Before having a child, my husband and I would while away countless hours swilling cocktails, smoking cigarettes and discussing art, politics, rock and roll, philosophy, you name it.  There were declarations of solidarity and heated debates on any number of decidedly adult topics.  Now conversations tend toward far less challenging fare.  Frequency and consistency of toddler bowel movements is a go-to.  As is questioning merits of expensive, fancy-pants organic apple juice vs. the perfectly serviceable store brand (I mean, how much better can it really be?).  Take this recent example, which took place in our living room, as my husband folded laundry and I perused Wikipedia in search of information on some of our two-year- old’s most beloved television characters:

What is WITH these guys?

Me:  Hey, did you know there was a fifth Wiggle?

Him:  What the hell are you talking about?

M:  The Wiggles.  There used to be a fifth member.  I wonder what color shirt he wore?

H:  Huh?

M:  I bet it was pink.  Had to be pink.  Ooooh, and did you know that Jeff hated kids at first?

H:  Who?

M:  The purple one.  The narcoleptic.  That’s why he’s always falling asleep.  They wrote that bit in so he wouldn’t have to interact with the kids as much.

H:  Well that’s fair.  Most kids are gross.

M:  And sticky.

H:  So sticky.

M: And did you know Greg owned the fourth largest collection of Elvis memorabilia in the world?

H:  Which one is Greg?

M:  The yellow one.

H:  The one that died?

M:  You’re morbid!  He didn’t die, he retired due to….wait….(feverishly scans Wiki)…orthostatic intolerance.

H: (pretends to know what orthostatic intolerance means) Oh, I though he died.  Or got fired.  Or it was like a Menudo situation and they kick you out after a few years.

M:  Right, like a puppy that isn’t cute anymore so he has to go live on a farm.  I thought maybe he got kicked out for a coke habit or a leaked sex tape.  Or maybe he punched a hooker like the Sham-wow! guy.

H:  No dirt though?

M:  Nope.  Squeaky clean.  Thought for sure there would be SOMETHING elicit.  They are musicians after all.

H (musician):  Oh ha, ha!  Cute.

M:  I’m bored with this.  I wonder if I can find any dirt on Raffi….


Parenting Dictionary, 2nd Edition




Sudden, explosive bowel movement vastly exceeding the absorbency limits of the common disposable diaper.  Occurs most often in areas with limited access to proper changing facilities or government-issue Haz Mat suits.  This phenomenon strikes without warning and wreaks havoc and destruction upon all who bear witness.

example:  “On our road trip to Area 51, we were forced to pull off the freeway after little Agent Mulder had a shitastrohe of epic proportions.  We had to call AAA, the Red Cross and a priest to deal with the cleanup.  Pretty sure the car is totaled.”

Terror-Alert Yellow

A few nights ago, we found a dirty diaper in our bed.  Before you recoil in horror, know that it was only pee (okay, so a moderate amount of horror is completely justified).  Ready to retire for the evening, we pulled back the covers and there IT was.  Unearthed like a pirate’s treasure, but instead of fine rum and gold doubloons it was another person’s urine.  File this one under Unsolved Mysteries, because we have absolutely no idea how it got there.  It wasn’t me, my husband claims it wasn’t him, and the cat sure as hell isn’t fessing up.  Colonel Mustard in the bedroom with the diaper full of aged piss!  As a rule, we don’t change our son in our bedroom – that action goes down in his room, 50 ft. and a load-bearing wall away.  Dirty diapers are hastily deposited into one of those super-fancy disposal units with the refill bags that cost $7.99 (and my home smells only faintly of feces – hooray!).    Be it numero uno o dos, we pride ourselves on taking great care to ensure excrement is well contained at all times.  So how could such a breach in protocol occur?  Needless to say, the situation was concerning.

Every so often, you have one of those crystalizing moments where you realize just how profoundly parenthood has changed you.  Life as you knew it has been forever altered; former priorities set askew by the enormity of caring for another human being.  Such a moment occurred that night when, utterly exhausted from a day of wrangling a hyper-active two year old, we decided to simply toss that diaper across the room and collapse into bed.  I’ll change the sheets in the morning – tonight, we sleep in pee!

