Batten Down the Hatches

September 17, 2004

Freethinkers Anonymous is taking a short vacation but will return in October. Why is this necessary? Because a harsh winter is coming, and I want to be prepared. My grandmother taught me to look for all sorts of signs that a bad winter was coming. These include tree bark growing thicker on the North side, pine cones opening early, and hickory nuts having extra thick skin. Also there are approximately seventeen spiders on the uphill side of my house, and in just the right light their webs seem to spell out, "So long, suckers!" The geese are no longer flying in a "V" pattern, but have instead moved into "G" formation, which stands for, "Gettin’ outta here!"

Most ominously there are lots of "woolly worms" – those extra-fuzzy caterpillars that are grown in special farms and made into really, really, really cheap fur coats. If woolly worms are orange at both ends and black in the middle it will be a mild winter. If they’re black at both ends and orange in the middle it will be a bad winter. If they’re aqua-colored and glow in the dark you live too near a nuclear power plant. And then there was the dark and windy night when my grandmother lowered her voice, looked around carefully, and said, "A series of strong tropical depressions, particularly in the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in low pressure fronts, is a strong indicator of a bad winter to come. Also the bluejays eatin’ all the holly berries as soon as they turn red."

Stay warm, stay dry, and enjoy this week’s offerings.


YOUR CLOTHES

1st baby: You begin wearing maternity clothes as soon as your OB/GYN confirms your pregnancy.
2nd baby: You wear your regular clothes for as long as possible.
3rd baby: Your maternity clothes ARE your regular clothes.

PREPARING FOR THE BIRTH

1st baby: You practice your breathing religiously.
2nd baby: You don’t bother practicing because you remember that last time, breathing didn’t do a thing.
3rd baby: You ask for an epidural in your 8th month.

THE LAYETTE

1st baby: You pre-wash newborn’s clothes, color-coordinate them, & fold them neatly in the baby’s little bureau.
2nd baby: You check to make sure that the clothes are clean & discard only the ones with the darkest stains.
3rd baby: Boys can wear pink, can’t they?

WORRIES

1st baby: At the first sign of distress-a whimper, a frown-you pickup the baby.
2nd baby: You pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake your firstborn.
3rd baby: You teach your 3-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.

PACIFIER

1st baby: If the pacifier falls on the floor, you put it away until you can go home and wash and boil it.
2nd baby: When the pacifier falls on the floor, you squirt it off with some juice from the baby’s bottle.
3rd baby: You wipe it off on your shirt and pop it back in.

DIAPERING

1st baby: You change your baby’s diapers every hour, whether they need it or not.
2nd baby: You change their diaper every 2 to 3 hours, if needed.
3rd baby: You try to change their diaper before others start to complain about the smell or you see it sagging to their knees.

ACTIVITIES

1st baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics, BabySwing, and Baby Story Hour.
2nd baby: You take your infant to Baby Gymnastics.
3rd baby: You take your infant to the supermarket and the dry cleaner.

GOING OUT

1st baby: The first time you leave your baby with a sitter, you call home 5 times.
2nd baby: Just before you walk out the door, you remember to leave a number where you can be reached.
3rd baby: You leave instructions for the sitter to call only if she sees blood.

AT HOME

1st baby: You spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby. 
2nd baby: You spend a bit of everyday watching to be sure your older child isn’t squeezing, poking, or hitting the baby.
3rd baby: You spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.

SWALLOWING COINS:

1st child: when first child swallows a coin, you rush the child to the hospital and demand x-rays.
2nd child: when 2nd child swallows a coin, you carefully watch for coin to pass.
3rd child: when 3rd child swallows a coin you deduct it from his allowance!!

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