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Bringing Up Baby

My friends Tim and Lisa are going through the process of adopting a baby. Tim recently sent me an email outlining some of his plans for baby. I thought it was fairly humorous and asked him if I could post it on my weblog. The following is excerpted from said email:

I am doing a bunch of house projects right now, centering mostly around "the baby room". Having a little time before a baby arrives, I feel I have the opportunity to thoroughly prepare. To that end, I have devised the following engineered solutions, which so far have not won the general support of, well, anyone. Perhaps you will join me in their appreciation:

1. The number one problem that must be dealt with concerning babies is lack of control of body functions, leading to diapering. The amount of work and materials involved is staggering - by some estimates a baby reqiures 2,000 diaper changes in a year. Of course, the ultimate solution is for the child to be potty trained as soon as possible. I will be looking into the latest Swedish methods to achieve this, but it looks unlikely before the age of six months.

The most distasteful part of a diaper change seems to me to be the smell. Previously, I thought that this would be performed in the bathroom, where a sink resides and where there is adequate ventilation to exchange the entire volume of air in the room in a matter of minutes. Well, now I am informed it will most likely occur in the babies bedroom, which has no ventilation in the winter, when it is too cold to open a window.

Ideal solution: change the baby under a laminar flow hood vented to the outside.

My solution: I have mounted a six inch square fan, the kind used for cooling racks of electronics, on a board which can be wedged into a partially open window so that only the hole of the fan is open to the outside, and it blows air out of the room. The baby changing table is positioned a couple of feet away, and all the smell is carried away.

2. Holding the baby properly is a challenge, especially if it gets all squirmy. This often requires both hands, reducing the capacity to multitask. Ideal solution: baby stays in a sling around the parent. My solution: A large, elbow length glove is sewed onto the back of a baby jumper which the baby wears, so that I can then put on the baby like a glove, preventing spilling the baby, and making it easy to present the baby to visitors for close inspections.

3. Basinets are a large encumbrence and take up a lot of space. My solution: the baby can sleep in a drawer, in the same chest of drawers it will later use for its clothes.

4. As the baby gets older and can move around, it should be allowed to explore the world, but in a safe way. My solution: a movable pen, with no bottom, which can be moved around the yard as one location becomes "soiled" i.e no diapers required. I can do yardwork with the baby without having to worry.



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