Why is my baby crying?

    It can be difficult dealing with an infant who cries all the time. But there are lots of reasons why your little one might be fussy. Here’s a checklist of the most common causes of hysterical screaming.

    It’s probably gas. That’s the most common problem. Maybe you just need to burp him or “bicycle” his legs to help him pass gas. Poor little guy. No wonder he’s upset.

    It’s probably not gas. It’s almost never gas. Why does everyone assume that? Just because you can’t see what’s happening doesn’t mean it’s gas. What are you doing slapping him on the back and manhandling his legs over and over? Poor little guy. No wonder he’s upset.

    Existential crisis. Your little dude just found out he exists. He has no frame of reference for the meaninglessness of his existence. He was tossed into the worldly plane like a bag of semi-sentient meat. Try reading him Camus’s The Stranger. It will help him realize he must give birth to his own meaning of life.

    Firefly was cancelled. Look, we’re all upset there won’t be anymore episodes of this groundbreaking space western. Make sure he’s seen Serenity. It’s on Netflix. Also, teach him about “jumping the shark” and how it’s better this way than to become another zombie series like the X-Files or the Simpsons.

    baby cryingSad designed by Tyler Glaude from the Noun Project

    The vacant stares of his “toys”. Stuffed animals are basically a cheap imitation of taxidermy. Your child is looking for warmth and connection with others. Instead, you’ve surrounded him with these lifeless husks, deranged interpretations from someone who’s probably never even seen a rabbit or tiger. They’re not supposed to look like that. He stares into their eyes looking for a soul, and all he sees is the abyss.

    Racist? The way your little one’s been giving the side eye to Obama on TV. Sure, maybe he disagrees with Obama’s foreign policy, but he’s just a little baby. How could even know about that stuff? More likely, he’s just a tiny racist. I guess we’re not born colorblind after all.

    The way mommy takes the last towel out of the bathroom. I mean, I’m just assuming it bothers him as much as it bothers daddy when daddy finishes taking a shower and there’s no towels left because mommy took the last one out and didn’t put another clean one in there.

    He’s over-tired. Paradoxically, babies can get so exhausted from lack of sleep that they have trouble going to sleep. If your baby was up all night crushing code for his tech startup, remind him that he still has a good 14 or 15 years to get a top app in the App Store before he’s too old and decrepit to get a job at Facebook or Google.

    You’re a terrible parent. Have you considered that maybe your little one is just upset because his parents are so terrible? Try being less shitty, as a parent and also as a human being.

    Quiz: What Kind of Baby Are You?

    Would you rather wear...
    A pink butterfly
    A green turtle
    A blue bird
    A white sheep
    Would you rather drink...
    A mix of milk and formula
    Can you balance a checkbook?
    What's a checkbook?
    On my head
    I see you.
    Where'd daddy go?
    Does daddy still exist?
    Do I still exist?
    1 + 1 =
    When my diaper is wet, I...
    Never wear a diaper. Always nude.
    Meh. Whatever.
    Bathtime is...
    A horrible war crime
    A great time to potty
    When I turn 2, I'm going to...

    8 Easy Party Games for Your Child's Next Birthday

    Planning a birthday party for your child can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. Sure, there’s always a bevy of pizza-shilling animatronic nightmares ready to take your hard-earned cash. But with these do-it-yourself party games, your child’s next birthday can be cheap and easy.

    1. Judge the Clown

    Does anyone actually like clowns? What kind of person would become a clown? It’s time to find out. Even the most acrimonious mothers can come together to try to figure out what’s up with this person. Will you get a young girl who likes children but is just a little too eager? Or will you get an overweight 50-year-old man who keeps paintings of John Wayne Gacy in his parents’ basement? I mean, I’m guessing the latter, but I’ve never seen a clown in real life, so who knows?