Sharp Dressed Man

Obvious statement alert:  I love my son.  Crazy, right?  No really, it’s true.  I do.  Every nuance of his boy-ness is utterly extraordinary to me.  Absolutely, why wouldn’t you smash that toy robot against the side of the bookshelf?  Yes, I too was wondering what that handful of mud would taste like!  Of course!  Raising a tiny dude has been absolutely fascinating in its foreignness.  Pass me a Tonka Truck, because I’m hooked.  That said, in the interest of full-disclosure; for the entirety of my pregnancy, I 100%, without question, wanted a girl.  I’d like to say it was because I grew up with only one sibling, a younger sister. Or because I did a short stint as a nanny for a dear friend’s two lovely daughters.  Hell, even back in the day when I was a card-carrying member of the babysitter’s club, my charges were always precocious little girls.  In my limited baby experience, I had less than zero experience with boys.  My longing for the familiar in the fish-out-of-water world of first time parenthood was reasonable enough.  But if I’m being completely honest, above anything else, it was all about the clothes.


I recall wandering through the baby section of my neighborhood Target in a daze, my belly only an hour before slathered in goo and wanded over to reveal I was harboring an itty bitty willy.  My attempt at retail therapy fell apart completely when I unwittingly wandered into a sea of pink ruffles.  Pint-sized Mary Janes?  Thanks but no thanks.  Impossibly tiny tutus?  Keep on walking.  I fought the urge to hurl myself atop a pile of gingham party dresses and weep as I felt my dress-up doll fantasy melting away.  But wait…is that a tiny grandpa cardigan?  A little denim jacket?  Wow, I didn’t even know they made fedoras that small!  All right then.  I think I can get in to this….


I had been completely unaware of the vast array of hipster classics sized for the diminutive gentleman.  Onesies emblazoned with musical iconography from Ziggy Stardust to Johnny Cash.  Before he even possesses awareness of his extremities, you can stuff those chubby little baby feet into a pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers.  Top the look off with a tiny motorcycle jacket (complete with superfluous zippers) and someone’s ready to go loft-hunting in Williamsburg!


But even with this array of  itty bitty fashionisto cuteness, I still noticed several disturbing trends. True atrocities onto baby-kind.  For instance, a vast selection of t-shirts boasting the child’s prowess with the fairer sex.  Eeeeeew!  Now, I’m no prude.  Farthest thing from it, actually.  But if you ever find me purchasing a onesie that reads “Daddy says I’m a MILF magnet”, know that I’ve lost my ever-loving mind and I require immediate and drastic psychiatric intervention.  Seriously, crank those electrodes to ‘Silvia Plath’.  Not that I doubt my adorable son’s ability to ensure my husband is perpetually knee-deep in playground skanks, but I don’t know if that’s where we’d like to spend our advertising dollars this quarter.  Gross.  There also seemed to be a disproportionate amount of nautically themed clothing for young boys; as if we’re raising a generation on tiny, effeminate sailors.  Now I enjoy the crisp ocean air as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean that I want to dress my son like a chorus singer from a community theater production of The H.M.S. Pinafore.  If my boy ever decided to take to the seas, my hope would be that he’d opt for the understated elegance of a tasteful navy and white stripe.  Or perhaps something with a little retro cache, a la The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.  But pale yellow bloomers embroidered with baby blue anchors?  Sailor beware.


So here’s what I’ve learned:  beyond the fashion disasters that would have your wee man looking like a foppish dandy, old-timey baseball player, or Ed Hardy reject, there’s much fun to be had with your baby boy’s wardrobe.  Imagine someone took an issue of GQ and shrunk it to adorable proportions.  At times it’s nearly too cute to take.  And so I continue to spend the money that should be used for things like paying off my gargantuan student loans on expanding my son’s wardrobe.  Only occasionally do I feel that old longing for the pink and frilly.  But who knows, perhaps when we walk down that road again, the next child will be a girl.  For the sake of my credit card debt, I sort of hope not.  Besides, who would wear all these hand-me-down cardigans?