Dad for Beginners

Amateurism at its best

Vikings

September 30, 2014
by Creed
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Thousands of Years of Bad Parenting Advice: Vikings

Old North Germanic peoples (i.e. Norse, Viking) embraced their children as adults-in-training immediately from birth. Sick or deformed babies were discarded – left alone to die. Children didn’t engage in recreation. The sole purpose of their existence was to train as adults. Boys were taught to farm, to hunt, and to fight. Viking boys were encourage to wrestler, grapple, and were given weapons with which to practice.

Children were taught the value in personal hygiene. Contrary to popular culture, which depicts Vikings as an unclean people, they were amongst the most hygienic culture of the time.

Lineage and family was important to Vikings. This was also something represented through Viking children. e.g. Leif Ericsson translates as Leif, son of Erik. Through naming, Vikings would honor the father in what historically would become the surname of the son.

 

Thousands of Years of Bad Parenting Advice

Colonial America

Victorian England

Soviet Union, orphans

Soviet Union, families

September 23, 2014
by Creed
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Baby Junk, pt. 3 – Mittens

Baby mittens were one of the strangest things I had to wrap my mind around when I first became a new parent. Throughout the entirety of my life, mittens were reserved exclusively for cold weather nerds and simpletons who where not cool enough for fingered gloves and not hardcore enough to handle the cold. Mittens were isolated into a niche demographic occupied by small, usually frail girly boys named Simon, Stewart, Marvin, or Napoleon. In this vein, it was reasonable to understand why mittens were grouped into the same nomenclature as litten or kitten; because they were archaic and fuzzy pseudo-gloves worn only by the weak.

baby mittens

Simon Birch; the original nerdy, small kid of my childhood. Shown here probably wearing mittens.

Baby mittens, however, are designed to prevent your newborn baby from scratching their plush and fragile skin with the tiny knives they wield on their fingertips. It’s true that baby fingernails are nothing short of miniature razorblades protruding haphazardly from the tiny phalanges of your mini wolverine. Because of these claws that babies develop on their fingers early on, some genius out there conceptualized cute little mittens to protect the baby from harming itself.

baby mittens

If these tiny mittens look useless to you, then you’re right. Well done.

While in theory it is a good idea, baby mittens are impossible to keep on a baby hand. Newborns and infants have the motor skills of a drunk Michael J. Fox and unless you’re keen on cinching the cuff tightly around your child’s little wrist thus compromising his circulation, the mittens will not stay put. Moreover, as your infant grows they will quickly learn how to intentionally spurn the mittens, at which point their finger knives will be directed at you, the mitten dictator. It is amazing how quickly an infant can slice a sizeable chunk out of even the most calloused adult skin.

baby mittens

No mitten can contain this reality. Focus your efforts elsewhere.

What most new parents will learn after a short 6 or 8 months is that infants are daredevils with reckless abandon. The baby mittens in comparison are like trying to put a band-aid on a buckshot wound. Infants, as they become mobile, face household obstacles far more dangerous than the jagged little bayonets they carry on their fingers. Do yourself a favor by remaining diligent over the length of your child’s nails and focus your energy on how you intend to rescue him when he wedges himself between the wall and the washing machine. Save yourself the $3.99 and buy a 40oz. Old English instead. At least a hearty helping of malt liquor will numb the pain when little Napoleon takes his next swipe at your face.

Part 1: The Crib

Part 2: The Diaper Bag

September 7, 2014
by Creed
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Learning Moments, pt. 3: Professional Football

It’s that time again. That wonderful time of year where the family can spend Sunday together. It is a time to worship and give thanks. Sunday is a day of rest, a day of renewal. On Sundays, the family can reconnect and realize all the blessings they’ve been afforded. They can converse, dine, and frolic all while basking in the glow of the heavenly essence. The television.

The onset of the fall season means many things…the weather starts to change, children return to school, big pharma recommends that we all get flu vaccines, and grown men wearing heavy equipment run into each other repeatedly while chasing a ball, hoping to eventually get a ring. Football is a masculine game.

football

Super Bowl rings are gaudy and obnoxious, just like most die hard NFL fans.

