Category Archives: Humor

Bitty Baby Bucket List

A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions. ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I’ve been reading a lot lately about bucket lists — lists of things that you want to do before you kick the bucket. Seems like different people have different thoughts about them, running all the way from “Yay! Somebody give me a checklist!” to “Ugh! How bourgeois.” I think I fall somewhere in the middle. Yeah, it’s a little trendy right now, and it’s pretty unlikely that making a list is really going to help you to live your life to the fullest. But I like the idea of having goals, and even more importantly, I reallyreallyreally like to make lists.

I don’t want to make a regular bucket list, though. Making a list of all the things that I want to do before I die seems pretty intimidating — after all, it would be about fifty gazillion items long and would include complete nonsense like, “Fly like Peter Pan”, “Tame a unicorn”, and “Fit into those jeans from college”. So I’m going to make my list a bit more limited. At least for right now, I’ll keep it to ten (realistic) things that I want to do with Sausage before he grows up and no longer wants to do things with me.

In no particular order:

1.  Go to a petting zoo. I remember how simultaneously exciting and terrifying a petting zoo could be when I was little. I remember being warned that “Geese can be nasty” while having a handful of seeds for them thrust into my little hands. I want Sausage to have the tactile memory of a goat licking between his fingers.

Still a little bit terrifying. You know, in a good way. (Photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

Still a little bit terrifying. You know, in a good way. (Photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

2. Go puddle stomping. There is no joy quite like getting soaked from jumping in puddles during a summer rain. The times when you don’t worry about your clothes, wear ratty old sneakers, and go out there and see who can make the biggest splash. I think that’s one of the greatest joys of childhood. And I honestly wouldn’t say no to a good puddle stompin’ session even now.

3. Go tent camping. Complete with a campfire (Loving Husband can light a fire with one match and no lighter fluid — it’s one of his many skills), one-pot meals seasoned with dirt, and s’mores. I draw the line at peeing behind a tree, though — I’ve done it, it sucks, and I have nothing to prove, dammit. I’ll leave that experience to Sausage and his Daddy.

4. Visit caverns. I did this as a kid, and again as an adult, and it just never stops being cool. I don’t care how touristy it is, it’s still awesome to go down into a hole and see amazing rock formations. And then when they turn out the lights? Yes.

I'll have to get past my tendency to see penises everywhere, though. Yeesh. (Photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

I’ll have to get past my tendency to see penises everywhere, though. Yeesh. (Photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

5. Teach him to dance. I don’t mean ballroom dancing, although if he’s into it I’ll gladly teach Sausage a bit of swing. I mean that I want to teach him to appreciate moving his body, and not to be afraid of it, the way so many sad-sack white dudes are.

6. Go up in a hot air balloon. Okay, this one is also for me. I’ve never been, and I want to go. Having Sausage along would be my excuse.

Q: What do Scotsmen have under their kilts? A: A burning sensation, and a basket. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Q: What do Scotsmen have under their kilts? A: A burning sensation, and a basket. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

7. Eat bugs. I just hope my kid is adventuresome enough to put a chocolate covered cricket in his mouth. I’m not going to encourage him to eat what he finds in the backyard, though. Gourmet insects only.

8. Read all the Harry Potter books aloud. Loving Husband and I did this before Sausage came along, and it was great. We’d do a chapter or two before bed every night. It seems like a pretty terrific thing to do as a family. After that, if it sticks, we can move on to other books. “A Tale Of Two Cities”, maybe?

Hopefully he'll be less bored than these poor kids look. ("Family Portrait of a Boy and his two Sisters admiring a Sketch Book", François Flameng)

Hopefully he’ll be less bored than these poor kids look. (“Family Portrait of a Boy and his two Sisters admiring a Sketch Book”, François Flameng)

9. Bake things. My little brother and I used to sit in front of the oven and watch cookies rise. We were boring children. But still, an awful lot of family memories seem to be tied up in the making and eating of cookies, and pies, and cakes, and … crap, now I’m hungry.

10. Discover his most deeply held wish, and make it happen. Obviously, we can’t afford to fulfill every one of Sausage’s dreams, and we don’t want him to grow up expecting everyone to bend over backwards to make his wishes come to fruition. But if we find that he loves horses more than anything? We can manage horseback riding lessons. He wants to be an astronaut, and he can’t get his head out of the stars? Space camp could be a possibility. He loves movies? A trip to Universal Studios, maybe. I want him to have one shining memory of getting EXACTLY what he wanted — one time when he felt that all his dreams were coming true. Because what is childhood without the conviction that your dreams can come true?

This face deserves all the smiles I can give it.

This face deserves all the smiles I can give it.

What are some of the wonderful things you’ve done or intend to do with your kids? I’d love to hear your ideas! (No, really. Please comment? I’ll love you forever!)

An Open Letter To Princess Kate

Being pregnant is an occupational hazard of being a wife. ~ Queen Victoria

Dear Kate (can I call you Kate? It’s so much friendlier than Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge),

How are you holding up? I know, pregnancy sucks, even without hyperemesis gravidarum, which in layman terms means, “Oh holy shit, this is AWFUL.” You can’t keep any food down, you feel bloated and don’t fit into your favorite clothes. And the worst? You are getting unsolicited advice from EVERYONE. I mean, seriously, you’ve got paparazzi following you around, ‘journalists’ analyzing your every move, strangers sending letters to tell you what to eat and how to raise your baby. And (let’s be honest here), you’ve got a grandmother-in-law that you REALLY don’t want to piss off by puking on her shoes.

