It’s been said that the best way to learn a foreign language is to immerse yourself in the culture.
Want to learn Italian? Go to Tuscany and hang out with the locals for an extended period of time. Unrelated: I find this is also a wonderful excuse to drink lots of Chianti, by the way … added bonus.
So two months into this fatherhood thing and I’ve fully immersed myself into this really screwed up world called the language of parenting.
Never before in my life have I spent so much damn time talking about poop. Not shit. Because, babies don’t “shit” … they “poop” or “go poopy.”
Newborns aren’t throwing up or vomiting … they are “spitting up.”
And my daughter doesn’t drool. Well, actually, apparently she does drool … because, this is the term we choose to use as a crossover from both worlds. Either way, it’s still gross.
No. It is not fucking cute. It is still gross. No matter how many cute words we apply to excrement, it will always be shit. My baby shat herself last night and it was messy.
I’ve also discovered that literally all of my clothes now carry an extra film of liquid or spit or “poop” or spit-up … or whatever genteelism you want to apply to a bodily fluid that shouldn’t be caked on your wardrobe.
But I digress.
Along with the language of parenting comes this entirely new world of the marketing to parents. It’s a scary, deceitful business, my friends. You will literally be smacked upside the head with every single tactic in the playbook to try and lure you into this web of spending on utter bullshit.
From diaper wipe warmers to chairs that electronically swing themselves to apps that monitor your child’s bodily functions controlled from your phone, there is something for everything and for everyone.
Holy shit, kids are so fucking spoiled now.
Remember the good old days when you’d literally be the remote control for your parents? Come to think of it now, that was pretty messed up. It was such a crafty little way for mom and dad to excuse their laziness to get up and change the channel on the TV by masking it as some huge responsibility for you to make the 10-foot journey to the set top box and change a few numbers.
Wow. Thems were the days, huh? Well played, mom and dad. Well played.
Now I can control the motion of my daughter’s nap chair from my iPhone and toss on some background tunes to the sound of rain while the seat rotates to mask the rhythm of an ocean wave. All while I chill out on the reclining “glider.” Note: It’s not a rocking chair … it’s a glider, because we have to add a crafty little marketing title so we can force you to pay another $200-300. Because, fuck you.
In fact, as I write this post, I’m looking across the room at Giuliana as she rotates on her MamaRoo chair. The best part? She’s totally not entertained by the actual built-in mobile that hangs over her head while she rocks. She’s more interested in her hands that she recently started to discover. Note: Mobiles are cool things that hang. We can’t call them actual decorations or hanging things, instead we have to stick with the word “mobile.” Which is totally not confusing at all in today’s world of mobile technology – meanwhile, I assure you that the most effective baby mobiles are usually anything but high-tech.
And that is actually the dirty little secret: the babies don’t know any better and don’t need all of that technology to have a good time.
My in-laws came to visit recently and were stunned at all the gadgets and stuff we have furnished in our teeny tiny little closet-sized apartment here in Manhattan. And that’s the thing … neither my wife or I actually think we have all that much stuff. It could be better … or worse?
Matter of fact, until about a week ago, my daughter hated everything anyway.
We’ve got a specially-designed floor mat with a hanging decoration (ugh, “mobile”) and built-in walls that entrap your tot like a felon at Clinton Max. It’s all adorned in colors and cute animals, so you know … it’s not really like a prison. It’s cute. But not at first to my daughter. It might as well have actually been the clink.
Same with that damn MamaRoo. We tried that bad boy on day one from the hospital. It took a daily dedication and vigilance for Angela and me to finally get the offspring to enjoy that thing … six weeks later.
Meanwhile a few notes on this contraption: First off – fuck that name, because you know, dads apparently don’t give a shit if the baby is chillin. Second – how someone hasn’t made this thing in an adult version for grown-ass men is a total fail. Imagine watching football while sitting in this rocking chair, errr glider, on steroids? I’m looking at you, Apple. Make up for the iWatch.
Here’s the big takeaway: avoid the hype. For my first-time fathers out there, you are going to run into a million and one baby books and friends and family members and coworkers and advertisements and social media posts and all sorts of crap in between begging you and pulling at you and imploring you to buy [blank] because “your baby will love it” or because “you NEED this to survive parenting.” False.
Stay strong, my friends.
You do need some very basic things to get by; because how the hell do you think your child will be able to survive without a diaper wipe warmer, bro? But, don’t be that dude that loads up on product after product because it looks shiny. Your kid won’t know the difference. You’ll just clutter up your house. And you could actually probably end up saving money in the long run for more important things … like your new alcohol habit … um, hobby … or to keep that gamer in you alive.
Now it’s your turn: Did you get suckered into the latest trends pushed out by the Baby Marketing tactics? What are the best and worst gadgets out there for infants, kids and even parents? Drop a note in the comments with your thoughts.
Cover image courtesy: Finance Store