Football is perhaps the only violent and gruesome pastime that citizens the nation over look forward to all year long. That is, since public hangings and other methods of voyeuristic execution have been outlawed. In its absence we discuss it. We ascribe value to otherwise meaningless events like the NFL draft and the Scouting Combine. We seek to fill the void in our emotional well-being by watching grown men slam into each other at high velocity. We use these weekly events to invite friends over to eat, drink, and scream at the television. This is togetherness in America.

Professional football has enabled our superfluous culture to assign meaning to otherwise trivial and boring occurrences. The annual NFL draft every April is evidence of this. Loyal fans wait anxiously for their favorite teams to announce which collegiate prospects they will potentially employ the following season. We roar with joy when we like the selection. We ridicule the management when we do not. In doing so, we somehow convince ourselves that whomever our favorite organization selects has any bearing whatsoever on our lives in general. When we like what our team does in the draft, we blindly analyze how that particular player will translate into pro football. The individual himself is trivial. We care nothing about his background. He could be from an affluent upbringing or he could have been a crack baby left in a dumpster. His good fortune and hard work are not important. What’s really important is how fast he can run 40 yards and how many times he can lift ungodly quantities of weight above his head. Real value is in measurables, not intangible shit like personal welfare or family.

football

This guy is a former heroine addict who has fathered 7 children from 6 women. But look at that press! Draft him.

Tangentially related to our intense love of professional football is the fantastic environment we’ve crafted around the game to further fill our need for nonsense. Fantasy football is an idea constructed around the basic rules of real football, but allows the individual to own a fictional team in a conjured dream world of irrelevance. Fantasy football takes our unnatural infatuation with a child’s game to a whole new level of absurdity. Instead of simply not caring about football players as humans, we barely even care about them as players anymore. All that matters in the fantasy world is the numbers that they represent. Through fantasy football, we as fans can reduce human athletes to measurable statistics and then reduce them even further to charts and graphs. Also critically important to the fantasy football process is glossing your team with a clever and hilarious name like “The Romosexuals.” Your creative humor and comedic acumen will make you the darling owner of your office pool, you goddamn beautiful disaster.

football

Gandalf in a Manning jersey is the fantasy football degenerate’s pornography. Victory never felt so orgasmic.

Across approximately 99% of the world, football is a word used to describe a game where teams of 11 players kick a colorful orb around a field of green without ever using their hands. The world recognizes this as football. Americans, on the other hand, refer to that silly sport as soccer and mock its irrelevance in this nation. Just like our systems of measurement, currency, and generally poor English, most of the world doesn’t embrace our system of football either. When your analyzing you fantasy draft and preparing your week 1 roster, remember that you’re in America, screw what the rest of the world thinks.

And so begins a wonderful time of year here in our homeland. We’ve analyzed our draft, checked our depth charts, donned our localized organizational paraphernalia, acquired fictional athletes for mythical football leagues, and topped the melted cheese dip with, well…more melted cheese. Commence organized violence subsidized by corporate endorsements.

Happy NFL season!

Learning Moments, pt. 1

Learning Moments, pt. 2

September 1, 2014
by Creed
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Learning Moments, pt. 2: Labor Day

Labor Day is a strange holiday. Unlike the majority of contrived, superficial American celebratory days, Labor Day is not based solely around the idea of gift giving. Labor Day in modern times has become yet another day where people can enjoy the day off from work and freely consume copious amounts of alcohol early in the day without the stigma of being a day-drinker. Labor Day is a wonderful day, when loyal citizens haul large quantities of food preparation equipment and tents out to a local park and attempt for perhaps the final time of the summer season to acquire melanoma.

Labor Day has ultimately become a holiday signifying the end of the summer season. After observing this annual celebration, people will return home and prepare to hunker down for the long winter months right around the corner. Although the outdoor climate and general environment remain the same, Labor Day symbolizes the annual curtailment of fun. There is nothing to look forward to besides several months of bitter cold a half-dozen family oriented holidays that will ultimately have you suffering even more.

Labor Day

Don’t let the flags fool you. Labor Day has nothing to do with patriotism.

Labor Day is also a day of intense consumerism. Retailers typically run deep discounts today, knowing that the volume of people freed from the bondage of their daily labor will be available to shop. For individuals working in the retail or merchandising sector, Labor Day is exactly that – a day of lengthy and painful labor. Ironically, due to all the sales at local stores, roughly 25% of the American population is coerced into actually laboring more today than normal. The Knights of Labor will never appreciate the irony nor will they know how dramatically their plan backfired for a quarter of the national proletariat.

