Baby feet girl

And then they were two…

This is going to surprise you, but parenting is sort of hard. Harder than owning cats, even.

You take care of a tiny little human that relies on you for everything and needs near-constant attention. In return, you’re rewarded with sleepless nights, constant worries, and—later—toddler’s temper tantrums. Awesome!

So then you, a rational, sane person, look upon this shitty deal and go, “Hey, I know! Let’s have another baby!”

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Mocking Bird Green Background

“Hush Little Baby” lullaby is certifiably insane

Once you become a dad, you start to discover new things about yourself, like how your eardrums are built to not rupture from your baby’s supersonic screams. In my case, I have also discovered that I’m into singing lullabies. I’m not much of a singer, but it seems to calm my son down. Granted, he could also simply be pretending to fall asleep whenever I start a song in order to make me shut up. But hey, I’ll take it.

Luckily, we live in the age of the Internet, so it’s easy to look up lullabies and lyrics online. This is how I stumbled upon “Hush Little Baby,” probably one of the most well-known lullabies out there. You know, this one:

I was vaguely familiar with the lullaby before, but I was surprised to learn that the lyrics actually went beyond “Hush little baby don’t say a word, na na nanana na na mockingbird.”

Now, as an expert on all things “Hush Little Baby,” I can inform you that the lullaby’s lyrics are basically a smorgasbord of loopy outbursts that hint at the singer’s unraveling psyche. Come, take my hand, and let’s take a look at those lyrics together:

Hush little baby, don’t say a word,
Mama’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.

We’re off to a decent start. A bit of a random present for a tiny baby, but it sort of makes sense. A mockingbird can mimic other birds and even imitate the sounds of amphibians and insects. So I guess it’s quite handy for baby entertainment purposes.

Also, mockingbirds are relatively easy to come by, so that’s always a plus. It’s probably not strictly legal to tame wild bird species, but I’m not a wildlife lawyer, so what do I care.

And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
Mama’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.

Wow. Really went for the top shelf with that one, mom. Sounds like a really ill-advised present for a newborn. What’s a baby to do with a diamond ring? Sure, it’s shiny, but so is glitter, which has the added benefit of not single-handedly wrecking your entire household economy. Plus a diamond ring is a definite choking hazard, so this is starting to smell of gross parental negligence.

And if that diamond ring turns to brass,
Mama’s gonna buy you a looking glass.

Kind of a letdown after that diamond ring, don’t you think? Way to build up unrealistic expectations and then shatter your child’s fragile mind with this shitty gift. From diamond ring to fancy-sounding mirror. How does this even happen? Do you make your purchasing decisions by closing your eyes and thrusting your finger into a coloring book? But yeah, okay, at least the baby can learn to recognize shapes and—eventually—himself in the mirror. Whatever.

And if that looking glass gets broke,
Mama’s gonna buy you a billy goat.

Now you’re just fucking with all of us. What kind of a gift is that for someone still in the process of developing basic motor skills?! Where are you going to store a freaking goat? Do you live on a farm? If yes, your baby is already surrounded by farm animals. He doesn’t need a smelly goat living next to his crib. If you live in a city, this can’t possibly be a feasible venture. You’re starting to sound like a bit of a maniac.

And if that billy goat won’t pull,
Mama’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.

Okay, so here’s the thing: You have now purchased two animals of two separate species for your very spoiled and now very confused infant. Both of them stopped functioning in one way or another. Is yet another animal really what you’d want to go for?

Also, what does it mean that a goat “won’t pull,” exactly? What’s the poor creature supposed to be pulling?

Unless…unless this whole “won’t sing” and “won’t pull” nonsense is your way of gently informing your baby that the animals you’ve purchased are dead. It’s that, isn’t it? If the goat were still alive, you wouldn’t be out buying a bull-drawn cart, like some untamed lunatic.

You have successfully managed to murder two animals in your care, and your first instinct right after that is “Meh, let’s go get another one”?! You’re a truly sick human being, did you know that?

And if that cart and bull turn over,
Mama’s gonna buy you a dog named Rover.

Right, so a puppy is a perfectly acceptable gift and makes for a loyal family pet. This is where normal people would typically start.

But not you. Oh no, not you.

In your case, the poor puppy is just the next victim in some twisted plan to wipe out our planet’s fauna. Your animal-keeping record is goddamn atrocious. You should be on some watch list by now, if not locked up safely in maximum security prison. Stop compulsively buying animals you can’t even take care of!

And if that dog named Rover won’t bark,
Mama’s gonna buy you a horse and cart.

Fuck right off! You have already tried the “cart + hoofed animal” combo. Two animals ago. Remember how that turned out? Horribly, is the answer.

You’re the worst. You make crappier decisions than an epileptic monkey placing bets on a roulette table. What’s the meaning of this lullaby?! What are we to understand from this?

Wait. I have a theory. Nod once if I’m right, okay?

It’s…it’s your newborn son. He’s the one killing all those animals. You’re just trying to appease his insatiable appetite for blood. That’s why you can’t stop obsessively buying up all those animals. You’re his mother; you can’t resist his charms. You’re under his spell. No matter what he does, no matter how many animals he murders in cold blood, he’ll always be your little baby boy, won’t he?

And if that horse and cart fall down,
You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town!

I knew it!

Baby father hands

8 surprising things I learned from becoming a dad

Remember how I told you we were expecting a baby? You don’t?! You should really pay attention, I mentioned it literally two sentences ago.

