the stuff tends to become rubbery and sticks on to the skin. This requires a little bit of rubbing to clean off.
5. Use a second wipe to pay special attention to the doorway as creases in the nether regions tend to hide stuff (which causes vehement rashes later on).
Wipes are generally of several kinds – wet wipes, perfumed wet wipes, cotton wool-soaked-in-water – choice of which depends on the comfort of the cleaner. Comfort of the cleanee comes a little later as the wet wipes may cause rash in some cases.
Horrendously expensive bum-creams (allegedly containing zinc and magnesium) are available if you want to convince yourself of your own success as a parent. Otherwise, good ol’ Boroline works just fine!
6. Now that the person in question is clean, dry and creamed, diapers/nappies have to be used to prevent the region from exhibiting its pristine glory. (Babies sometime use this period to do the ‘big job’ again or pee across long distances. It has been empirically proved that such devilish behaviour is inherited from parents and hence to be grinned and borne with!)
Putting the person on his tummy and air-drying the region is also recommended in daily intervals to ensure that there is enough contact with nature and more importantly, great photo-ops that can later be used to embarrass the person when he is older!
That's it, I guess. But useful? Hell, had such a laugh trying to write it, who cares about the rest?