Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera

17 May

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.

The Baby Care class. And 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?”

A page from my notes.

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.

11 Responses to “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera”

  1. Newlyweds Next Door May 17, 2011 at 4:18 pm #


    I love that societys treats parents-to-be like “congrats!! Now be VERY VERY afraid! FEAR!!!!!!!!”

    Watch the movie “Babies” — it’s boring but encouraging. If those kids can thrive in Afria and Mongolia your will be fine in modern America. Plus he Afrian family practically had triplets since the kids all seemed so close in age.

    • Jeremy May 17, 2011 at 4:35 pm #

      Yeah, man, it’s totally crazy. Not to minimize the pain of parents who’ve lost their children to extension cord hangings or whatever, but we had to start wondering if there was any hope whatsoever. How do people become adults? Are we all just odds-beating lucky ducks or something? Should I start playing lotto, because clearly I’m a born winner?

      We did see Babies and your review is right on: boring but encouraging. I thought of that film also when they were talking about baby-proofing your bathroom. What’s the Mongolian version of Susan? “Remember: when you leave your baby in his tupperware bowl bathtub in the dirt-floor doorway of your home, be careful not to let the family goat eat him as it drinks the kid’s bath water, et cetera.”

  2. lenarivers May 17, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    honestly, you’ll make a lot of adjustments just out of annoyance and frustration. ;o) you’ll hate how they keep trying to play in the toilet, or dump things out, or touch the stove, or cling to your legs while you’re trying to move around in the kitchen …etc.

  3. Bob W. May 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

    Wow, it’s a wonder any of us made it to kindergarten. My Mom smoked through her whole pregnancy and after I was born would gently lay me on my back in my lead-based painted crib with a glass bottle to play with and diapers held on with big sharp steel pins! The horror! I’m sure that you’ll find babies are a lot more durable than we think. (Not that I am an expert on babies but I know I was one and I know I am still here)

  4. Jessica W. May 17, 2011 at 9:17 pm #

    When my daughter was less than 2 wks old, in a VERY tired & ill mommy moment, I lost my footing on the stairs and we both went tumbling down. I tried to hold onto her, but it was impossible. She fell out of my arms and went down at least a few steps on her own. She was TOTALLY fine… in fact, I think she was giggling by the time the 911 operator answered the call.

    I share this not to terrorize you more, but to encourage you.

    I think what amazed me most about the whole thing is how quickly the parental instinct kicks in – I had horrible bruising b/c I did nothing to break my own fall(s). My only focus was her. Your (and Carey’s) God-given discernment and instinct will help out more than you can imagine.

    Still praying for all 5 of you — every day.

    • Jessica W. May 17, 2011 at 9:21 pm #

      So, this is obviously not a case where my instinct helped, but I think you get the points I’m trying to make. lol.

  5. Rochelle C. May 18, 2011 at 3:41 am #

    I love the note that said never to sleep with your baby on you while you are sleeping. While I get the point, can I just say I did that with all three . . .in the hospital recovering with morophine. Shhhh, don’t tell Susan, but the nurses let me do it.

    I’d also like to add, it’s good that you avoided the danger of older siblings by having yours all at once or you might have to learn to never put your infant in the bouncey seat and doze off while Dora entertains your 4 year old. You will be rudely awakened to the sound of baby’s first giggles because the 4-year-old is letting the baby catch air time by boucing said baby so hard it looks like the bouncer is going to break. True story. I’d like to know if Susan has any advice for that.

  6. StayatHomeTripletDad May 18, 2011 at 5:38 am #

    I hope they have a multiples class for you all. It was most helpful for us and we made some great friends in the class! We also got to tour the NICU. Yeah, we took the three hour breast feeding class. Unfortunately ours were born at 33 weeks and never latched so they had bottles. My wife was very sad but the kids are fine. We fed them one at a time even with a bottle.

    Like the other comments, we made it through life with no helmets, drinking out of a hose, no safety plugs in sockets, no safety gates, etc…etc…etc… Just wait, you will have your “I’m a terrible parent” moment like we do (on a regular basis.) Just remember Grace. Forgive, adjust and move on… don’t dwell on it.

    You hear that clicking? That is your roller coaster headed up the first hill. When they are born you crest the top and things really get moving!!!!

    Keep the faith,


  7. Chrissy May 18, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    We attended a class much like yours before we had our twins and left feeling completely terrified. Until the babies are born you will never feel “ready”, but the most amazing thing happens once they are here…..natural instinct kicks in…you just know what to do and when to do it. It is like you and your child ARE built just for each other. When you look at your babies you will automatically hold them correctly (lovingly), know when to change them and recognize a hunger cry (it is like hearing the sound a rattle snake makes you’ve accidently run up on…you’ve never heard it before but you instinctively know exactly what it is.)
    Okay, that is a bit of a strange example, but I had the same feelings the first time I ran into a rattle snake and the first time I heard my babies cry in hunger…my whole body knew what it was and what to do without any thought process. You’ll know what to do to baby gates or not.
    You are going to be great parents!


  1. Daniel « Tips On Triplets - May 24, 2011

    […] recall last Monday’s Baby Care class.  Well, this week was Becoming Parents, once again hosted by Susan (etc.), chock full of helpful […]

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    […] do it. It is like you and your child ARE built just for each other. ‘Now, when you wash the Baby‘s clothes, make sure to use detergents with no inks, dyes or perfumes. Why. […]

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