Yeah, so I’m a dad now. Little Nathan was born on May 17. Nathan and his mom are both doing well. We’re getting used to the new parenting role.

Speaking of which, here are a couple of unexpected things I’ve learned, now that I’m a dad.

1. Babies don’t come from where you think they do

For one, I saw a total of zero storks at the hospital. Really. Not a single stork. Not even a storkling (is that a thing?). Finding babies in a cabbage patch? Also complete bullshit!

I don’t know what kind of sick fucks came up with these misleading myths, but if you believed them like I did, you’re in for one serious horror show once you get to the hospital with your wife. You’ve been warned. Maybe Google that stuff in advance, yeah?

2. If you have cats, they’ll freak right the hell out (for a while)

Our cats were alone for a few days while we were staying at the hospital. Well, not completely alone. We’re not monsters. Our neighbors dropped by to feed them. Still, they weren’t too happy once we got back, and they got significantly not-too-happier still when they realized we brought that thing home. (I’m convinced “that thing” is the term Django and Pebbles use for Nathan. “Hairless kitten” may be another one.)

For the first few days, their mood oscillated between cautious curiosity and utter shock. Case in point:

Cat and crib

Cautious curiosity

Shocked cats and baby

Utter shock

Once it dawned upon them that the baby was here to stay, the cats went into full “wounded diva” mode. At one point, Django gave me the cold shoulder when I tried to pet him. I may be imagining this, but I swear I could hear him mumble, “yeah, don’t do me any favors, man.”

They’re fine now, though. Cats are resilient like that.

3. There are entirely too many baby apps for your smartphone

Do you want to get some parenting tips? There’s an app for that. Tracking your son’s nap times? Get an app. Lullabies? App. Baby exercises. App. Want to book an anonymous flight ticket to escape to another country while your wife and son are sleeping? There’s probably an app for that. I mean, I assume. It’s not like I checked. *coughs nervously*

One of the nurses gave us a sheet of paper with a table where we could track Nathan’s feeding times. Cleverly, I figured there’d be an app to take care of that. Less cleverly, I ended up downloading one that tracks not only feeding times but also sleep, diaper changes, baths, playtime, tummy time, walking outside time, crying-helplessly-from-having-to-track-every-little-thing-about-your-baby time.

When a mildly OCD person like myself gets an app like that? Not good, as you might imagine. We’re talking about a guy who once chased his then-future-wife all around Copenhagen to take pictures of over 100 colorful elephant statues for a virtual collection. That is a thing that happened.

4. Your husband-wife communication will get…weird

Every couple has a sort of inside language—little words and phrases that mean something unique to just the two of them. When the baby comes, this gets extended with new stuff. That’s when you get phrases like, “the right boob is 10 minutes behind,” whenever the baby eats more from the left than from the right (thanks, stupid baby tracking app).

Eventually, this just gets shortened to military-style snap communication. “BFR, eleven ten to eleven fifteen.” That may sound like crazy talk, but what it actually means is “breast feeding on the right, from 11:10 to 11:15.” So, yeah, crazy talk.

And then, once you both are exhausted, you just get into awkward situations where you think you’re understanding each other when you’re clearly not.

Wife: “Can you bring the white things from the bedroom?”

Me: “Yup, nothing else?”

Wife: “No, just the white things.”

Me: “Okay cool.”

[moments later, hands wife white baby towels]

Me: “Here you go!”

Wife: “Oh, no, that’s not what I meant. I meant the…how are they called…the things for wiping?”

Me: “Wet wipes?”

And so on. It’s pretty incredible how two otherwise functioning adults can be so quickly deprived of their mental faculties by a tiny, three-kilogram dude.

5. Sleep is for the weak

Some people claim that you need around seven or eight hours of sleep a night. That’s ridiculous! For one, no you don’t. For two, that’s grossly inefficient. If you spend that much time sleeping, that’s one third of your entire life right there. Wasted. On sleep.

I found that if you skip sleep altogether, you can accomplish a lot more than before, like reading that book you never finished, cleaning your house, catching up on emails, preparing this plane of existence for the imminent arrival of our master Lord Xenus of Alderia. Oh, yeah, about that…

6. Hallucinations are real

On day four of your no-sleep marathon, you’ll notice strange figures shifting sneakily through your house. You’ll try to grasp at them, but your hands will pass right through them as if through air. At that point, what little is left of your logical brain will try to convince you that you’re seeing things that don’t exist. But you’ll know better. You’ll know!

Then the voices will start—mere whispers, at first, but they’ll grow louder. And louder. AND LOUDER. Until they scream at you with the power of a million shattered souls and demand that you start building a portal that connects this universe to the kingdom of Alderia and its supreme overlord, Lord Xenus. Lord Xenus is omnipotent but also kind and merciful. If you do his bidding, he shall grand you eternal life by his side as his loyal servant. All you need to do is obey the voices. OBEY THE VOICES!

7. This world belongs to Lord Xenus now

Tremble before his awesome might, you puny mortal feeblings! Hear his words and submit to his will, for only then can you hope for a chance at salvation. Embrace the darkness. Let it seep into your very skin and imbue you with its powers of immortality!

Yes!

YEEEEEEES!

CAN YOU FEEL IT?! LORD XENUS IS COMING! HE’S ALMOST HERE! TOGETHER, WE SHALL RULE ALL THINGS!

8. Hahahahahahahhahahahaha

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!