Labor Day

Celebrate American Labor with a discount firearm. Nothing is more American than bargain-basement personal weaponry.

One of the more popular colloquialisms of Labor Day is the fashion restrictions it marks. It is common knowledge in this country that white clothes should not be worn after Labor Day. Because high-society of the Gilded Age was engineered by wealthy and pretentious women from old money, they set in place an array of fashion faux paus to differentiate themselves from the indulgent and vulgar new money of the time. One of these rules was that white clothing was not to be worn after Labor Day. These old crows literally had nothing else to do. Therefore, wearing white after Labor Day is simply unacceptable if you adhere to social dictums from the late 19th century. When you leave your house tomorrow, be sure it’s not in white. Make sure you’re dressed appropriately for the fall season like all the other Robber Barons.

Labor Day

Leland Stanford wears white after Labor Day because goddamn it he’s Leland Stanford.

Labor Day is not purely an American holiday. Canada also celebrates the same Labor Day for much the same reasons. Historically, the differences between Canadian Labour Day and American Labor Day are minor. The most egregious variation is the rogue “u” that Canadians add to random words to complicate the English language. Of paramount importance when celebrating Canadian Labour Day is wearing the proper colour when strolling through the city centre in honour, using your looney to buy a twenty-sixer to enjoy on the chesterfield. Make sure everything is spelled correctly, you’re in Canada, eh.

However, none of this Labor Day foolishness remotely orbits any rational thought nor comes in any proximity of the real reasons for the creation of Labor Day. As with virtually every holiday in this wonderful nation, the meaning has been buried under jargon, colloquialisms, and false traditions…and probably several dozen cases of beer as well. Grover Cleveland is probably spinning in his grave. Cheers.

Learning Moments, pt. 1

August 27, 2014
by Creed
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The Chrysalis

The constant stress of economic turmoil is how our system was designed. Although the architect may not have prophesied the utter cataclysmic reality that you now find yourself in, they certainly designed the entire structure out of self-interest. Self-interest is the nexus of all intention. Behind all self-interest is a catacomb of altruism, now devoid of any benevolence. The ancient ruins of a once great society of humanitarians now consumed with an egomaniacal lust for more. The chutzpah in their objective nourished by the very normalcy we’ve all adapted to accept. What was at first slightly askew has grown into a cyclical rotation of status quo, birthed and fed by itself. It is its own mother. It gave birth to itself.

When your acrimony hits the ceiling, the only optimism keeping you buoyant is the remembrance of a more rudimentary yesteryear. When people freely played woodwinds on the streets without a tip jar. When children knew to go home not by the regulations set forth by their parents, but when the streetlights came on and the twilight vanished into darkness. When social gatherings were not accompanied by devices that can invariably elicit a desired social response based on the status of what another being is doing in a virtual world. When a road trip meant staying up late the night before and plotting your journey on a foldout map using pushpins and the tiny car from Monopoly.

Social anticipation is stimulated from an inherently anti-social and non-human medium. The physical representation of one self is more often then not driven from a fabricated reality that’s received wholesale buy-in and thus justifying it as a transmitter of a veritable pantheon of contrived emotions. Memory is simply a feature of cognitive function, as all the intrinsic need to create genuine memories has been replaced.

The word “progress” has become a strictly fiscal term. Human growth that does not run parallel to financial gain is no longer called progress but instead labeled as maturation, evolution, or augmentation. Progress is now something only an accountant can track.

For the few, sarcasm is the mask behind which the dagger is shielded. The supporters of our current state of affairs will refer to the sarcastic as narrow minded, cynical, and misanthropic. It is only in the best interest of keeping the dagger sheathed that the sarcastic promulgate their trenchant ways. People are scared when they don’t understand. They feel threatened when they see the chrysalis of truth. When the normalcy is disrupted, people cleave to what they find familiar. When rubbing against the grain, most people will always remember to return the grain to its original state.