One SERIOUSLY intimidating in-law! (Photo courtesy of Ricardo Stuckert/PR, via Wikimedia Commons.)

One SERIOUSLY intimidating in-law! (Photo courtesy of Ricardo Stuckert/PR, via Wikimedia Commons.)

So basically, your pregnancy is exactly like everybody else’s. It differs in the details, and in the degree of interest that it generates in strangers (though not by as much as you think — more on that later), but overall, you’re feeling very much like every other woman pregnant with her first child.

This is a letter of solidarity. This is a blogger issuing unsolicited advice to a stranger; but you know, I do it out of love. I was at your wedding, after all. Which is to say, I hauled my almost-nine-months-pregnant bulk to the living room at six in the morning so that I could cry over how beautiful you looked, cry over how handsome your prince was, cry over the hilariously silly hats, and generally remind myself that true love wins in the end. I went through a lot of tissues that morning.

This is how I looked 'round about your wedding day. I felt like a beached whale.

This is how I looked ’round about your wedding day.

Plus, you know, we have a lot in common. We both have supportive and loving husbands to shore us up during the hard times. We both have unbelievably fantastic hair (well, mine would be if I ever had the time to wash it). And we both look really good in indigo. Plus, there’s the whole Kate/Kathy thing. So that’s enough to be going on with, I think.

This is you at about the same time. Don't worry, I'm not bitter. (Photo by Dogbertio 14, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

This is you at about the same time. Don’t worry, I’m not bitter. (Photo by Dogbertio 14, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Now, here’s how I picture your life right now. Yeah, you have royal obligations, and you meet them with an admirable degree of grace. But I’m also picturing you spending more time than you’d really like to lying in bed, feeling unwell, wearing oversized sweats and a graphic tee shirt from some event you attended in college, surfing the internet for reassurance and distraction. Reassurance that you’re not the only one who feels the way you do, and distraction from the unpleasantness of it all.

You’re also probably spending a great deal of time dreaming, fantasizing, about the beautiful baby that you will have when this is all over. Will it be a boy or a girl? Have blonde hair, brown, or maybe even red? Will he have your dimples? Will she have Wills’ smile?

Baby toes. Just as good for kissing as you're imagining them to be. (Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange.)

Baby toes. Just as good for kissing as you’re imagining them to be. (Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange.)

And there’s also the scarier kind of fantasizing. What kind of mom will you be? Will you be able to counteract the scary things in your world — being constantly in the public eye, so much pressure to be a certain way — and raise your child to be a good, healthy, functional person?

Believe it or not, I’ve been there. All women who have children have been. Being visibly pregnant is to be a little bit of a rock star, even for those of us who live in relative anonymity. Strangers stop you on the street, chide you for eating/drinking/doing whatever it is that you’re in the middle of right then. They want to touch your stomach, they insist on hearing personal details of your health and pregnancy. And all the while, you’re walking the line between excitement and terror.

So here’s some unsolicited advice from a semi-anonymous blogger in America. You’ll probably never even see it. But I like to think that you will.

Trust yourself. You are the final word when it comes to your child. If something feels wrong to you, even if it’s something that you’re being told to do by a doctor or someone else that you respect, get a second opinion. Or a third. You know your own body, and ultimately that of your child, better than anybody else does.

Trust yourself. You don’t want your kid to grow up a spoiled, obnoxious royal? Set limits that feel right to you. All your baby really needs are warm arms to snuggle in, a safe place to sleep, and your voice singing softly. Prada booties are only necessary if they make YOU really happy.

Babies do not need shoes. But sometimes mommies need their babies to have shoes anyway. (Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange.)

Babies do not need shoes. But sometimes mommies need their babies to have shoes anyway. (Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange.)

Trust yourself. You chose this life, but you don’t have to buy into all the trappings. Raise your child in a way that feels right to you, including or discounting tradition as seems best to you. Your relationship with your child is the most important thing, not pictures taken in Edward VI’s moldy old christening gown.

Trust your husband. Seriously. That dude loves the living daylights out of you, and he’s going to be a wonderful father. Trust him to take care of both of you. Royal or not, you three are a family.

(Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange.)

(Photo courtesy of Stock Exchange.)

Trust yourself. It’s not advice that I always take for myself, but it’s advice that every new mom needs to hear.

Believe it or not, there’s a largely silent sector of the public who, when we heard that you were pregnant, smiled and quietly congratulated you in our heads. We’re the ones who, when we heard of the difficulties you’ve had, quietly sent prayers and positive vibes to you to help you get through. We’re not devoting energy to speculation about gender/names/designer baby gear. We’re just seeing in you another woman who is expecting her first child. We, which is to say I, empathize.

Love to you,

Kathy V.

PS: This gleeful toddler smile came as a result of me saying, “Sausage! Smile for Kate Middleton!” So, you know. Eyes on the prize.

Yes. Those are cow-print baby legwarmers. And they make me very happy.

Yes. Those are cow-print baby legwarmers. He doesn’t need them. And they make me very happy.

Families In The Loop

It’s wonderful to be here in the great state of Chicago. ~ Dan Quayle

Hey! Look at that! New content from Don’t Forget To Feed The Baby exists on the interwebz! It’s on a fabulous site called Families in the Loop, which is a community resource site for parents in Chicago, primarily (DON’T TELL THEM THAT I LIVE IN BALTIMORE!)

Click here to see it: How A Toddler Can Wreck A Mom’s Body Image.