Advance apologies to Mr. J. Heller, as I can already anticipate the list below straying from the original logic meant to portray the title of his book… and morphing into a diatribe of “things that annoy me.” I also acknowledge that some items are better filed under “irony” or “cruel, cruel world.” Oh well, here goes:
The Catch 22s of Raising a Baby
1. Kids under age two receive free admission to fun places like Disneyland and professional sports events, but they won’t remember a darn thing about the experience.
2. Animals are stressed around the baby, but are so eager to be around her.
3. Likewise, pets who “claim” to dislike the baby sure do fret when she’s gone. Like shedding a ton and defecating in inappropriate places fret.
4. The physiologically healthiest age to have a baby is also the most mentally fragile. Doubt me? Dig up your journal entries from age 16. Go ahead– I’ll wait.
5. Daycare Flexible Spending Account annual allowance is $5,000. (I’m told that has been the stagnant limit for some time, now.) I can burn through that in 4 months. Give me a real challenge.
6. Baby products exist that shouldn’t be used. Baby wipe warmers cause bacteria. Cameras that have two-way mics freak out the kids and cause years of therapy. And so on.
7. You finally have decent jobs and don’t have to borrow from your parents (as often). You’re a DINK, which sounds bad, but is really fun. Then your misleading bank account tricks you into thinking you can finally afford a kid. Well, you can, but that’s about all.
8. The new life form we must be most alert to watch over, care for and protect requires rapt attention and well-rested reflexes. And we’re more tired than we’ve ever been because of said life form’s crazy, inhumane schedule. Wash, rinse, repeat.
9. Daycare is open long hours to acommodate the various schedules of working parents, but I feel like a such a bad mom when needing to use the full day.
10. We try to put away money for an unknown future college inflating at an unknown percentage for an unknown number of years. Plus, in order to fully fund what FAFSA estimates tuition will be in 18 years, we would need to sock away even more than the annual limits allow and invest in things that return more than legal venues would allow for. I didn’t just say that.
11. This is not so much a Catch 22 as just a general complaint. (See? I told you it would happen.) I cannot keep up with the “expert” opinions of childrearing. One of my mentors told me that her three children literally slept in different positions, depending on what the pediatricians were saying at the time: stomach, side, back.
What’s more, it used to be a steadfast rule that babies shouldn’t be exposed to allergenic foods such as eggs and peanuts before a certain age because they thought it caused higher sensitivity. Now it’s recommended to give babies these foods as early as possible! My head’s spinning…
12. Babies get colds but you can’t give them medicine.
13. One night we got a really polished N’Sync routine down. We were dancing without any issues for at least three songs! Then when we went to grab a headband accessory and a video camera, this happened:
14. Your arms hurt, the baby is heavy and your hands are full. A stranger suddenly comes out of nowhere and offers to hold the baby while you load your car… tempting, but no. They leave and your grocery bag busts open and everything rolls in ten different directions.
15. We buy more fresh fruits and vegetables than we’ve ever done before in our life… all to blend together for baby food that goes right in the freezer.
16. We’re supposed to speak like adults to the baby, but at the same time we’re told that mirroring her sounds gives her confidence and encourages speech. Which is it? Full sentences, or gibberish?
17. Germs are good. Build strength. See #12.
18. It is important to spend quality time with your kid… who creates more time-sucking work than you ever thought possible.
19. I am so excited to see who she’ll become, but I simultaneously wish I could freeze time and keep her from growing up.
20. Books at young ages are crucial to literacy. If literacy is measured in corners chewed and pages torn out, then enroll that infant at Harvard! Doogie Howser, look out.
21. Screens are bad. Computers, televisions, phones, tablets. Bad bad bad bad. Until she’s in a new place and getting ready to pull an “I’m sitting on Santa Claus” face. Well, then the distraction of moving pictures and sounds is a welcome (necessary?) respite.
22. She has a plethora of hand-me-downs that are perfectly suitable. But that doesn’t stop us from eyeing the upgrades.