Last night we attended a so-cheap-it-was-practically-free class offered by Long Beach Memorial, the hospital where we’ll introduce the gnomes to daylight. It was a Basics Of Not Killing Your Children kind of thing. I think it was just called Baby Care, taught by a woman named Susan.
Susan doesn’t want your baby to drown in the bathtub. She also doesn’t want your baby to electrocute itself with a pair of scissors. She doesn’t want your baby to crack its head open on the bathroom floor, lose limbs to kitchen utensils, burn alive in your car, suffocate on its own snot, choke on toilet water, blind itself with cat litter, die from an infection inspired by a bacteria-infested nasal aspirator or decapitate itself with a passenger-side airbag.
Susan didn’t really lay out any odds, but after hearing her spiel, I put our children’s chances of survival somewhere in the neighborhood of 18%.
(That said, it’s a good thing we’re having three. One of them may make it all the way to preschool.)
She was very specific, Susan was, about every possible horror that could befall your baby. But in her quest to really scare the Jesus out of you, she left things slightly open ended at the close of each warning. “Et cetera,” she’d say. “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”
“Now, when you wash the baby’s clothes, make sure to use detergents with no inks, dyes or perfumes. Why? Baby skin is sensitive, guys, and you don’t want your baby looking like he’s just been cooked in a Burger King broiler. Dyes and perfumes lead to irritation, rashes, et cetera. But you’ll find yourself doing laundry, on average, every other day. Rule of thumb: dress your kids for weather like you’d dress yourself, plus one layer. Little babies don’t have adult immune systems and it’s easy for them to get pneumonia, infections and other complications resulting from hypothermia, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.”
It was all those Et Ceteras that really worked my nerves.
We’ve all seen the Yadda Yadda episode of Seinfeld. George wonders, “she wouldn’t Yadda Yadda sex, would she?”
And I’m wondering, “she wouldn’t Et Cetera, I don’t know, Exploding Baby Syndrome, would she?”
At one point, I counted six consecutive Et Ceteras.
Not that it took loads of tea leaf reading to predict this one, but Carey was barely holding it together by the end of this class. 3 solid hours of listing potential baby killers, each one more gruesome than the last, I mean come on. Any expectant mom would be a mess. And, as Susan kept reminding us, et cetera, our only hope of protecting your Precious Package is CONSTANT VIGILANCE.
And whoops! We’re having three.
Listen, the class was helpful, it really was. Terrifying, but filled with good info nonetheless. Next Monday night, we’re going back again for, I don’t know, Advanced Parenting or something. Also taught by Susan.
The following week: Breast Feeding. Which, I’m told, is mandatory for dads for some reason.
Well, whatever. It’s all good. We knew the job was dangerous when we took it (even though we were, technically, kinda drafted).
Oh, and before I forget: remember to turn your hot water heater down to 120 degrees. Otherwise you’ll find yourself in an emergency room with a scalded baby on your hands. Which could easily lead to further complications.
And so on and so forth.