10 Lessons in parenting using Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy quotes

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10. Listen to your parents

“You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”
“Why, what did she tell you?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”

Things change, every day new studies and new recommendations come out. That being said, your parents, or in-laws, have years of experience dealing with exactly what you’re going through.

They are an extremely useful source of information.

I dearly wish I had listened to my Mom when she told me about what I was like as a baby.

9. Nursing blankets and hand towels are essential

“A towel, [The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy] says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapors; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-boggingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

This sounds silly but always carry your towel.

Babies will spit-up, puke, drool, snot, and all kinds of other things. Having something to wipe it off is extremely useful.

You can also use the nursing blanket as a fort, to swaddle, and many other things.

8. Everything takes longer with a baby

“Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”

A forty five minute TV show can take an hour and a half to watch. Getting ready to leave is an exercise in planning and strategy that is far beyond what you expect.

Always give yourself a lot of extra time.

7. Babies have no survival instinct but they bounce

“There is an art, it says, or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.”

The combination of no survival instinct, curiosity, and lack of motor control means children are always trying to fly. They wriggle a lot… A LOT!

Inevitably the baby will try and fly but still hit the ground. In those cases if you are worried, go to the hospital. However if you’re not too worried, watch for weirder behaviour and make sure their pupils are both the same size. If they cry, it’s a good thing. A lack of crying from a fall is not a good thing.

6. No matter how often you tell them something it will feel like they are ignoring you

“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.”

Everyone will tell you that raising kids goes quickly and that you need to cherish it. They’re right, but as you’re experiencing it, it can seem tediously slow.

Certain activities seem impossibly slow. Teaching what the word No means, teaching survival, and teaching them to sleep are all activities can that take FOREVER.

5. That shell shocked parental look

“He was staring at the instruments with the air of one who is trying to convert Fahrenheit to Centigrade in his head while his house is burning down.”

Babies are weird weird creatures. They will do the strangest things and every parent will recognize the look of bafflement and confusion that comes with parenting.

My daughter will always try and hide behind someone and eventually pull their hair.

4. No one knows what they’re doing

“This must be Thursday,” said Arthur to himself, sinking low over his beer. “I never could get the hang of Thursdays.”

As mentioned, children are weird, they have no survival instinct, and they spew multiple different bodily fluids.

Even with help and lots of information, raising children is as baffling as it is entertaining. Don’t worry though, no one really knows what they’re doing.

3. The moment you learn the rules, they’ll change

“There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.”

You’ve found out how to get your child to stop biting the furniture. Congratulations! Get ready, for everything will change. It will.

Babies are growing and developing so fast that by the time that your ancient brain has caught up, the baby has already moved on.

2. Do your thing

“I’d far rather be happy than right any day.”

Spend ten minutes searching online or asking strangers about anything to do with babies and you’ll realize that there’s opposing opinions on absolutely everything.

Not only are there lots of opinions, but people will angrily defend their position and judge you.

Do what you think is best and what your child’s doctor recommends. Otherwise, you will spend all your time and energy panicking.

Once you accept that whatever you do is wrong, you’ll be much happier.

1. It’ll be okay. I promise!

“Mostly Harmless” / “Don’t Panic”

There are two things that you should always remember about parenting:

First, babies are not being mean on purpose. They have no idea what they are doing. Be patient, it’s your job to teach them.

Finally, try not to panic. Parenting is stressful, hard, wonderful, and highly entertaining, but try not to burn yourself out with worry.

 

Goodbye and thanks for all the fish (or comments),

Éric

Top 5 Ways Having a Baby is like Joining a Cult

Brainwashing is no longer considered the reason most people join cults. Instead, it’s theorized that it’s a combination of indoctrination and acceptance that leads people to follow dangerous or benign cults.

Having a child, you go through a similar experience and the two are scarily close.

*Warning*
This is meant as a humorous article pointing out the obvious and making exaggerated claims, not as a serious scientific debate.

Image from ScaryForKids.com
Image from ScaryForKids.com

5. Eating and Sleeping

The human mind depends a lot on its body functioning and reacting in a predictable way. Changing its patterns and starving the body of sleep or food can completely alter the way the mind reacts to situations.

