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09:31:51 - 2000-12-19


There's a secret to successfully taking a six-week-old baby out Christmas shopping.

... But I'll be damned if I have figured it out yet.

Yesterday afternoon, the Mrs. and I were watching television when the wife came up with a thrilling deduction.

"We're a week away from Christmas," she said to nobody in particular, but I have a feeling it was me because I'm the only other one in the house right now who fully comprehends the English language.

"Yes we are," I agreed, which was code for "Please be quiet ... Judge Judy is on."

"Are we going to be buying any presents this year," she asked again.

"I'm not sure," I answered, which was code for "Seriously. Be quiet."

"I think we need to go shopping," she finally clarified.

"That's fine," I said, which was code for "Dammit all to hell."

You know how they say that having a baby changes your life completely??

Two months ago if we had that same conversation, we would have jumped up, ran out the door, hit the mall, bought as much Pokemon merchandise as we could find, run back home and caught the end of Judge Judy.

But now...the baby.

Because the baby eats every two hours (which is the same feeding schedule for a baby elephant...yes...I'm beginning to worry), the baby must ALWAYS be fed before we leave the house for ANYTHING.

Going to the store? Feed the baby.

Going to the post office? That baby needs fed.

Taking the trash out?? Did you feed the baby???

So she feeds the baby. The baby drinks his milk and then passes out cold like we laced it with Peppermint Schnapps.

We put him in his car seat and attatch several hundred toys to the car seat's handle so that if he does wake up, he has a hanging toy store in his face to keep him busy.

We pack enough diapers to cover Uruguay.

We bundle up the baby like we were smuggling stolen jewels in his butt.

And we take him to the store.

There's a few rules you have to remember when taking a newborn baby to the toy store.

First, everyone will want to touch your baby.


Other mothers will abandon their children in a heartbeat to pinch your baby's cheeks.

Store employees will be using pricing guns to put cute little sticker prices all over his clothes.

Serial killers will be jumping over Barbie displays to come shake your child's foot gently while he sleeps.

That's a given.

What bothers me during this cold and flu season, are the people who are hacking up chunky wads of phlegm into their hands and then touching my baby's nose and lips.

"Isn't he so cute?" they'll say as they caress his face with their germ-infested hands.

"Yes, he's a leper baby," I beam. "Highly contagious to the touch, he is. But we love him just the same as a normal baby who doesn't have a skin-rotting condition."

Now then.

These same people who are cooing like pigeons over your baby will panic and run for cover when your baby starts to ... ummmm ... do the gas thing.

Perhaps it's just the overall social unacceptance of the act.

Maybe they're worried the baby is about to blow like a volcano.

But if this kid plays even one note on his butt trumpet, you'll see grown men acting like an air raid siren just went off.

I would try to prevent the boy from expressing himself freely, but I have no idea how to do so outside the obvious "cork" theory.

And screaming.

Oh boy ... do babies love to scream when they get out in public. I've done a little research in the matter and I've come to the conclusion that when a baby cries in public, it's their way of saying "Waaaaaah!!!Waaaaaah!!!"

... At an incredibly high volume.

We were in the video game section of our local toy emporium searching for a Pokemon game when Andy decided he wanted to let everyone in the store know that the Andy-Man was definitly in the house.

At first, the boy let out a screech like his leg was caught in a blender.

My eyes met his squinted eyes and I could tell what was going on.

We were about to enjoy a little gassy symphony from the Maestro.

Andy's face was red and scrunched up, making him a dead ringer for J. Edgar Hoover in a Winnie The Pooh outfit.

He was shifting and squirming in his car seat like he was sitting on a rat.

As he screamed, parents covered their children's ears in anticipation of what was about to come.

Then it happened.

Everyone in the store was treated to a free performance of Beethoven's 5th in B minor, courtesy of my boy's obnoxiously loud digestive tract.

Every child in the vicinity pinched their noses, yelled "Ewwwww" and went stampeding from the video game aisle like a herd of stubby-legged gazelle.

Andy's face went from magenta back to pink

within seconds of completing his concerto.

...And we were able to find the Pokemon games without fighting any crowds.

All thanks to our gassy little drummer boy.

Pa rum pum pum pum indeed, Jr.

So if you're having to do some last minute shopping before Christmas but don't want to fight the crowds, give me a call. I'm now renting the baby out for $50/hour.

... And of course, I'll make sure he's been fed a nice big bowl of chili first.



What gift would you most like to see under the tree at Christmas?

And to my non-Christian readers ... What up with that dreidel thing??

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