I was watching re-runs of 30 Rock the other day (because that's what I do with my free time because I'm just that cool) and this moment resonated with me:
This is exactly what my knowledge base consists of when it comes to kids.
Anyone who has ever been in a Barnes and Noble (and made it past the Starbucks counter ie: me one time.) knows that there is no shortage of information on babies and childcare out there. However, most of these guides are targeted towards people who already have a child, and really care about it. This seems unnecessary as it would be much cheaper just to take the "learn through experience" route- you already have the baby to experiment with.
( My parents both act like they always knew what they were doing but I'm beginning to suspect they actually took the same "trial and error" strategy that I use with fish: If you keep Tropical fish around long enough, eventually you will learn important things like how often they need fed. There are going to be casualties, but if the majority of them turn out normal you are a successful fish owner.)
At any rate, I thought it would be nice to have an upfront guide to babies for people who have little to no experience with them. I will also try to point out some key differences between real babies and virtual babies.
-Babies are gross.
- No one in the entire world can argue with this. Babies ooze foul smelling liquids of varying consistency from every part of their body. The important thing to remember is they can't help it.
- You know how in Sims when nobody changes the baby for awhile and then every time somebody walks by it they start dry-heaving and their mood level drops? That's pretty accurate
- Babies poop a lot.
- Never volunteer to watch someone's child without first making sure you understand exactly what the potty training status is. -Also note that any claims of "totally potty trained" do not guarantee you a poop-free experience.
- I babysat everyday for an entire summer once and soon figured out exactly when to feed the kid so she pooped at exactly the moment her Mom got home and I could just hand her over on my way out the door. I would be willing to share my secrets for a small fee.
- Virtual poop does not smell. Real poop smells. A lot.
- Babies vomit more in a day than a hungover college frat boy.
- Not entirely clear on why this is considering all they eat is blended carrots and peas. If I ate like that diet my digestive tract would be pristine.
- Virtual puke eventually disappears. Real puke must be cleaned.
-Babies cry for no reason.
-It could be holding a puppy, sitting on a rainbow eating chocolate cupcakes frosted with Joy and listening to The Lovin' Spoonful's Do You Believe in Magic? and it will still burst into tears completely unprovoked.
- Once it happens your only option is a quick hand-off. Things may have been going fine for several minutes and then it will throw a surprise attack breakdown and nothing you do will stop it, so you will give it to someone else who will immediately sooth it. This will cause you to take the breakdown personally, which I believe is the baby's goal. - Virtual babies can be calmed by making silly faces. Real babies are scared of this.
-Moms always act like they know what the crying means but I think it's a bluff. I have spent extended amounts of time with several babies and I don't care what anyone says the "There's a zombie in my room" cry and the "I have to poop" cry are exactly the same. - Virtual babies have a little notification that tells you what's wrong. Real babies don't.
-Babies are judgmental.
- Some babies will like you, and some won't. It's not you it's them. They are superficial and will judge you for arbitrary things like whether or not you smiled too big the first time you met, or which side of your head you part your hair on.
-Babies are not good conversationalists.
-Not only do they not talk, they aren't great at making eye contact and do rude things like chew on their own feet while you talk to them, which makes you feel unappreciated.- Virtual babies have little thought bubbles that let you know they are paying attention.
- Even though babies don't care what you have to say, people will get very upset if you don't talk to them. Apparently it's rude not to engage a baby even though the baby never engages you.
- Talking in a normal voice to a baby is socially unacceptable even though using a high-pitched "baby voice" is probably just insulting to the baby.
-You should never be rude to a baby, even when the baby is rude to you.
-A baby could come up, kick you in the shins, call you fat and throw food in your face, but if you retaliate by stealing his sucker people will always take the baby's side.
- If a baby ignores you people make excuses for it and expect you to keep trying to be it's friend, but if you ignore a baby people get all offended and say things like "What, you don't think Integrity* is the cutest baby in the world?" - this is a trick question. Either lie your ass off or run away.
*What is it with these names? I'm just gonna name my kids Genius and Lucky and hope for the best.
- Never say you "hate" babies.
- People get all uptight when you use that particular phrase. Using that phrase in front of regular people or - God forbid- a Mom is like walking into a Contemporary Worship Service and saying you hate Michael W. Smith or a Tea Shop in Boulder, Co and saying feminists annoy you.* No one there will ever like you again.
*I have done both of these things. Neither ended well.
- Try replacing the word "hate" for less severe words. For instance: You "hate" Hitler, and you "disapprove" of babies. You "hate" seal clubbing and you "don't care for" children. People will still look at you like you're the spawn of Satan, but at least they won't think you are Satan himself (partly because Satan loves Hitler. If you're ever in a situation where people might think you are the Devil just start shouting "I hate Hitler!").
- Generalizing like this makes you racist. Not all babies are the same. Some of them have great personalities and I'm sure someday we will find a white baby that can dance.
- If you have ever accidentally told people you hate babies, here are some things you can do to redeem yourself.
- Start smiling at a baby every once in awhile.
- Get yourself a "token baby": these are much like a "token black guy" in a movie, but this one will let people know you aren't racist against babies. There are a few ways to do this:
- Tell people about a baby you used to take care of or are related to that you like - if you don't know of a real one just make one up, there are so many babies hanging around no one is going to fact check you.
- Find a cute baby that isn't crying and snap a picture with it. Post said picture on any social networking sight of which you are a member, like so:
Ta-daaaah.... no longer a baby hater.
Please note that little Maggie dissolved into tears not long after this picture was taken.... For No Reason.
-Some babies are ugly.
- Some people will try to tell you that all babies are cute, but you and I both know this is not the case. There are some messed up looking babies out there. The key is to remember that parents have a blind spot when it comes to their own children. So even if a baby is obviously the weirdest looking little alien thing you've ever seen, do not attempt to joke with it's parents about it. Saying things like "Well I'm sure one day he'll grow into that third eye" will only enrage a mother.
- Even people who don't know the baby will be offended by you calling it ugly. This is because calling a baby ugly is politically incorrect. Try something more vague like "unique" or "interesting".
- My "token baby friend" is not ugly at all, in fact she's surprisingly gorgeous for being a foot tall and having a Body Mass Index of like 86%.
The truth is, I don't hate babies, I don't even disapprove of them, except in certain situations, like at a movie theater, or a restaurant. It's just that I don't feel the need to be obsessed about every single one of them. I'm not baby crazy, but that doesn't mean I never want to have one, and I actually like kids when they aren't completely spoiled or little know-it-alls, which is apparently 95% of the time.
Babies don't make me uncomfortable, their parents do. If I could meet babies in private without a mom breathing down my neck, judging me for speaking in a regular octave I would have more baby friends.
I also have nothing to talk to a baby about. My last conversation with a 2 year old went like this:
Me: "Hey Baby, what's your name?"
Me: "uh...that's a cool name. So how is your day going?"
Baby: *confused stare*
Me: "So you're just chillin at the park today?"
Me: "Can you talk or do you just not like to?."
Baby: ......*bursts into tears*
At any rate, I've raised dozens of Sims children and they all turned out fine, except for that one who I kept forgetting to send to the bathroom and he eventually went crazy and burned the house down.