    2. Half-assed Balloon Animals

    Balloon animals are pretty awesome, but doing them well requires a lot of practice. Sure, you could hire a professional to do it, but you don’t have to. Here’s a list of balloon animals even the least artistic parent could pull off themselves with minimal effort:

    • Snake
    • Legless Lizard
    • Worm
    • Sandworm
    • Maggot
    • Leech
    • Loach
    • Eel
    • Moray Eel
    • Electric Eel
    • Ebola

    Is Ebola shaped like that? I don’t know. AND NEITHER DOES YOUR FOUR-YEAR-OLD.

    3. Solid “Piñata”

    Piñatas are a great outlet for your child’s boundless energy and insatiable thirst for violence. Plus, torturing animals is great training for a future job at Sea World. But piñatas aren’t without their downsides. Often, the piñata breaks before your child’s energy runs out. And then the giant piles of candy just make them even more rambunctious. So next time, don’t use a hollow piñata. Use one that’s completely solid. Just let the kids wail on it until they fall asleep. Mischief managed.

    4. Pin the Tail on the Dumb Kid

    Why bother drawing a donkey when there’s surely already a kid at the party who’s a total ass. He deserves a pin in his rump if you ask me. If you don’t know which kid is the dumb kid, well, then it’s probably your own. :-(

    birthday cakeCake designed by Marco Galtarossa from the Noun Project

    5. Slip'N Slide™

    Do they still make these? I remember they were a lot of fun when I was a kid. But looking at it now, if I jumped onto the ground like that, I’d surely break a few ribs. Is the fact that the ground is wet really supposed to change anything? What, are kids just indestructible or what? Or is it just because they don’t weigh very much.

    It seems like a summer-only activity, but if your child’s birthday is in the winter and you live in a cold climate, you can still play this game. Just replace the Slip’N Slide with an icy sidewalk. Wheeeeee!

    If you do choose to get a Slip’N Slide, be sure to hire a lifeguard to keep an eye out for Ghost Sharks.

    6. Kitty's “Sandbox”

    I know what you’re thinking. The child will end up playing in cat poop. Really? You’re concerned about that, Mr. Takes-His-Diaper-Baby-Swimming? A public pool is a giant collection of other people’s kids peeing and pooping in a tub of water which you then spray up your nose. And you’re worried about a litter box? Get some perspective. At least the cat litter will clump around your child and lock them in place once they start peeing in it themselves.

    7. Seven Minutes in Heaven

    A staple of middle school make-out parties, this game can be adapted for children’s parties. No, I’m not suggesting having toddlers making out. Instead, put your screaming child in the closet by themselves. Then, just relax and enjoy the nicest seven minutes of your day. The more soundproof the closet is, the better. Just make sure there’s no drain cleaner or anything in there.

    8. Laundromat

    Hmm, I count seven loads of laundry that need doing and seven children with nothing to do. Seems like a perfect match. They can all do their loads at the same time at the local laundromat. It’s the perfect environment for a bunch of children running around. You won’t even be able to hear their screaming over the din of all the washers and dryers churning. The Laundromat People seem like the kind of folks who would be unfazed by children flailing about all around them. Sure, the 50-year-old Vietnamese woman will yell at you. But let’s be honest, she was gonna yell at you anyway. She always yells at you. Who knows why? You probably set down your basket on “her” table or something. Don’t worry about it.

    The Differences Between Boys and Girls

    Every parent knows raising a boy is a completely different experience from raising a girl. They have different interests, different fashions, and they just plain behave differently.

    To give you an example, girls prefer the thermostat to be 76 degrees, while boys prefer a more comfortable 74. A boy would rather be watching the Daily Show right now, while a girl would be 20 minutes into this documentary about ramen noodles narrated by Anthony Bourdain. And while a boy would like to have tacos for dinner, a girl already bought the stuff to make meatloaf tonight, and it’s going to go bad if we don’t use it.

    Arya Stark and Jaqen H'gharA girl gives a man his own name.

