Winds of change

Written by: Josh

Everybody knows babies have no control over their bodily functions. It’s science. There’s no sugar-coating it—babies fart, burp, poop, pee and puke at will.

Having toiled in the diaper mines now for nearly five months, I’d like to introduce a new lexical use of the word ‘fart.’

Fart can clearly be a noun, e.g. ‘My dog can clear a room with his farts.’ We can all recognize this usage. It can also be used for name-calling purposes: ‘Oh, you little fart!’ The most common use, though, would definitely be as a verb, as demonstrated best by Tom Cruise in Rain Man: ‘Raymond, did you fart? Did you (bleeping) fart?’ In a lesser used mode, it can also serve as an PG-rated interjection, as in the following scenario: (Baby’s foot is inserted directly into dirty diaper.) Dad exclaims, ‘Oh, fart!’

These are old hat, tired, cliched. What I’m introducing is the new verbiage, fresh from the streets. It is farting, in the very transitive sense. Quick grammar refresher: Intransitive verbs take no objects, e.g. ‘I just farted.’ But transitive verbs take objects, as in my new usage: ‘No, he’s good. I just farted him.’ I’ll give you another example: ‘He was really crying there, but then I farted him and he calmed right down!’

So what is this, to fart someone, then? Well, let’s consider the word ‘burp.’ Nearly identical usage rules. You can let out a burp, you can burp, or you can be burped. To fart someone is just what you now might imagine. To expel gas from the body via the southernmost exit point as opposed to the northernmost. It is possible to fart oneself (just take a yoga class), but most commonly, you would be farting a third party, generally of the infant variety.

Now, much like bowling or shot-gunning a beer, it is 90% form. I suggest here three basic farting techniques, each with slightly varying degrees of difficulty, but all equally effective.

1. The Gumby. Place baby flat on back. Grasping the feet, push legs toward the head. Don’t be afraid to send the feet right over the head. Push down on the backs of babies thighs to apply pressure directly to the stomach. Repeat as necessary.

2. The Vortex. Place baby flat on back. Grasp baby with two hands, one around each calf. Push legs straight up toward ceiling, feet parallel to ground. Now imagine you are an electric mixer, and baby is a lumpy cake batter. Push legs around in clockwise circles, applying gentle pressure downward into the stomach as well. This one takes practice, but just focus on mixing that cake batter. Mmm, cake.

3. The Bicycle. Place baby flat on back again. Extend legs straight out, as though you were measuring his length. Grasp baby by calves, bend legs to 90 degrees. Now in alternate strokes, push one leg in to stomach while extending other. Go back and forth until desired result is achieved. Smiling widely while singing Queen’s “The Bicycle Song” tends to help.

To wrap up, I know you must be asking yourself a couple of important questions, so I’ll answer them preemptively.

1. When is the ideal time to fart?
Before feeding, baby generally gets changed. He is also usually gassy. He also loves his changing table. All of these factors make this the clear front-runner for farting time. But anytime he fusses it may be worth a shot.

2. Is it possible to over-fart?
No. Baby may not take kindly to it (like burping), but it is good for him. Remember that farting is very results-oriented. There is a clear, natural and mutually satisfying end to it.

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