Parenting is hard! Let’s get that out of the way right up front. When they are young it is physically exhausting, and when they are older it is a mental quagmire challenging enough to confound even Solomon the Wise. So, you would think that manufacturers of children’s products would try to make a parent’s life easier, rather than more difficult. Wrong!


Children’s clothing and accoutrements are made to aggravate rather than accessorize. They create unnecessary parental challenges. Just try to fold a baby bath towel and get all four corners to match evenly. The achievement of folding a baby towel is even more challenging than completing a Rubik’s Cube.




Or take the baby undershirts, the ones with the snaps. A structural engineer could not figure them out. Many is the time I have wanted to use duct tape just to get the undershirt to stay on properly. And what is so bad about an undershirt that goes over the head anyway?


Lest we forget the baby’s pajamas! There are eighteen snaps on each pair but only seventeen fasteners. 2:00 AM is no time to be snapping and unsnapping a pair of night clothes trying to come up with the optimal sequence.


And what is with the clothes sizes? Toddler sizes, 24 months, 2T, 4T…why isn’t there a 3T? It gets so complicated trying to decipher it all. I think the manufacturers of children’s clothing are sadistic and cruel and should be tried for parental abuse!




Then there’s the hipster/baby carrier/boba wrap/embrace cozy! There’s even an option for a dad that looks like a parachute, The Ergonomic Baby Mission Critical. Who designed these contraptions of parental torture, NASA? They have more straps and clips than Beyoncé’s backup dancers. Attempting to put one of those on, in the parking lot of a mall, while the other kids are waiting to get out of their car seat, is the closest I’ve come to a nervous breakdown as a parent. And that’s saying something!


It is not as if all your faculties are in their optimal working order after a new baby arrives. With all the stress and anxiety that comes with 7 pounds, 14 ounces, being challenged by your child’s gear is the last thing you need.




With all the hype surrounding the release of Disney’s new version of The Lion King, I am reminded of when our second son was little. While he was a sweet kid with an engaging smile, he could get quite persnickety particularly on long drives. And by long drives I am talking about the seven minutes it takes to get from our house to Safeway.


Initially it was quite a concern as we tried to envision our life with this child sans car rides. Without the benefit of a live-in-babysitter we did not see how this was feasible. There were daily errands that could not be curtailed until both of us were home. Besides, this was our house and we were in charge. Just kidding, the kids were in charge. They knew it and we knew it!




There was one remedy, and really only one that we found to alleviate our fussy child and return the car to some semblance of calm. “Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba. Sithi uhm ingonyama.” Sound familiar? Well that, according to theOfficial Lion King Website, is the opening Zulu chant from “Circle of Life.”


From that initial verse he could go from cantankerous to placid and smiling in the blink of a lion cub’s eye. It was quite a remarkable transformation; one we never lost our awe and appreciation for.




This Elton John-Tim Rice composition was not a universal cure by any means. None of our other sons found it the least bit soothing. For one of our other boys, a comforting video served as the proper salve to calm him after he had reached that point of no return. Sesame Street’s 25th Anniversary DVD typically did the trick.


The point is you need to try to find your child’s Lion King. What will calm your fussy child during those times when your words begin to sound like the adults on a Peanuts cartoon, “Wah wah, wah wah wah?” Perhaps a favorite chew toy, the puppy, the puppy’s chew toy! Whatever works because once the tantrum hits, your options become very limited and time is of the essence. And sometimes they can hit without warning. My wife called it “baby mood swings” and they are intense and unpredictable.




I swear to you; from the minute your child is born, all of your senses become more acute. I won’t claim that I can see through walls and hear a cry for help from 100 miles away, but I am definitely more attuned to my surroundings. I now present for your reading pleasure, the 5 senses and parenting.


  • Smell

    I can smell a poopy diaper from fifty yards out in a crowded mall. Which, coincidentally, is primarily where the poopy diaper occurs. They never happen when you are playing at home in the middle of the day. Usually they will rear their ugly smells during a long airline flight, right after you get everyone buckled in the car and start the engine, or, my personal favorite, in the middle of a grocery trip with the cart half full (Is the cart half full or half empty?).

  • Taste

    I challenge you to try that baby food and make a pleasant face, encouraging your young child to eat the gruel you are endeavoring to feed him. They are smarter than you think. They recognize the disgust underneath that phony smile and besides, they can smell the pancakes on the griddle.

  • Hearing

     No sense becomes more acute to your child than your auditory sense. Remember when you could sleep through a thunderstorm? With children, you can hear their sheets rustling in the middle of a stormy night and have an irrepressible urge to go check and make sure they are still covered.

  • Sight

     A friend of yours is showing you some photographs at a party, you are half watching the ball game on television, your wife is trying to signal you something from across the room, and somewhere behind you, your two year old pushes a little girl. And you saw the whole thing: Your child went on a time-out; Jimmy G got the first down on third and seventeen; your friend bought a new boat; and it looks like your wife is acting out a movie title, two words, first word Dark! Don’t ask me how, but your children are never out of your sight (or at least they shouldn’t be! Where are they right now???).

  • Touch

    Forget silk, forget fresh cotton sheets, forget the cool feel of a marble statue, nothing rivals a baby’s skin. Nothing is as soft or as gentle as skin that has never had a mosquito bite, been sunburned, or scratched. And there is no comforter in the world that radiates the warmth of a child’s hug. It is totally without inhibition, a selfless act of love that is not judgmental or contingent upon receiving something in return. They love without expecting any compensation except your love. And isn’t that the purest form?




It was a disposable, wrapped in a cloth, inside a diaper pail…and it still smelled like a dumpster fire! Like the ocean engulfs a submarine, your child’s digestive system submerges your life when you are a parent, and nothing can ever prepare you for it.


Being a parent, you learn more about the digestive process then you ever wanted to know. All the sudden those high school biology classes from old man McDougal become crystal clear. 


“Oh yeah, from the esophagus into the stomach, then into the small intestine, and lastly deposited into the large intestine and then out the rectum.” Some of the time the whole process can be alarmingly quick. And if they eat small things like raisins and grapes, well, you’ll see. Chewing was obviously not a priority!


The frightening reality is that when the children are young, your whole life revolves around the digestive process. Such as, “Did you change the baby?…When should we change the baby?…I don’t want to get on the road and then have to pull over to change the baby…I’ll change the baby then we’ll leave…Here we go…nothing to it…Hon, can you open the window I think the baby…oh my God it’s horrible, call Air Quality Control, get the gas masks from the air raid shelter, alert the neighbors…”




The funny thing is, no matter how prepared you think you are, you’re not. A simple trip to the grocery store becomes a critical test of our organizational skills and packing ability.


“Okay, I’ve got sixteen diapers, three change of clothes, graham crackers, water, juice, toys, sticker books, three videos loaded on the tablet, coloring books, my grocery list, and a miniaturized version of the Star Wars Deathstar that actually explodes into 4,286 pieces. That should about do it.”


Usually you are halfway out of the driveway before you realize your two children are still in the family room. Once you get to the store, the one thing you did not bring, their stuffed horse that sings “Old MacDonald” when you pull on its tail, in forty-seven different languages, including Hindu, given to them by their aunt Gertie in Des Moines whom they have never met, is all they can think about, and cry about, and whine about, and sulk about, and throw things about. “No, not the eggs!”  


As you are checking out the grocery clerk informs you that, while they appreciate your business, they would like to request that you not to return to the store again. Ever! Now, where was I?  Oh yes, the digestive process.