Tuesday, November 1, 2011

An Engineer's Guide to Raising a Kid, Part II

Due to the overwhelming success of the previous post (a whopping 18 page views...), we're doing a Part II.  That, and the fact that I forgot some very important elements in Part 1.

(Aside: I thought my posts on how to build an igloo were a gift to the internet that would be a lot more popular than they have been -- it was real-world advice using equipment and tools that most everybody could probably find in their closets and kitchen.  Alas, my site doesn't show up anywhere in the top 5 pages of Google hits of "How To Build An Igloo."  How to Build an Igloo in Minecraft even comes up before my page.  Sigh.  It seems my attempts at giving instruction to the world are falling on deaf ears.)

Anyhow, the following have also been instrumental in helping take care of Beth over these past 7 months:

8.  A Binky Clip.  The picture says it all.  One end velcros to the pacifier, the other end clips to a seat belt, corner of shirt, edge of car seat ... anything.  It really has been handy.  Think about it: every child is going to drop things; it's one of the things they're best at.  (It's also especially cute when they drop things over the side of their high chair, lean over the side to look at it on the ground, and then look up at you expectantly, like, "Aren't you going to get that?  Little help here?"  Repeat 50 times.)  This makes recovery easier, and even self-recovery possible.

At 7 months, Beth is rapidly losing interest in pacifiers as they were originally intended, but she still enjoys playing with them in general.  For those who are opposed to pacifiers: more power to you, but ouch -- that's a tough learning curve those first few months.

9.  A Glider and Ottoman.  I seriously can't believe I forgot this in Part I.  While everyone is different, you will probably spend more time with your baby in this chair than engaged in any other activity.  We got ours (lightly used) off of Craiglist, and have put thousands of miles on it since then.

Also, a note: I purposely picked a somewhat ugly color to use for the picture, to illustrate a point.  At 3 in the morning, do you really think you're going to care what color the chair is?  There's only one thing that matters: comfort.  Give them all a test drive.  If there is a squeak, or a bump, or a creak -- forget it.  It must rock absolutely silently, or else it will drive you bonkers.

And, yes, chances are, the ottoman is worth it.

10.  A swing.  There are lots of varieties of these, and WOW they can get expensive.  We got ours from a consignment store for $15, and it has been money well spent.  In our case, it's a great place to safely put Beth down for a while, keep her happy, and maybe even let us take a nap.  Other friends of ours have a particularly fancy one, complete with iPod attachment, that also can accept a car seat.  That's actually tempting (the car seat, not the iPod part): being able to plunk her into the swing while still in her car seat would be valuable.  But that's in the "nice to have" category.

The only complaint?  Ours runs on 4 D-cell batteries, and ONLY on batteries.  Since these can be used for 2+ hours at a stretch, it would be very convenient to be able to just plug it in.  Oh, well.  We just go thru 4 D batteries about every three weeks.  (Our parents tell us about the OLD models that were wind up, and supposedly had the loudest, crankiest wind-up mechanism in the world, that was guaranteed to wake the baby if you wanted to wind it back up.  So, it could be worse.)

11. Advice.  Everyone is probably going to try to give you advice, even this blog.  Every kid is different, every parent is different, every situation is different.  Take everything with a grain of salt.

But some of the best, most reassuring "advice" I heard actually came from a neighbor of ours.
"You think you have things down to a routine, and then, WHAM!  It's right back to square one again."
I found that particularly comforting a variety of times.  Beth did change routines on us, many times, and is still changing things up on us.  It was reassuring for me to know that other people had gone through similar events and had been similarly stymied by inconsistent or different behavior.  You can try to be consistent, and you can try to establish routine, but for those first few months, a newborn baby is going to do whatever a newborn baby feels like it should be doing at the time.

And that's about it!  Happy Parenting.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, we also have a huge sofa bed in our home so that the baby in our could cuddle and crawl up in those stuff. Also you sure have a cutie patootie there.