For that reason, cults will often wake up their members every couple of hours to meditate, pray, etc. They will also under-feed or change the eating habits of their members for the same reason.

When you have a child, it does the same thing; waking you up multiple times a night and making sure you never have a warm meal or a meal on time again.

4. Isolation and Inclusion

The first thing that a cult will do is try to isolate new members. If they don’t have a strong support structure, they’re more vulnerable to what appears to be a warm and inviting environment. Once the members are isolated, they make sure that the other members become a new, self echoing, support structure.

When you have a baby, it comes first. A lot of the people you saw all the time disappear into the background and you find yourself meeting other parents at Ikea or the Disney Store.

At first it’s like everyone has abandoned you and then you meet other parents and they understand how you’ve suffered. Suddenly you have a completely new structure of friends.

3. Constant Fear

Cults, and extreme political parties, often like to reinforce how awesome they are by contrasting to an enemy. It could be another cult, another culture, the government etc. Sometimes it won’t be a person or group of people but an event or idea. Conspiracies, end of days, etc.

As a new parent, you will be bombarded by advice from scientific articles, friends, family, and random strangers. Each and every one of which will contradict each other or itself. The advice will be dire and terrifying. One friend will send you something like this, “Using a soother will warp your child’s gums and their teeth will be crooked and ill developed” and another will send you this, “Using a soother lowers the risk of SIDS.”

EVERYTHING will kill your kid or scar them for life and every parent will fight to the death for the thing they believe in.

2. Rituals and Repetition

Cults ingrain ideas and habits by repetition and rituals. Songs, chants, and speeches are common but so are exercises, flagellation, or repetitive actions.

As a new parent, what was once a fun cute rhyme is now a mandatory ritual. A favourite song becomes constant background noise.

Things start needing to be done in a specific order that you were daft enough to not write down and when the diaper is changed after the feeding instead of before, you’re lost to singing extra made up verses of their bedtime song.

Not to mention that watching hours of Pepa Pig, Paw Patrol, or Dora makes you wish for the flagellation.

1. Charismatic Leader

Really dangerous cults have an extremely charismatic leader. Someone who can, with a smile and a well-placed word, make you feel like the most important person in the world. A person so lovable that everyone wants to be around them.

A baby will scream, poop, puke, pee, scream, pull your hair, and hit you with every body part. At two AM you’ll wake up, hearing them make a noise and you’ll beg every deity you’ve ever heard of that they don’t wake up.

Despite all that they’ll look up at you with those big eyes and make a cooing noise that will melt your heart and you’ll instantly forgive them. Their smile makes you feel utterly filled with love and when they snuggle into you, you feel a love like nothing you’ve ever experienced before. (Snuggling may actually be a baby’s way of trying to burrow into your chest to steal your heart.)

 


One big difference, thankfully, is the fact that parenthood rarely results in mass suicide.

The Galapagos Islands

I found out some incredibly exciting news last week about the Galapagos Islands: baby tortoises have hatched there for the first time in ONE HUNDRED years! Read the article explaining the situation here.

Baby Galapagos Tortoise! So adorable! Picture from www.thedodo.com
Baby Galapagos Tortoise! So adorable! Picture from www.thedodo.com

The islands were the influence for Darwin’s Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection, due to the massive variety of species and subspecies found on the different islands. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The “archipelago and its immense marine reserve is known as the unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution.’”

An International law was put in place in 1998: “Special Regime Law for the Conservation and Sustainable Development in the Province of the Galapagos.” This regulates “tourism through a visitor management system.” No large vessels are allowed near the islands, and only small group tours are permitted. Ecoventura is one such tour company.

Friends of mine went to Ecuador, and visited the Galapagos Islands, on their honeymoon six years ago. I asked them some questions about their experiences:

Why did you choose the Galapagos Islands as the place to visit on your honeymoon?
Kristen: I love nature and Ed loves science/scientific discoveries. I had heard that the Galapagos has some beautiful nature, varied environments, and creatures that are almost entirely unafraid of humans.
Ed: In school, we always learned about Darwin and the Galapagos finches. I thought it would be neat to see myself. The fearless animals were also a draw.

