Much like a Camaro or a bonsai tree or even a salt-water aquarium, babies need routine maintenance to promote optimum performance levels.
At about four months B.C. (Before Child), I did my share of baby homework on what to expect in the first six months. And while I did find some practical tips, not everything was covered. I’ve also found that like most things, the best teacher is experience. So here are a few battle-tested tips in lesser-mentioned areas to keep your little nugget shiny and that new-baby scent intact:
I had no idea my wife had birthed a baby wolverine. I mean, this kid grew some talons that would make a red-tailed hawk blush. How could something so small possess a weapon so great? We quickly discovered the self-inflicted harm he could cause himself; he’d wake up looking like the tiniest little Freddy Krueger had gotten to him in the crib. Now cutting them can be tricky, but these steps should help with your baby mani:
1. Catch Baby at an inactive time. This could be right after a nap or more likely, right after a feeding. Put him on the couch or floor, and position yourself directly behind baby and come over his head.
2. Just like real-people nails, start with the thumb (the maximum offender) and work your way down.
3. Babies do have some skin that can easily get caught in the clippers, so take your time!
4. Cut them short! More importantly, though, be sure to sculpt a bit. You don’t want sharp edges or points.
Clean ears reassure me that at least Baby is in fact hearing me, even if he rarely listens. Use a regular old cotton swab and remove wax the way you might from your own hearing units. The only twist is that babies tend to accumulate what I can only accurately describe as crud in the curvy parts above the ear canal. It’s somewhat crusty and semi-resilient, so lightly wet a cotton swab and get it in all the cracks and crevices. Though this sounds like a lesser form of torture, my son actually doesn’t seem to mind it at all.
The Droolmonster. Drooly McDroolerson. Sir Drool-a-lot. Droolio. The nicknames, much like the clear goo itself, just keep on coming. My wife has a fairly strong aversion to drool that my son is helping her work through one stain at a time. Actually, unlike spit-up, drool is pretty harmless, non-toxic, and won’t stain clothing. I don’t actually mind it on my clothing; in fact, I think it adds a little panache, a little flair—an unofficial medal of honor. However, on your tot’s clothing, it can be a breeding ground for rashes and dry skin. Here are a few ways to keep that drool in check:
1. ABC: Always Be Carrying (a burp rag). Much like a fikey, you never know when you’re going to need one, and you never want to be caught without one.
2. As soon as he’s big enough, get a bib on him! Until then, keep his neck and chest covered with a burp rag.
3. Don’t be hasty! Each baby is different, but generally ours will eat, spit up some, and then let loose again anywhere from an hour to two hours later, never with the courtesy of a friendly heads-up. As the drool is unending anyway, leaving the rag or bib on when he’s awake and active can really help keep him dry and rash-free.