Nip Tuck

Chris, today, was talking about circumcisions. He was in no way asking for any advice, and so naturally, like a good e-friend and loyal reader, I am totally going to give him some.


I don't agree with circumcision. I don't agree with it because both of my sons are circumcised.

There comes a point in your pregnancy, when you know it's a boy, when you and your spouse have the talk about this. Our talk went like this:

Him: What do you think about this circumcision thing?

Me: I don't know...what do you think?

Him: Well, I'd kind of like to not explain why mine looks different than his.

Me: Well, last time I checked, I didn't have one of those, so I'll leave this up to you. But, if you do it, I want NO PART of it.

Him: Cool.

And that was it. 1of3 was born, and dad went with matching accessories. I really had no part of it; I wasn't in the room when they did it and I skipped the next few diaper changes. Because, yuck. And ouch. Youch.

And then, when 2of3 was born, it wasn't really a choice at all, was it?

Here's what they don't tell you about circumcisions, or at least what they do tell you but you absolutely cannot grasp until you're dealing with it. Sometimes, sometimes the skin grows back a little. Sometimes, even if you Vaseline the crap out of it and do the alcohol swabs religiously like they tell you to, sometimes nature fights you and fights you hard and you are left, all alone, at 3 in the morning, to have to roll back that skin that has totally ignored your good intentions and healed itself right back to the tip of that thingy you were trying to trim it from. You have to roll it back, which honestly just means ripping it away from where it wants to be. You have no choice at this HAS to be done. And as much as it sucks for you, what with the bleeding and the oozing and stuff, it sucks that much more for your child who has just gone through a rather strenuous move and really just wants to sleep.

There are other things they don't tell you. They don't tell you that if you ask for a circumcision, they will do it, and they will do it even if your little man is indeed a little man. They will do it even though that thingy isn't sticking out far enough for them to get a decent hold of, and you will have to suffer through the cleaning and the crying and all the headaches, and when it's all over and you man has grown a little, you will not be able to tell they did it at all. They will do this because they will do anything you're willing to pay them to do. It will not bother you right away, but when the kid's 3 or so, you're going to be mighty annoyed at the whole uncircumcised-though-totally-circumcised deal.

There is another thing they don't tell you. They don't tell you that sometimes they won't finish it. They don't tell you that they do the bottom skin first, and then check for things, and then do the top. They don't tell you that if they get half way in and the check doesn't go well, that you are left with a half-circumcised boy.

On the off-chance that your son has a crooked urethra, they will do surgery to fix it, about when the child is one. They will need skin to graft after the surgery, and that foreskin is prime graft fodder. So, when they circumcise a boy, they cut off the top of the skin, do a quick check of the urethra, and then get the bottom half. Unless the urethra is not straight, at which point they stop. A year later, you go to the doctor to schedule the surgery to fix the urethra, and thereby remove the remaining flap of skin, only to find out that in the past year that urethra has totally straightened itself right out.

You now have three options:
  1. Schedule a cosmetic, elective surgery that no insurance in the galaxy will pay for, because after your hospital stay for the birth, circumcision is considered major surgery involving general anesthesia and stuff while he's still young enough to totally forget it.
  2. Deal with it until he's a little older, when maybe he'll just have fuzzy memories of the whole thing in his adult life, until you can explain what the deal is and trust that he can get a local anesthetic and not mess with it after.
  3. Ignore it and pray like crazy that he never has to change in a locker room, and perhaps start a savings account for the therapy bills you'll have to pay when he realizes what you've done to him*.

We went with option 3. We really meant to go with 2, but by the time it came to deal with it, well, he was kind of fond of his little weiner and we didn't have the heart to tell him it was different. And besides, there are advantages to having only your bottom foreskin. It makes a lovely hiding spot for small rocks and marbles; you can fill it with water and then toddle over to that new baby your parents just brought home and dump the water all over his weird, bald head. I don't really ever want to know if there are any other perks.

What this is going to come down to is that one day, he's going to figure this out. One day, he's going to have to make a choice about this. I imagine that your feelings about that part of your body, as a man, are kind of pivotal to your image of yourself, and that is going to get called into question someday for my son. And all of this will happen because of an unnecessary, silly, traditional nip tuck. I know it's unnecessary because, as you read up there, my other son had it done but it really wasn't done, you know? I had to care for a circumcision, but then I had to care for it, and teach him to care for it, as though it had never happened. And I had to teach my oldest son that same care, just for one half.

So, yes, both of my sons were circumcised. And I regret those two decisions more than almost any other I've made with them. But hell, it makes for good, embarrassing stories later. And Chris, I hope this helps and I also hope you don't mind that I left your comment on my blog. That would've been a mighty long comment.

*Or when he realizes that you've told the entire world about it, via the internet. Sorry, 1of3.