Advanced levels of bitterness, sarcasm, and cynicism are the de facto defense mechanisms of a mind that comprehends its reality but cannot rationalize any reasonable solutions. The acceptable venues of free thinking are becoming too narrow to comfortably express unpopular ideas…and thus the grain is always returned to its normal state. The social penalties for vocalizing ideas that do not conform to societal trends are swift and unpredictable. Contrition is easy to feign, however, and the astute mind can atone for virtually anything in an immediately credible way. The undertones are usually so subtle that only fellow “social deviants” appreciate the witty irony concealed within the most sincere statement of regret. Verbal subterfuge has to be so clandestine that it materializes as allegiance. Only like-minded miscreants truly appreciate such an elaborately secretive display of social insurgency.

There is no potential to mobilize or overthrow the procreation of sensitive and overbearing social saviors sent to rescue humans from their biases and unfair beliefs. If a space of social freedom for dialogue will exist again, the commoner will have to evolve into the sarcastic…and the sarcastic will have to emerge from his cocoon of acerbic self-containment. It will be a mental purification that will take generations.

Economic reality is inherently bound to social convention. The ideas rotate cyclically and support each other. The oppression of one upholds the oppression of the other. They live harmoniously in a circular state of backwardness. Embracing one and not the other is impossible. If financial freedom prevails then social subjugation is not far behind. If the serfdom of convention is overthrown, the prosperity of commerce falls right alongside it. Every situation is a loss. Every scenario a failure. To live free is to conform completely. Tow the line or accept your fate. The chrysalis is hard and unattractive, but is a necessary metamorphosis en route to leaving everything else beneath you.

August 11, 2014
by Creed
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Parents, Babies, and Human Waste: A Short Treatise on Infant Feces

People don’t like to discuss human defecate. For some reason, human bowel movements are socially taboo. It makes little sense since humans will willingly discuss things like breathing, sleeping, eating and virtually every other physiological requirement without any concern for social convention. But when it comes to poo, people shy away from the topic.

Parents of toddlers and babies, on the other hand, have absolutely no qualms about diving into poo. Both in a social setting and quite literally diving right into it with their hands. As a parent of an infant or toddler, handling human excrement becomes as normal as deciding what to have for dinner. The volume of feces that a baby produces is simply astonishing given their relative size and diet. For a miniature creature who consumes only small quantities of food throughout the day, the amount of times a baby or infant has to evacuate their bowels is truly amazing.

baby poop

To poop as much as a baby, most adults would need a steady diet of Taco Bell and Metamucil.

As the parent to a tiny poop machine, one quickly learns that getting your hands dirty is a requirement. While at first it may seem disgusting and vile, after a few journeys into a blown out diaper, parents quickly adapt to the fecal mess and it becomes perfectly normal. In fact, as time goes on, parents will develop a remarkable ability to identify the subtle characteristics of baby poop and determine not only what previously consumed foodstuff is currently exiting but how the pungent odor relates to the food consumed. Touching baby poop is the ultimate destiny of virtually every parent and although it is gross at first, it becomes no different that manipulating any other like substance such as mashed potatoes or cottage cheese. If handling human fecal matter is the key to long life, I’ll probably live to be about 90. My wife will probably live forever.

baby poop

You won’t need a photographic memory to appropriately discuss this poop later with your fellow parents. You’ll remember every detail.

As a topic of discussion amongst new parents, virtually nothing is off limits now that anthropoid dung is a relevant and acceptable topic of conversation. New parents, especially mothers, share an uncanny ability to carry on a 15 – 20 minute discussion about not only the frequency of their baby’s bowel movements, but the size, texture, scent, and consistency of the excretion. Few things are more important than recounting how many times your baby dropped a load and what it looked like.

The only significant characteristic that separates baby poop from adult poop is the abhorrent and detestable odor. Adults, for the most part, relieve themselves in a toilet and the instant submerging of the dookie traps the unpleasant aroma. Babies, on the other hand, poop wherever they feel the need and almost never is it into a porcelain bowl of odor-trapping liquid. The fragrant musk of fresh baby droppings can only be described as tantamount to warm roadkill on hot asphalt. The effluvium of a fresh loaf of baby defecate is a bouquet enjoyed only by the seasoned, poo-handling parent.

baby poop

A baby will never thank you for wiping their ass. Form the poo into an artfully crafted message of affection if you ever feel down.