What were some of the things that you did on your trip?
Kristen: We hiked through a lot of different environments – an island covered in hard black volcanic rock, an island of volcanic ash dunes, and one full of lush rain-forest vegetation. We also snorkeled among sting rays, bright colored fish, sea lions (a real treat) and reef sharks (a bit of a surprise to us).
Ed: We strolled around a town and stopped by a fish market where there were as many pelicans and sea lions as there were customers. We visited a ranch with huge turtles, and a facility where they are breeding little baby turtles too! We attempted to see the canyon of a volcano (but it was too foggy that day), and ventured down into some lava caves.
Kristen: We also spent some time on the boat itself, getting to know the other dozen or so passengers from around the world. Their stories and impressions were almost as memorable as the sights on the islands.

What was your overall impression of the Galapagos?
Ed: The animals are so fearless that it almost seems like everything is fake. Their indifference to human presence is surreal and feels almost unnatural. The variety of environments and mircro-climates is mind-boggling, especially since they are all so small and close together.Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see, there’s something more.
Kristen: I agree. Visiting the islands feels a bit like walking through a zoo, with lazy animals not really paying attention to you, or maybe if you’re lucky, putting on a show for you…but all the while, you have to remind yourself: This is not a zoo, this is nature. It’s a bit surreal.
We went to the Amazon for the second half of our honeymoon and that was more what we’re used to: “Look way up there through your binoculars and be very quiet and you might see a monkey or parrot” as opposed to “Please don’t touch the sea lion who is having a nap on the dock while you board the ship.”

Would you recommend this trip?
Kristen and Ed: Yes. We would recommend the trip, but would suggest that you really research which tour group you are going with. Having a really knowledgeable guide can make the hikes more interesting and memorable. Also, the ships range from around 16 passengers to 90. We really enjoyed our small ship, because we got to know people better, but the 90 passenger ship might be more sturdy for someone with sea-sickness. (We had one night of pretty choppy waves)
Side note from Jen: The larger scale ships don’t have the same approval from the government of Ecuador, so you won’t get to see as much. The Galapagos Islands are highly protected, and big tours aren’t recommended.

Any other thoughts you’d like to add?
Kristen: The Galapagos is wonderful, but there are also a lot of other neat things to do while in the Ecuador area. Peru (Machu Picchu) is not far away, and the Amazon rain forest extends right down into Ecuador. If you are heading all the way to South America, you might consider extending your stay a few days to check out one of these other wonders as well.
Ed: If you plan to venture out of Ecuador, be aware that there is a $25 exit fee (Airport Departure Tax) every time you fly out of the country.

The Fandom portion:

“How do the Galapagos Islands fit in the theme of Fandom Travel?”

Well, if you don’t think that influencing Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is enough to qualify this location as Fandom, that’s ridiculous. 😛

However, the Galapagos were used as a set location for a feature length film in 2003. Can you guess the movie?

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Follow in the footsteps of Russell Crowe, Billy Boyd, James D’Arcy and Paul Bettany, although you’d have more chances to explore the islands than poor Bettany’s character.

If you are interested in a trip to the Galapagos, contact me Jennifer Desmarais through AJ Travel.

Suggestions for the next place you’d like to see me write about are welcome! Where would you like to go?

Call the Midwife – Recommendation Tuesday

Hello My Imaginary Friends,

Is there any feeling worse than having a TV show you want to marathon and life getting in your way? If you answered NO! than you get me.

My wife and I just discovered BBC’s Call the Midwife. It’s just up my alley. I have a soft spot for shows that star strong, capable women.

More importantly I have a HUGE soft spot for good writing. Each character is thoroughly likeable and human. They have their good days and bad. It’s funny, touching, and sometimes sad. More than anything it’s hopeful and I can’t help but love that.

I haven’t been this engrossed in a non-genre TV show in years.

If you haven’t checked it out. Go do it now.

 

Have you seen Call the Midwife? What do you think?

Éric