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News & Features » September 2019 » “Observations on Parenting—Volume I: Pregnancy/Newborn/Infant” by Brett Pinsent

“Observations on Parenting—Volume I: Pregnancy/Newborn/Infant” by Brett Pinsent

Are you a parent going through the Terrible Twos? Did you live through them and survive? Terrible Twosdays is a place to commiserate over the unending shenanigans of your Darling Children (as the online parenting communities say). Nonfiction stories will be considered, so long as names have been changed to protect the guilty. Inspired by our best-selling gift book for parents, Go the Fuck to Sleep, Terrible Twosdays joins the roster of our other online short fiction series. Unlike Mondays Are Murder and Thursdaze, we’re looking for stories with a light and mischievous feel, all about the day-to-day challenges of parenting. As with our other flash fiction series, stories must not exceed 750 words.

This week, some astute observations on parenting a newborn by Brett Pinsent.

Observations on Parenting—Volume I: Pregnancy/Newborn/Infant
by Brett Pinsent
Pregnancy, newborn, infant

  • Most men will not read this. Men don’t want to read about other men’s parenting experiences. They see it as cheating. Like looking at the instructions before putting together that cabinet from IKEA.
  • Agreeing to the hardships of parenthood before you have a child is like clicking the “Terms of Service” box when signing up for Facebook. You know there is some shady fine print in there, but you don’t quite realize just how much freedom you gave away until it’s too late.
  • No one tells you that those ultrasounds in the middle trimesters are creepy as fuck. They aren’t a cute little bean anymore but aren’t a fully formed mini human yet either. They are basically undeveloped aliens with a face similar to the villain in Saw.
  • People who say they love the smell of newborns are basically saying they enjoy the scent of urine soaked diapers, baby powder, and Drift detergent.
  • Before you put that “baby on board” sticker on your car, you better do some real serious self evaluation about the what kind of driver you are. ‘Cause if you cut people off or drive like a dick, the karma you’ll receive for doing so will be twice as harsh.
  • Those first black tar poops are like trying to clean the Exxon Valdez oil spill with a wet wipe.
  • A newborn’s thoughts on sleep: “I don’t really want to sleep, but when I do, it will be just long enough for you to think you can do something, but not long enough for you to actually do it.”
  • That moment when your sleeping baby starts to stir while you’re walking by their crib and you freeze like a deer who hears ruffling leaves behind her. A state of fear induced paralysis stops you in your tracks and hope to god if you don’t move, you’ll be safe.
  • There is no better way to find every single squeaking floor and creaking door in your home than trying to avoid waking a baby up.
  • If you ever run out of wet wipes and are forced to use toilet paper on your baby, you quickly realize the inferiority of a dry wipe and question the barbaric ways of the western TP using world.
  • Babies are like mini Houdinis. They have the uncanny ability to wiggle their arms out of any restraint and can magically make sleep disappear.
  • I’ve never actually smelled the flower Baby’s Breath, but if it’s smells anything like its namesake then it must have a perfume of hot sour milk.
  • You never realize how unexcited friends and family are about seeing you until you see just how excited they are when they see your newborn.
  • It’s a total mystery how an anus the size of a coffee straw can produce a sound only comparable to a tuba being played in a heavy rain storm.
  • Babies have nails as sharp as eagle talons that they will use with reckless abandon if you do not feed them as much or as often as they would like.
  • I thought our house was fairly baby proofed. Then my kid starting crawling at the speed of a methed out turtle and throwing his head into things like a zombie trying to break through a door. Now I feel the only safe place for him is a room made of pillows.
  • Diaper genie bags defy all laws of physics. They take the saying “10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag” and make it a reality.
  • Infants love sticking their fingers in your mouth. I swear, I see more fishhooks per day than the crew of deadliest catch.
  • As a young man, that thumping stereo or loud exhaust are so cool. As an adult with a baby, you officially understand why everyone in your neighborhood hated you and your car as a teenager. Waking up a baby that took forty minutes of bouncing to get down with your stupid bubble bee sounding muffler is a infuriating. Your car is tacky and I hate you.
  • If you wear a lot of crew neck shirts, prepare for them to all become boat necks at the hands of your child once they realize the power of their grip.


BRETT PINSENT is a professional free climber, ultra-marathoner, and search & rescue team lead specializing in avalanche retrieval alongside his trusted partner/St. Bernard, Rufus. None of that is true, but Brett describes himself as feeling equally as exhausted as that fictional character would be. In reality, he is a writer, photographer, and unpaid wrangler of uncooperative and rambunctious children. When not silently whispering “Serenity now!” to himself while corralling his two young children, he enjoys spending time with his unfathomably patient wife, eating out at restaurants he can’t afford, and lusting over handmade Japanese cooking knives.


Do you have a story you’d like us to consider for online publication in the Terrible Twosdays flash fiction series? Here are the submission terms and guidelines:

—We are not offering payment, and are asking for first digital rights. The rights to the story revert to the author immediately upon publication.
—Your story should focus on the challenges of parenting. Ideally, stories should be about children aged 0 to 5, but any age (up to early teens) is acceptable. Stories may be fiction or nonfiction.
—Include the child’s age at the time of the story next to your byline.
—Your story should not exceed 750 words.
—E-mail your submission to info@akashicbooks.com. Please paste the story into the body of the email, and also attach it as a PDF file.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019

Category: Original Fiction, Terrible Twosdays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,