As a parent who comfortably handles and discusses poop, it is tough to remember where you are sometimes. Toggling back and forth between dad and dude is an ability harnessed by only the strong willed and lucid minded. Often times I misplace my verbiage and tell a co-worker that I have to go poo poo. Conversely, I occasionally tell my 14-month-old son to excuse me while I take a shit. It is hard to be consistent with proper nomenclature when there are so many ways to describe an impending need to evacuate percolating human waste.

As you go forward with the knowledge that it is perfectly normal to discuss human feces, keep in mind that the average parent lives this lifestyle on a daily basis. If you are ever uncomfortable or queasy in the presence of poo, just remember that you were a baby once and at some point, someone else wiped your shit. Also keep in mind that as you age, there is an ever-increasing possibility that you’ll once again be needing someone to handle your feces. That person will be a hospice caretaker or a doctor taking a stool sample. Be content with discussing and examining human waste because life comes full circle and poop plays a leading role.

pulling your weight

August 5, 2014
by Creed
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Pulling Your Weight: A Discourse on Stay-at-Home Parenting

I’m awakened at 5am by the sound of incessant caterwauling. What is it? Is that a homeless feline being dissected by a vagrant with a bowie knife? No, that’s my son and he’s packing a load in his britches so large that the thought of hiring some landscapers to shovel it out passes through my mind. I live very close to the border, there must be some immigrants around here somewhere willing to do this on the cheap…Despite my weariness, I go ahead and dive right in, because I do, in fact, love the boy and I’m somewhat of a giver. After this brief episode, I’m quickly off to work where my cup runneth over with a plethora of quality co-workers and a seemingly endless myriad of uneducated simpletons who bring an abundant amount of joy into my already joyous life. But, what the hell, I think to myself…my salary is about the same as people who serve food to other people for gratuities and I only have to work 65 hours per week so basically I’m an extremely satisfied individual with a bountiful 401K and pension plan except I don’t have either of those things. That’s alright, at least the thought of them makes me smile, I’ll only have to work until I’m 90.

At the conclusion of my enriching day laboring amongst the über-intelligent and gifted, I head back home where I’m greeted by the faint aroma of baby vomit in a house that used to smell like floral coriander and sweet carrots marinating in delicious Worchestershire sauce. All I want to do before I restart this illustrious cycle is…maybe lay on the couch, watch some TV, maybe have a beer or two or three and throw my hand in my pants but, unfortunately, none of that is in the definition of “pulling your weight.”

‘Tis true, that being a father comes with no breaks, no workers’ comp, and absolutely zero paid time off. But the solution is an easy one, right? Just tell her about it. Surely your wife or baby momma will sympathize with your endless laboring for your newly hatched spawn. As the immortal Billy Joel tune goes…”tell her about it, tell her how you feel. Give her every reason to except that you’re for real“…Now while this may be a good idea in theory…or sound nice set to music, ‘tis not quite the case with a new baby and a first-time mom. I know what you’re thinking…no one knows relationships better than Billy Joel! However, although “For the Longest Time” might have helped you through a relationship or two, Billy Joel’s commentary on “what you should and shouldn’t tell your significant other” missed the mark entirely. A mother will simply not sympathize with your endless personal turmoil. In fact, she may be jealous of your turmoil and eager to trade places with you.

Why is that? Your suffering is exceeded only by your desire for an hour off. However, while you’ve been at work all day dealing with a proverbial clown car of Mensa scholars that occupy your place of employ, your lady has been home repeating the same cycle of caterwauling and shoveling of baby excrement that you started your day with. While you were a one-time recipient of the backlash of angry-morning-baby, your wife has been home alone with the pungent yet delightful musk of baby shit wafting through the family estate and the soft essence of baby vomit caressing her shoulder. While you choked down the vile sludge in the free employee cafeteria, she was home all day not eating at all, lest she be the victim of not simple caterwauling, but enraged caterwauling for neglecting an exceedingly needy creature who requires the attention usually reserved for royalty. While you were awe struck by the remarkable ineptitude of your award-winning cast of extremely average co-workers, she was at home, awe struck by the remarkable agony of both areolas as they cracked and bled after the profound intensity exacted upon them by a creature who’s unbridled cravings for motherly lactose rivals most of the characters’ blood-lust in the Blade Trilogy. While you were out pulling your weight and perhaps even being recongnized for it, someone else was pulling more, clandestinely.

