So I’m watching Wall-e (again) and now I’m trying to figure out how exactly he hooked up a 1980’s VCR to a first generation iPod to watch “Hello Dolly.” I think it is safe to say that I’ve watched this movie about 100 times beyond the recommended lifetime allowance for any adult male human.
I truly believe that any sleep deprivation study needs to use 10 month old children who wake up a random intervals in the middle of the night. My second daughter, Samantha, is quite skilled at screaming at random intervals in the night for reasons completely unknown to me.
So I took her downstairs the other night to try and calm her down, but none of the usual tricks were doing me any good. Eventually I just sat down with her on the recliner and turned on the television. After randomly moving through channels we both dozed off in the chair. When I woke up I had a bunch of strange thoughts in my head such as:
- Drug cartels from south of the boarder are funding conservative super PACs to keep funding for the war on drugs
- The Rosetta Stone company is actively suppressing Esperanto for their own finical gain.
- Jimmy Carter, at night when he isn’t working on being an international peace ambassador, is a super hero whose only goal is to get the United States to convert to the metric system.
So I’m not really sure what channel I was watching when I fell asleep, but I highly suspect it was one of those crazy 24 news channels. That, or I was watching the Colbert report commenting on these topics. The last alternative is that I’m just strange enough to think of these things on my own.
Wow, I was just looking back at my latest posts, and I realized that I haven’t posted any real updates about my personal life in a very long time. So here goes.
Having never done this before, I am very much learning how to be a father as I go. Of course pretty much everyone has to start out from scratch, so I’m not really special in my situation. The easiest way to categorize activities in this area is “things I was reasonably expecting to happen” and “what? did that really just happen? You must be kidding me!”
So in the first category I put things like changing diapers, feeding, and playing with my children. To a large degree I’ve had experience with this by having taken care of my dog Maury for several years now. The key here, as much as I understand things, is to understand the desire of the dog/child and things will go smoothly. If someone is making an unpleasant sound, or error code as I like to say, then resolving the situation is just a matter of finding the cause of the error code and fixing the underlying problem. To start out, babies generally have a small set of error codes– my diaper’s full, my stomach is empty, and someone isn’t giving me their full attention. So debugging small children is a pretty simple process.
The only situations to look out for are false positives and false negatives. For example, my oldest child Isabel doesn’t seem to mind running around with a diaper full of poop. And to make things more fun she likes to run and hide when we try and change her diaper. Don’t forget that kids can just start crying for no known reason. This is the most frustrating of all the error codes since there is no corresponding resolution action. The key to this situation is to identify it as a “Kobayashi Maru.” For anyone not intimately familiar with Star Trek terminology, this is a no win situation used to train Star Fleet officers. So just think, “What would Captain Kirk do?” And the correct answer isn’t “make more cheesy Priceline commercials.”
So now we come to the next group of activities. These are things that you will in no way be able to see coming. My personal favorite example of this is having Isabel on my chest fall asleep. Since I can’t really do anything else without waking up, I soon fell asleep myself. Then, for really no reason I could understand, Isabel emptied the entire contents of her stomach onto my face and chest. Very unpleasant I must say. But my point here is that I couldn’t have seen it coming.
So this is all I’ve learned in my two years or so of being a father. That, and if you want to get anything done on the computer your kids better be asleep or at grandmas for the weekend.
To really understand the process of raising children you need to start out with the birds and the bees. First off, it isn’t totally necessary to dress up as wild animals to conceive a child– that is more of an issue of personal preferences. In fact, a recent study concluded that a majority of Americans prefer to emulate their favorite masked Mexican wrestling superstars during sex. Some people have even been known to enjoy it without any identity-altering clothing whatsoever.
A good first step is to find a partner. Having them be more or less the opposite sex is a good start, but not a strict requirement. Anyone who has seen “Junior” starring Danny Devito and Arnold Schwarzenegger knows the difficulties of same sex pregnancies.
The next step, ideally, is to build a relationship with your partner. If time permits, spend some time with this person. Get to know their likes and dislikes. Communication is a key aspect to any healthy relationship. (Keys to an unhealthy relationship: beheading partners for producing incorrect gender offspring, initiating land wars in Asia, and, of course, an irrational desire to use the metric system.)
Cultural differences also need to be taken into consideration. For example, most people understand the concept of monogamy, but in several South American countries a common variation is “I won’t sleep with anyone else, unless they have the same first name or hair style as my partner.” And in Sweden it is perfectly acceptable to be intimate with anyone you meet when entering the incorrect gender’s bathroom of an Ikea store. If your partner’s culture is significantly different than your own, make sure to take time to learn as much as possible just in case you need to mock them for several hours at local drinking establishment after a heated fight about her religious beliefs barring certain types of ice cream from being consumed in the house on days of the month divisible by seven.