So I have another kid now.

Frida:Fred1

My daughter, Vera Frida M. Pentland, was born on December 27, 2014. She goes by Frida, as far as we can tell. She barely responds when we say her name, preferring instead to either sleep or eat, basically ignoring everything else. If you threw in an Xbox and a bag of chips, she’s pretty much just like her older siblings.

Her mother took her sweet old time having her too, clocking in at 56 hours of labour, including making me drive her all over town at all hours, from home, to birth centre, to a hospital. Needless to say, things didn’t go according to our birth plan, but everything worked out in the end, and one month later baby and mom are doing great.

So now I officially have three kids. It’s been almost 8 years since the last one was born, and while some things are coming back to me (the quick-change diaper maneuver, opening a bottle of wine with one hand while rocking a baby with the other), some things have definitely changed. For instance, it seems that strollers are actually made to be harder to open as time goes on. When I was a baby, they didn’t fold up at all. When my son was born 11 years ago, it was a flip and a slip and a bang and you were on your way. Now I seem to have missed the classes needed to operate the damn thing at all, and practice does not make perfect in this case. The brake seems to always be on, and the beer holder attachment barely fits a take-out coffee cup.

Not only is the stroller a puzzle to fold and unfold, but it comes with a bassinet that somehow attaches to it, and that my daughter hates, if her screeching is anything to go by. In fact, she doesn’t seem to like travelling at all, unless it’s in my arms and my back is about to give out. With my other two kids, the only time they would nap was if I was driving them around, usually on the highway, at great financial cost given the price of gas at those times. Now gas is crazy cheap, and this one hates being in the car.

My older kids have been great with the new addition, and are constantly eager to hold her. Neither of them are eager to change her, however, just as they both physically gag if I ask them to take the dog out in case she poops and they have to pick it up. I’ve even said they could use a plastic bag on their hands, but still it’s a no-go in both cases.

Nevertheless, the three of them are getting along – or at least the two older kids are getting along with the new one. They are definitely not getting along with each other, but that is a given, and something that we have been trying to figure out. With a new addition comes new rules, or new ways of handling things. Trying to get the older sibs to pitch in a little bit more, but not making it seem like their lives have become so much worse with a new sister, is the goal. It could be very easy for them to see the baby getting all the attention, and their stepmother and I have been trying to make sure that they are involved in things, despite the fact that “things” right now involve a lot of poop and spit-up – from the baby, let’s be clear. For the record, I take care of my own poop and spit-up.

We have allotted them some new chores, simple tasks like making their beds in the morning and picking out clothes the night before. This was met with the expected outrage and venom, as if asking an 11-year-old to feed a dog every morning is tantamount to making him rebuild a car engine blindfolded. Hopefully this new world order will stick. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Kids cost money…lots.

Money baby

As I have stated in the past, I am approaching fatherhood for the third time, and I’m 45. My currently-existing, already-born kids are only 7 and 10, but given that another one is on the way, I’m basically treating them like they are already grown and out the door.

It’s not like I’m eager to get rid of them at all (and legally I can’t), it’s just that kids cost money, as unromantic as that sounds, but so do babies. Big time. And this is something that I hadn’t really been thinking about when I “agreed” to have another one. Well, I might have mentioned the astronomical cost of raising a child once or twice or every time the subject came up, but that was always shut down by a random combination of facial expressions, emotional cues, or verbal persuasions, sometimes accompanied by minutely implied physical threats.

I’m not suggesting that my (much younger and stronger) wife blackmailed me into having a baby in my almost-twilight years. It’s just that she let it be known that this could, in fact, be my twilight year if I didn’t get with the program.

So, with the cost of camps, and tutors, and clothes, and various candied confections, I am adding cribs, and strollers, and nursing pillows to the list of expenses that no one celebrates in pre-natal classes when they tell you all about the miracle of child birth.

Of course, you don’t need any of these things. Millions of years have passed without the need for a nursing pillow, although the fact that there is almost no evidence of dinosaurs using them, and there are basically no dinosaurs left, could be used in a pro-pillow argument.

The same goes for strollers. I could argue, for instance, that babies don’t really need to be mobile until you salute them as they march out the door to kindergarten. I mean, isn’t that what we have dogs for? I’m already dropping some $150 a month on organic, grain-fed, non-GMO food for a beast that I then shell out some $1000 a year on medication because it can’t stop eating sticks and rotting carcasses every time I’m not looking. Just strap the baby to that thing and make it work for its penicillin.

Ok, maybe a stroller can come in handy. I suppose we need something filling up the trunk so groceries have to be squeezed in the back seat between the two bigger kids and the car seat ($$) for the new one. Which means a bigger car ($$$). Practicality dictates a minivan. My wife dictates “no way.” Of course.

Am I the only one who thinks that babies should be wrapped in paper for the first year of their lives? What’s the point in buying clothes made of actual cloth? They grow constantly, from what I remember. You burn through onesies almost as fast as diapers…which, I’m being told, will be cloth as well. Which means I’m expected to master the twists and turns of the cloth diaper, and the accompanying diaper cover, or whatever it’s called. I’ve been through this before, and needless to say, when I’m on duty (not going for the pun) I’ll be sneaking disposables (non-chlorinated) under the diaper cover. “I seriously have no idea how that got on there…I’m pretty sure the dog might have done it.”

I may be exaggerating a tad with all of this. It’s natural, at least for me, to expect the worst, or bemoan the inevitable. The world is against me, and only I can carry its burden. The truth, of course, is that none of this really matters next to a healthy, happy wife. And baby.

Of course, you can substitute the word “wife” with any number of terms, depending on your situation. No matter what type of partnership, sexual background, race, creed, or age you are, we all want the same thing: a happy, quiet baby that won’t bug us. If that means doling out thousands of dollars, and going without yet another new Xbox, or making do with the last, stupid version of the iPhone, so be it.