Flash cards are the Devil

Part one:

I don't believe in flash cards*. Hell, I don't believe in forcing any sort of quote education unquote down my kids' throats before they are old enough to pee on their own. This sounds like a lazy parent excuse, but rest assured; my kids are smarter than I am. They are smarter than most people I know are. It's true.

I don't believe in flash cards because flash cards are good for one thing only:Maybe someday I'll have the stones to show you the other half-ton of crap that sits on my floor all day long.

I have found, in my decade of fumbling through this parenting gig, that flash cards waste your time and annoy the pig kid. I think that kids learn better if what you're teaching them is a tangible thing, something real. You know, something they care about.

Take colors, for example. Yes, you could hold up cards with pink and red and blue boxes on them, and say pink and red and blue 5,000 times every day if you really must. However, if you want that child to care about what red and pink and blue are, if you want them motivated to learn those things, maybe you should skip the $20 flash card purchase and instead drop $5 on a box of these:They come in pink, red, blue, white and purple. If your kid wants one, your kid will ask for it. And then you can turn it into a teaching moment without them ever knowing it.

I take those popsicles and I dump them all into an ice cube tray. When 3of3 wants one, she'll ask for a "showme*". I'll then grab the tray, put in on the floor, and let her rifle through it. Every time she picks one up, I ask, "Red? Do you want a red?" And, of course, she'll say, "No red", because two-year-olds are pains in the booty who can't ever make up their mind, and then she'll grab another one. "White? Do you want a white?" Eventually, she will choose one. By then, we've gone through every color. After a few days of this, she'll start asking for a pink showme instead of just a showme. After a few more days, she'll start asking for her pink shoes. Because suddenly she knows what pink is. And I didn't have to pick one single flash card up off the floor.

*I DO, however, strongly believe in flash cars for tweens. There is no better way in the history of mankind to learn your times tables. Period. We're talking babies here.

**The bambino calls popsicles showmes. It is a long story that I am saving for another post. Bear with me.

I am a twelve year old boy

While I was in Denver a few months back, Josh went out to get bottles for the baby. See, she only takes a bottle at bedtime and on the rare occasion that she consents to a nap. So I only have 2 bottles. It's fine, really; I don't need anymore than that. But, truth be told, her bottles were getting a little ratty from wear and they did need to be replaced. And good on Josh for taking the initiative there.

I don't think he's ever bought bottles before.

They don't sell the brand of bottle she likes here, and he was forced to get something new. One of the boys used Playtex bottles, and my guess is that he saw the name and thought that would be right. My guess is that he's also never heard of a drop-in bottle. I get home and he tells me that he bought her bottles, and showed me them

He said, "I don't get it. They have a bag in them. She hates them."

Why, of course she hates them. She hates everything. But, he'd bought them and I figured we'd give'm a try. These bottles come with a liner that drops into it. It's supposed to cut down on the air in the bottle or something, and it makes cleaning them much easier. I ran out to the store to get a pack of liners for this thing so we could try to use it. I got the box of liners

brought it home and opened it up. Brace yourselves. This is where it gets good:

Remind you of anything? Here. have another look:

Yes, some sicko said to his wife one night, "You know, dear, these things really aren't working out for us, but I bet they'd make a lovely liner for a baby bottle." Now, I get it that when you're on your 4th month straight of post-partum depression and no sleep, you need nothing more than a good, hearty laugh every now and again, but seriously; nothing that looks even remotely like this is coming anywhere near my daughter for the next 30 years. Period.

bad idea #1

I would like, if I may, to take you on a strange journey.

*ahem* Sorry, I geeked out there for a second.

Before I get into my next project on the blog (we'll get to that later), I would first like to share with you my opinions on some baby products. Product you've bought, I've bought, we've all seen or heard of at some point, products which I fully do not endorse.

Let's get started. The first one is getting cut and pasted from the old blog, because it still rings true and is one of my all-time favorite posts. And I'm baking right now, so there's not much time for typing. And so, without further ado, I offer you.....the Diaper Genie:

Why is the Diaper Genie the worst baby gift ever? Because it is the best baby gift ever. Once you pass the courses required to learn the drop-click-spin technique only a Harvard physics major could master, it takes those putrid, nasty ass diapers that your precious angel has created and cocoons them like a string of pearls, wrapping them in odor-shielding plastic goodness. This works so well that you can actually forget about the diapers until the thing is full. Which you most certainly will once the kid is potty trained. A year and a half later, when you notice the Genie under the pile of toys you bought the kid for Christmas that they never play with, you then get to deal with the string of diaper-pearls you accidentally left in there, which amazingly enough STILL don't stink, but look like something you saw in a 1930's horror flick in the middle of the night at your grandma's house.

Worst. Gift. Ever.