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Archive for November, 2010

How (Not) To Wear Out Your Welcome

Know someone with a new baby? Want to visit them for the holidays but not sure how long you should stay? Well, try this handy formula, guaranteed to keep friends and family toasting your presence:

1) Take the numbers of days you were planning on staying originally.

2) Divide that number by 2.

Voila, enjoy your stay!

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Giving Thanks

There’s a lot to be thankful for this year — namely, that every time Nate wakes up at 3 AM looking like this:

. . . he also has moments like this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

And this:

So Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. 400 years ago today, some generous Native Americans taught us how to harvest crops in the New Land. In turn, we gave them smallpox-infected blankets. Drink up!

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Truth be told, we had sort of a rough weekend. Remember those 8 hours of sleep I was getting? Now it’s more like 5. And they’re broken up into oh-so-refreshing 1 ½ hour stints.

Like his Daddy, little man Nate seems to be a night owl. He won’t konk out until around 2 AM. Starting at around, say, 9-ish, we trot out the usual suspects: rocking him, putting him in his swing, singing him lullabies, playing guitar for him, the 5 S’s, the 6 T’s, the 7 F’s, the 8 U’s, feeding him, checking his diaper, burping him, changing his outfit, standing on our heads making funny faces, etc., but he consumes these activities as if they were entertainment, not sedatives.

And I don’t know who’s in more pain when he’s screaming: me or him. Last night I was reminded of those charts they have in emergency rooms. You know, the Wong-Baker pain scales with the faces . . .

. . . well, here’s my slightly altered version, niche marketed for the first-time parent crowd. Now, in the comfort of your own home, you can trace your own parenting progression. Have fun:

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Technically, I got 8 hours of sleep last night. You can check my math:

9 pm – 11 pm = 2
12:30 am – 2:30 am = 2
4:00 am – 6:00 am = 2
8:30 am – 10:30 am = 2

2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = 8, right? So why do I feel like one of the ten million zombies I’ve decapitated in Left 4 Dead? And, oh by the way, you know how in those games there’s always some complicated backstory about how the undead apocalypse came about? Like, say, a witch doctor started it? Or a mad scientist tried to re-animate a corpse? Or a virus wiped out humanity?

Well, how about they’re all first-time parents?

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You ask, I deliver.

Here’s Nate after his Mommy combed his hair like Pete Campbell:

And here’s Nate doing his best Levi Johnston impersonation:

And here’s Nate secretly giving you the finger:

He’s pretty cute.

Now if we can just get him to fall asleep, be quiet, and stop pooping . . .

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A friend of mine who’s a huge Danzig fan maintains that this was a sucker punch (nsfw):

I’m not so sure. I say if you shove somebody in the face, you should be on the lookout for a knuckle sandwich. Pretty much immediately. But if you want to see a *real* sucker punch, check out Allysia Finley’s swipe at California this week in the Wall Street Journal.

California: The Lindsay Lohan of States

Your government’s run by a brothel of environmentalists, lawyers, public-sector unions and legislative bums. When they’re not taxing or spending, they’re creating regulations and commissions like the Board of Barbering and Cosmetology and the California Blueberry Commission. Many businesses would leave if it weren’t for your sunny climate.

You appropriately give your government low marks — 28% approval for outgoing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, 16% for the legislature — yet you continue to re-elect the politicians who got you into this mess. Not a single incumbent state legislator lost re-election this year, including one Democrat who died a month ago (no joke). What’s scarier is that you’ve just given almost all of the keys to statewide offices to Democrats.

[...]

So here’s our final warning: When you inevitably crash and burn, don’t count on us to bail you out.

Look, there’s plenty wrong on the Gold Coast — pension liabilities, the dying film industry, womens’ obsession with tweezing their eyebrows — but is this what passes for journalism these days? Was there no editor at the Wall Street Journal compelled to call Ms. Finley into his/her office and say, “Thanks for making your deadline, Allysia. But did you realize that California generates more federal tax revenue that any other state, and that it gives more tax money to the federal government than it receives in return, and that, as such, it is subsidizing much of the federal funding of other states? And, oh by the way, would mentioning these facts give your column a little more nuance?”

If Finley does anything well, it’s document the disgust people have for California. I should know; I just spent the last 3 weeks listening to my Alabaman in-laws scoff at every passing mention of California’s budget crisis. “Your state is in danger of going broke? Tough crap, Larry Flyntland. You’re not not getting any of our money.” [I’m paraphrasing here.]

It’s a semi-defensible point of view . . . until you check out this table of how much each state gave the federal government (in 2005) compared to what it took in return:

Assuming these numbers are correct (I didn’t make them up, but someone else might have), for every dollar California sent the federal government, it got back 78 cents. For ever dollar the state of Alabama sent, it got back $1.65.

Sign me up for the latter.

And if California is the Lindsay Lohan of states, Ms. Finley, who exactly is Alabama-New Mexico-Mississippi-Alaska-Louisiana-West Virginia-North Dakota-South Dakota-Kentucky-Virginia-Montana?

Dina Lohan, maybe?

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As mentioned here, Leigh Ann and I didn’t circumcise Nathan. (And neither did the hospital by mistake.) But here’s something I didn’t know: because there’s a huge market for baby foreskins, hospitals don’t throw them away. They sell them for about $1000 a piece.

Check out The Stir today for a post about who’s buying:

Cosmetics: Foreskins are used to make high-end skin creams. The skin products contain fibroblasts grown on the foreskin and harvested from it. One foreskin can be used for decades to produce fancy face cream like the SkinMedica products hawked on Oprah.

Skin grafts: In addition to making products for skin, a baby’s foreskin can be turned into a skin graft for a burn victim. Because the cells are extremely flexible, they’re less likely to be rejected. Currently, this technology can be lifesaving in providing a real skin “band aid” to cover an open wound while a burn victim heals. Researchers at Harvard and Tufts are working on advanced skin replacements that use human foreskins.

Cosmetic testing: All those cruelty-free cosmetics you buy? Some of them are tested on foreskins. This yields better results, since they’re human skin. And it saves the lives of the rodents your shampoo would otherwise be tested on.

I have no idea what to make of all this. But here’s hoping that by the time Nathan turns 18, his foreskin will pay for college.

So *that's* why she feels a little naughty.

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After 3 consecutive weeks of visitors, we’re finally free. Don’t get me wrong. We love family. But this apartment is a little over 1000 square feet, and at one point there were 12 people in it.

To put that into perspective, that’s a population density of approximately 334,540 people per square mile (trust me, I’m an English major), which would make this place about 20x more densely populated than China.

Scene from my apartment last week.

I shouldn’t complain. I don’t have it nearly as bad as some people (check out Conflicted Mean Girl’s run in with her mother-in-law). And somewhere down the line, we’re gonna wish we had Grandma and Grandpa here to babysit again. And Auntie Em to do the dishes. And Uncle Fred to take out the garbage.

But, as of this moment, Leigh Ann and Nathan and I are itching to set this boat a sail just the three of us.

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So who fed my kid mustard and sesame seeds?

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