    You shouldn’t expect your sons and daughters to have the same careers when they grow up, either. The two genders have different aptitudes for science. For example, boys like developing the Theory of Relativity. Girls, on the other hand, would rather spend their time developing the Theory of Radioactivity. A boy would love to be the first person on the moon. A girl would rather lead the French to victory in the battle of Orleans in 1429. Even politically, boys and girls couldn’t be more different. Girls like to be Speaker of the House in the 110th Congress, while boys prefer to be Speaker of the House in the 112th Congress.

    And then finally, as the one changing the diaper, you’re going to have to deal with boys and girls having different anatomy. If you are the mother of a boy, it’s important to never, ever ask a man for advice about male anatomy, since there’s no way they could ever provide useful advice, such as which way to point the thing so it’s not horribly uncomfortable. If you have a girl, on the other hand, make sure that her privates remain a mystery — even to herself. It’s important that women don’t understand or feel comfortable with their own anatomy. Otherwise, it will be more difficult for male doctors to tell them everything is wrong with it when they get older.

    Once you accept these basic differences between boys and girls, you can realize that raising either one can be a fun and rewarding experience.

    Tarantino Films: Not as Good for Children as You'd Think?

    Movies can be great for stimulating a child’s imagination. They let children experience worlds and events that they wouldn’t be able to visit on their own. The films of Quentin Tarantino, with their vivid imagery and captivating dialogue may seem like the perfect way to expand your tot’s mind. But some of the subject matter in Tarantino’s films may be confusing to small children. Here’s a few things to watch out for.

    Reservoir Dogs

    The story of a gang of strangers and a diamond heist gone wrong, Reservior Dogs will open your child to all sorts of new ideas the next time they play cops and robbers. As a bonus, they’ll get exposure to all sorts of classic music through Steven Wright’s “Sounds of the Seventies”.

    However, if you were hoping to use this film to teach your child the names of the colors, this film may prove too confusing for your toddler. Simply put, the character’s names are misleading. Mr. Blonde isn’t blonde. Mr. Brown is causasian. Mr. Blue is maybe blue in the metaphorical sense, but even then, he’s only a little bit sad. Mr. White is white in the racial sense, but he does have a good skin tone. The only characters whose names are really accurate are Mr. Pink and Mr. Orange. Now that I think about it, maybe I need to adjust the color on my television.

    the ear scene“Boop! I've got your nose ear!”

    Kill Bill

    The story of a pretty mommy out to hurt some very bad people, Kill Bill is full of beautiful choreography, diverse world culture, and a nice overview of some types of poisonous snakes. It’s a perfect film for the little Kiddo who loves to play with swords. For a special treat, make sure your child doesn’t miss the cameo by Charlie Brown in O-Ren Ishii’s club.

    But, if your child is still learning to count, it might be best to skip the scene where The Bride slaughters the members of the Crazy 88 gang. The problem is that there aren’t actually 88 of them. If your child tries to count them, they’ll get pretty confused. The confusion is compounded when trying to account for all of the severed limbs. This scene is definitely only for kids old enough to know how to deal with fractions.

    the pussy wagon“Well, son, that van is for taking kitty cats to the pound.”

    Inglourious Basterds

    You can beef up your child’s knowledge of world history with Inglourious Basterds, the tale of a gang of American soldiers who bravely went behind enemy lines to kill Nazis during World War II. This film is especially great for exposing your children to multiple languages while they still have the brain plasticity to learn them. Christoph Waltz gives a remarkable performance with fluent English, German, French, and Italian. With this exposure, your children will be well prepared if they ever find themselves in a fascist dictatorship that has taken over Central Europe.

    However, beware that this film is not completely historically accurate, especially the ending. At the risk of minor spoilers, you might be surprised to learn that Brad Pitt was actually born in 1963, nearly twenty years after the war he supposedly fought in. Not only that, but Brad Pitt isn’t even a soldier. He’s an actor from Hollywood. If your child watches this film and takes it literally, they might be pretty confused about historical events when they study them later in school!

    That's a bingo!“That's a B-I-N-G-O and Aldo was his name-o!”

