Thursday, February 10, 2005

Choosing and Finding Your New Rugrat

**Note** This is a post I wrote over at Phischkneght (non-extended) for Eric shortly after his nuptials, in April 2004. While this tutorial is quite tongue-in-cheek, there's more truth to it than the not-yet-having-borne-children would suspect. And it's on the long side for a Phischkneght post. So here it is. -Jake.

Today I'm writing a special tutorial, especially for Eric, in response to his recent post over at The Garden. There's a link to The Garden on the right if you want to see the post, but again, as Eric and I are the only people likely to be reading this, I'm not really going to repeat the post or even reference it with much depth.

The specific point I'll be dealing with here is the following: "My friends will stop bugging me about when I'm going to get married (although there are 8 kids between the three of them...)", something, something, something.

If you do the math, the most reasonable conclusion is that two of Eric's friends have three children each, and one has only two. That one would be me.

I like to think (and Eric has told me) that I've been the most understanding of his friends regarding his long wait to ride on the matrimony pony. In fact, my standard line has been "You're still doing the right things, Eric, you're just doing them in a different order than the rest of us. There's nothing wrong with that, you're just waiting for the right time." I stand by that. Apparently, the right time approximately equals the point where lines finishing-school and Becks-coming-home cross.

Notwithstanding that, I like to be a trend setter. This is one of the rightful duties of an Alpha Geek, such as myself. Generally I'm a bit of a maverick and make my own trends, but I've got a reputation to keep up, so if I've got an inside track on the next big hit I'll take it.

So with that preface, here goes: Hey, Eric, is the wife-to-be pregnant yet?

Because, you know, my kids need playmates, and John and John won't risk letting their kids play with mine. You've made that same claim, but I know it's just an appeal to my pride of wilder, younger days.

Of course she isn't, and probably won't be for a good little while, unless you get surprised. And take it from me, surprises ARE possible. Oh yes they are. (Eric's retort of denial.) OH YES THEY ARE!

That said, somewhere down the road, you'll decide it's time for kids or have them foisted upon you. I can say with confidence that it's best to willingly decide it's time than have fate come in, sighing and shaking its head disappointedly, and make what you've turned into a fear come true.

And babies are a little like cars. You want to be sure to pick the right one for you. Now, that just about finishes the car analogy, because unlike cars, American-made babies are not worse than almost every other nationality. In fact, they're quite good, but with current quality controls, it's pretty safe to assume that a baby of any nationality is going to be of reasonably good quality.

Me, I drive a Japanese car, but both of my babies are American-made. All three are of wondrous craftsmanship.

Knowing you, you'll probably decide to self-build rather than trust someone else to manufacture your babies. That's what I did, and I think it's a wise approach overall.

For one thing, the manufacturing process can be quite fun, especially in the early stages. It’s important to get it right, though, so practice, practice, practice!

The incubation period involves much of good and bad, and your mileage certainly will vary. Some incubating units are VERY demanding, while others practically run themselves. Most are somewhere in the middle. All units do require constant monitoring though, because breakdowns, especially ones caused by emotion, are extremely common.

I've heard stories of errant incubation units demanding massive amounts of ice cream to continue functioning. Mine, however, simply slept all the time, waking periodically to say not-very-nice things to me. You mustn’t take that sort of thing personally; it's just part of the process.

Of course, this tutorial is not comprehensive. As stated above, don’t forget to practice, and your mileage WILL vary. It will.

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