In revisiting the land of babyhood after taking a sabbatical for seven years, I've become reacquainted with a common conversation amongst parents of newborns. This ongoing dialogue is most aptly titled, "The Debate of the Doers," as in who did what when.
It seems each parent keeps their personal internal tally as to the significance of what they've recently done for the baby and why, for example, it's not their turn to go upstairs to retrieve the crying baby from its crib. It's a battle of one-upmanship that can carry the debate back to events occurring weeks earlier.
I've got the solution to avoid these disagreements. The Parental Scorecard. Every chore is assigned points reflecting its overall worth in the grand scheme of things. The running tally would always indicate whose turn it now is to perhaps boil the pacifier that had just fallen into the flower box. This predetermined scoring system would prevent the following types of "discussion:"
"Honey, I think the baby's diaper needs changing."
"I believe you're right dear, but if my memory serves me correctly, I changed the last one."
"Well, that may be true, but who had to get up last night for the 2 AM feeding?"
"I don't deny that was you, but who washed the last load of dirty baby clothes, folded them and put them away in the dresser?"
"None other than you, dear, but if you recall correctly, it was me who went to the store a week ago Tuesday at 11 pm when we ran out of baby wipes."
"Big deal. Who spent their whole morning last Friday at the pediatrician's office trying to entertain a baby with a broken VCR and 14 other cranky little children?"
"Yeah, that was you. But who took him for his six-week-checkup?"
"Don't make me laugh. 'Well baby' doctor visits aren't even in the same ballpark."
"Oh sure, like it's a walk in the park when he got his shots?"
"Look, before we go on, I've got an offer. I've seen too many diapers today. If you change this one, I'll do the midnight feeding and the next two diapers. Fair enough?"
"Sounds like a decent opening offer. Throw in tomorrow's nighttime bath and laundry and you've got a deal."
"Don't push it. I've already thrown in one more diaper change than I needed. I'll do the bath, you've got the laundry or the deal's off and we can resume our stimulating debate."
"All right, deal."
A Parental Scorecard on the kitchen fridge would eliminate the need for debate. Just keep a running tally. Portions of the scorecard would read as follows:
- Twenty-four hour solitary shift with baby because spouse was out of town and baby refused to take either morning or afternoon nap - 12 points
- Retrieving pacifier from floor for crying baby and returning it to crib between midnight and 6:00 a.m. - 5 points
- Cleaning up the aftermath of regurgitation, including changing baby's clothes and cleaning floor - 9 points
- Doing the above but also having to change your clothes - 11 points
- Putting baby to sleep requiring rocking and/or bouncing and/or back rubbing and/or singing for greater than 30 minutes - 7 points
- Diaper change with major poo poo requiring usage of wipes in excess of five - 7 points
- Feeding between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. - 4 points
- Feeding between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. - 6 points
- Spending six hours or greater with sick, cranky baby - 10 points
- Dressing baby to go outside in winter time including diaper, onesie, turtleneck, overalls, sweatshirt, socks, winter coat, mittens, hat, scarf and boots - 7 points
- Doing the above and then having to redo because of poopy diaper - 10 points
- Driving in car for over twenty minutes with an agitated baby long overdue for a nap and refusing to go to sleep in the car - 10 points
- Taking diaper pail bag out to the trash - 6 points
- Dining out, just you and an extremely restless and fussy baby - 7 points
- Dining out, just you, your in-laws and an extremely restless and fussy baby - 9 points
- Packing baby's clothes, stuffed animals, books, pacifiers, toys, diapers, wipes, bottles, stroller, car seat, music tapes and blanket for vacation - 11 points
- Taking baby to the pediatrician for first set of shots - 10 points
- Refusing to go with the baby to the pediatrician for the first shots because you couldn't handle it - Subtract 15 points
I think I'm on to something here. Maybe I'll patent it if I can ever find the time - since I still need 150 points to pull ahead of my wife.