We leave for a trip in two days. With my baby. I don’t know why either.
My son is going to hit the eight-month mark while we’re on vacation in Ireland. I’m pretty nervous about my son’s first plane ride. Nervous and scared. Mostly that another passenger will get so pissed about my unruly child that he’ll yell at my wife and things will get physical. You know, valid concerns.
We’ve gotten some tips for flying with a baby, things like: try Benadryl, and bring a new toy to distract and confuse him with its newness, distribute pre-emptive goody bags, etc. And we may or may not try these. But there’s one thing we’ve been trying already – conditioning my son for what he’s about to experience, in order to make it easier on both him and ourselves.
I wrote a list about how to train your baby – for vacation and for life.
How to Train Your Baby
- Extend his sleep routine
This is the tip we’ve begun implementing pre-vacation. Supposedly if you push the kid past his sleepy-time comfort zone by an hour every day leading up to the trip, he will adjust better to the time change and allow you to pound more beers without crying his ass off just because the clock struck 6:45. I’ll keep you posted. Also, if it doesn’t work, I’ll keep you posted on how well a defenseless baby can survive by himself in the green pastures of Ireland.
- Strengthen his teeth
The kid kind of came up with this one himself. He puts everything he can get his hands on into his mouth. His favorite food seems to be my BlackBerry. I’ve started to leave large pieces of steel and wood around so he can practice chomping on those. After a few months of that his teeth/jaw should be pretty strong so if he doesn’t pan out as the next star of those E-trade commercials we can sell him to the circus where he can earn sixpence by ripping out seal jugulars with his teeth. Come one come all!
- Strengthen his legs
This isn’t even a big deal. Every parent with a baby buys an exersaucer or one of those “attach a bouncy chair to a door frame and hold your breath” death-traps. Kids love these things. My son bounces nonstop, giving his legs a real workout. But if you want to add an element, throw things at him while he’s bouncing! Not only will this improve his reflexes, babies look supercool with black eyes and he’ll have a leg up in future dodgeball tournaments. And we all know that if your kid sucks at dodgeball, he’ll be a walking case of PTSD for the rest of his life.
- Strengthen his arms
Lay your son on his chest in order to force him to lift himself up with his arms. All the baby books call this “tummy time.” I put a bowl of water under his face and call it “Push or Drown.” It may be harsh, but do you think those guys is Navy Seal Team Six have any sympathy for my son? Hell no they don’t. And nor should they.
- Strengthen his knuckles
When I was a kid, I refused to take karate lessons because I was convinced that every instructor was a psycho like Sensai Lt. John Kreese from Cobra Kai dojo. Also, there was nothing more lame than that one kid in 4th grade who said he was a brown belt. Shut up, Nate Schaffer. Brown belts don’t matter when you weigh 18 pounds! Anyway, I enrolled my son in karate class. So far all he can do is bow, but I think that’s mostly because he can’t sit up yet.
- Strengthen his mind
Put your hand over your baby’s eyes and then remove them and yell “peek-a-boo!” Then change your position and do it again. Repeat it 5000 times a day. Not only will this terrify your baby into being on full-alert at all times and therefore always being ready to defend himself, it will drive him completely insane, adding further obstacles to the child’s life. As the saying goes, “Just because you’re paranoid that your parents are going to materialize from out of nowhere to scream “peek-a-boo” at you doesn’t mean they’re not actually dangerously psychotic people from whom you need to escape.”
- Strengthen his digestion
Sit your baby at the table with you while you eat. Soon, he’ll start becoming curious and may even begin reaching for your plate. When he does, give him a little taste of your food. Since there’s no way it’s not better than the mushy pureed slop he normally gets, and he’ll come back for more. Every once in a while put some Tabasco on your finger and have him taste it. It won’t go well, but eventually he’ll stop crying and by the time he’s five, shutting him up with a plate full of Hooter’s hot wings while you watch the
cleavagegame will be a cinch.
- Strengthen his diaper
Trust me: Tabasco sauce does not make for happy bowels. That shit is nasty. Literally. And explosive. Literally. You think you know from a blow-out? Just wait.
- Strengthen his bones
Feed him milk. Not only will breastfeeding keep your wife’s weight down, it will raise a healthy child. And we all know formula feeding was responsible for Hitler, right? That’s what I read on an anti-formula site, and those ladies are so reasonable it has to be true! If you want to go the extra yard, I suggest adamantium. Find a crazy doctor that loves comic books, have him induce your son into a coma (just for a little while!) and then layer his skeleton with the fictional metal that makes Wolverine so indestructible. In place of the actual metal, ask the doctor to try tinfoil or maybe iron. Whatever; just wing it! Adding retractable claws is totally optional. Unfortunately, insurance doesn’t cover this. Not even the coma part. I’ve asked.
- Strengthen your resolve
A lot of the tips here might seem harsh, but who are you trying to raise? Someone who appears on “The Real World” and is kicked off for violence or someone who appears on “Hoarders” because they hate themselves and have never learned to say no? Obviously you go for the blackout drunk. Violence is a plus these days. And besides, when the Hunger Games hit, we going to need all some youngsters we can count on, and my son will be there with his superior skills to protect Jennifer Lawrence, so help me God, because she’s hot and my son’s an American. He knows what’s important.