    Pulp Fiction

    Of all the films on this list, Pulp Fiction is probably the most child friendly. There are so many great lessons to be learned from it, such as:

    • How to order a Quarter a Pounder with Cheese in the Netherlands.
    • What a “gimp” is.
    • The typical cost of a good milkshake.
    • How to treat an overdose when someone snorts heroin.

    In fact, the only scene to watch out for in Pulp Fiction is the infamous scene with Christopher Walken. He tells the story of how Butch’s dad kept an heirloom watch in his rectum for years for his son. The problem is this sets up an unrealistic standard that you’ll then have to live up to as a father. You don’t want your son growing up thinking “I wonder if my father would keep a watch up his butt for me.” And that’s not something you want to do. I’ve been walking around with a “Pebble in my boot” so to speak for a week, and let me tell you, that ain’t easy.

    Raising Free-Range, Organic, Cage-Free Children

    I believe in raising “free-range” kids. It takes a little extra effort, but it’s totally worth it. My kids are free to roam the neighborhood. I even got them passports in case they want to visit other countries. It took some effort to get their visas cleared for entry into disputed parts of Iraq, but now I can rest assured that my children will grow up to be independent, self-confident adults.

    My kids are also cage-free. What exactly constitutes a “cage”? I err on the side of being truly “free range”. I never let the kids in the house, or anything with walls really. They love the yard. Cleanup is a breeze. I just hose them down. And their poop makes great fertilizer. My yard is the envy of all my neighbors.

    I know it’s trendy, but I refuse to use pesticides on my children. Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t use Roundup on my kids, because I refused to splice the Roundup Ready genes into their DNA. I’ll be damned if I’m going to assign IP rights to my tots to Monsanto.

    no nothingNot even if the spray bottle is BPA free.

    I never inject my children with bovine growth hormone, or any kind of chemical to increase their milk production. Sure, my kids are mammals, but they’ll make milk when they’re ready. And if my son never decides to produce milk, I for one am okay with that. I’m a progressive parent.

    I don’t add artificial flavors to my babies. I don’t need to. Since they are free-range, organic children, they naturally taste better. You’ve never really tasted a baby until you kiss a baby at a farmer’s market, straight from the farm. There’s a certain level of freshness that just can’t be replaced with chemical preservatives.

    So yeah, my kids are free-range, cage-free, pesticide-free, and all around organic. I’m not saying that makes me a better parent. But not doing what’s obviously best for them would make me a worse parent, wouldn’t it?

    American Babies Falling Behind in Language Development

    Traditionally, babies in the U.S. are expected to start saying their first words within the first year of life. Most American one-year-olds are capable of saying basic words like “mama”, “dada”, and “uh-oh”, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, language development experts are raising alarms that we must do more to teach our children to speak, as we are already falling behind the rest of the world.

    In China, most infants are able to say their first word within a few hours of being born. Typically, a Chinese baby’s first word is “饿”. Pronounced “uhh” in Mandarin, 饿 means “hungry”. Since newborns need to eat every two hours, it makes sense that they would have evolved the ability to express such an important need at an early age. Shockingly, this word is spoken in Mandarin even in parts of China where that’s not the dominant dialect. This is truly a testament to the Chinese government’s approach to standardized language education.

    Chinese linguists aren’t surprised about by their children’s precociousness. Dr. Mingxin Wang of Beijing University’s Linguistics Department credits his society’s high standards. “Chinese children must learn quickly how to express their needs for them to be successful in their lives. American children, spoiled by Western decadence, can simply cry. Even when they do start to speak, all they can do is ask their parents for help.”

    China isn’t the only country where children are outpacing Americans in language development. In Italy, children are able to say “e” — which means “and” — within the first few days of life. This is the equivalent of saying “more”, helping them get more food when they want it.

    Perhaps most surprisingly, even our neighbors to the north in Canada are leaving us behind. As everyone knows, newborns are confused by all of the new experiences they are encountering. They don’t understand what is happening or why they are feeling the way they do. Canadian babies express this existential crisis within hours of being born, simply by saying “eh?”.