It’s actually not that sad a tale that men face. The perils of fatherhood are so much more perceived than actual. Where your seemingly ceaseless anguish meets eternal frustration, that’s where you’ll find the being that is really pulling the weight. Stay-at-home parenting earns no money. It contributes nothing to the financial welfare of the family. The stay-at-home parent perceives their existence as stagnate. There is no career that is less thankful. No job less forgiving. No boss more demanding. There is no break, vacation, or paid overtime. It is a job that would never be applied for if it were posted online with a description. The joy of spending an overabundant amount of time with a baby becomes an unforgiving chore.

As I leverage my portly and pathetic corpus out of bed each morning, I smile more when I depart for work, knowing that in my household, I have the easier of the two jobs. I still come home to the same cycle and endure the same hardship, but I complain less. I still find it challenging to pull my weight, but I appreciate that although my relationship with my wife might not always be the way it used to be, it is solely because of the job she is currently doing. My labor provides barely enough to survive. Her labor is what really keeps everything afloat.

July 30, 2014
by Creed
0 comments

Thousands of Years of Bad Parenting Advice: Soviet Union, families

As a highly developed social theory, Communism holds that children represented the power of the future and should be afforded the best possible care and education. Mothers were considered “laborers” and were entitled to benefits as any worker would be.

In the interest of protecting both children and mothers, Soviet Russia organized a system of “crèches,” essentially daycares, where mothers could leave their children while they worked and where children could be molded into the proletariat of the future. The crèche accommodated children ranging from one month to three years and proved to be a means of fighting disease and decreasing child mortality, as children were exposed daily to exercise, food, social interaction, and medical examinations. A crèche was typically connected to a factory and working mothers would be organized into work groups that would coincide with their child’s crèche attendance. The crèche essentially removed the burden of motherhood for a brief time each day and was state sanctioned as a benefit to both mother and child.

Children were often the subjects of intense scientific research. With the Communist regime erasing traditions affiliated with Imperial Russia, there were virtually no social traditions to hinder Soviet science regarding children and the family.

Thousands of Years of Bad Parenting Advice

Colonial America

Victorian England

Soviet Union, orphans

diaper bag

July 21, 2014
by Creed
0 comments

Baby Junk, pt. 2 – Diaper Bag

One thing I’ve learned in the one year I’ve been a parent is that other parents like to tailor their public parenting to meet their narcissistic needs. Parents like when another parent admires how “together” they are. Conversely, some get their jollies by appearing overwhelmed and disheveled. These vainglorious parents enjoy the public perception of their parenting as much as they enjoy their own reflection.

diaper bag

It’s a little known fact that Caravaggio painted his famous “Narcissus” after witnessing the ostentation of new parents at his local grocery store.

One of the benchmarks of parental vanity is the diaper bag. Parents tote this monstrosity around with extreme loyalty, as if the Earth would implode on itself if you accidently forgot it in the car. However, the diaper bag has become more than just a bag for carrying diapers. In my experience, these “diaper bag” parents like to carry everything from diapers and wipes to their personal effects, a various assortment of toys, multiple changes of clothes, and probably a month’s worth of pre-pumped baby deliciousness. None of which is really necessary.

The diaper bag affliction is taking parents by storm. They cannot survive without this thing. A trip to the local grocery store with a baby is suddenly tantamount to traversing the Gobi Desert during the Siberian anticyclone. The sheer volume of supplies parents feel inclined to carry with them at all times is astonishing.

diaper bag

Bactrian camels of the Gobi and new parents with pretentious diaper bags have a lot in common. See? You learned something today.

But in reality, none of this is for the baby. Yes, at some point any or all of it could be used for the baby to some degree, however the diaper bag is an accessory. Modern parents with all their haughty and overbearing charm, have taken the diaper bag and made it a symbol of their self-ascribed parenting acumen. The more clever and creative parents have also adapted the bag to reflect their economic status.

diaper bag

If you don’t have a Gucci diaper bag then you are nothing to me. Be gone.

The diaper bag is a useful device for transporting diapers. But with all these modern parents and their diaper bag vanity, I prefer to keep my diapers and baby ass-wipes locked securely in my gold plated, antique-style, steamer trunk sea chest with vintage wooden leather rustic belt straps. At least when I push my grocery cart around the other parents will know I’m extremely wealthy and possibly a pirate.

Part 1: The Crib

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