The How to Raise a Baby in Dallas Guide to Dallas Baby-Raising

Fire hoses. Bazookas. Carnival acts. These are the shooting-things-out-of-themselves experts. I know this now. Probably should have consulted them before attempting to blast a 9-pound-11-ounce boob destroyer out of my favorite part. Ah, well. Hindsight, much like a newborn baby person, is a total motherfucker.

And once the baby's out of you, what the hell are you supposed to do with it, right? You're immediately hit with all these questions about how to provide the best for your newborn: Where are the hottest baby nightclubs? Are baby topsiders in or out? According to infant etiquette, when your baby pisses in your face, is it customary to say "thank you" or will a fist bump suffice?

When I had babies, there wasn't a sweet-ass guide to baby-ing in Dallas with all the baby feeding, baby clothing, baby hanging-out-with info. But I'm here for you, Dallas. As a freaking baby-rearing expert (based on four years as a mother of a girl person plus three weeks as the mother of a boy person plus a deep, serious relationship with Jack Daniel's), I give you The How to Raise a Baby in Dallas Guide to Dallas Baby-Raising.

Dallas is the land of baby opportunity. If you're sitting at home with your baby watching Netflix all day, you're doing it wrong. Netflix is for 4 a.m. feedings. If you watch Netflix 24 hours a day, you're going to blow your Netflix load way too early and run right through all the seasons of The Walking Dead in like three days. When you watch all the recent series that quickly, you're headed for disappointment, spelled with a capital "season finale of Pretty Wicked Moms and Elmo documentaries."

Instead, get out there and chug from the luxury-filled double-D boob that is the Dallas child-rearing scene.

Feeding Your Dallas Baby

"Where in the babydump hell are the kids' menus with options besides chicken fingers and fries?" you're maybe asking yourself if you're a parent who takes your kid to food places in Dallas. To you, I say, "If you're complaining about the items available on the kids' menu at a restaurant, you're more lame than that Charmin Bear skid-marks commercial. Who needs a kids' menu? When did the kid become so important that he needs his own menu? There's no Adult Female Bitch section of the menu, either. But if it existed, you'd complain about its contents, too." Here's where I blow your mind with science: Kid people can eat the same foods as adult people. It's true.

That said, I get it. Kids can be picky bastards. So for those days that your give-a-shitter is on empty and you need a break from trying to shove kale chips down your kid's throat, here are some tips for taking your kid to a no-food-fail restaurant meal in Dallas.

Any place that has legit margaritas: If the restaurant has good margaritas, they'll also have enchiladas and tacos that your kid will love. It's a proven fact, so think back to the last time you were so tequila-hammered you couldn't remember your face, and take your kid there for lunch. Unless, of course, your answer was your own front lawn. Everyone knows your front lawn has a history of providing terrible service and isn't super kid-friendly. If you can't remember where you were the last time you were that drunk, default to Pepe's & Mito's in Deep Ellum. Everyone wins.

Pepe's & Mito's offers kids all the cheese-filled tortilla options they could ever want, plus sopapillas. The added benefit of Pepe's & Mito's is that the food arrives at your table literally 30 seconds after you ordered it, so your kids don't even have time to complain about the "AAAAAAAAAAAAAH SALSA HERE IS TOO HOT, MOM" salsa. (The salsa isn't too hot. Your kid's just a wimp-ass wimp. Maybe it's time to stop co-sleeping with him now that he can legally vote and drive a car.)

Any place that offers froyo: Children are genetically wired to love frozen things that are sweet. For this reason, frozen-yogurtstaurants abound in Dallas. Monster Yogurt (9540 Garland Road) is a kid-loved, locally owned froyo spot. Heed this warning, though: Only walk in here if you've had a full week's sleep. Walls inside are lined with serve-yourself toppings for frozen yogurt including M&M's and sprinkles. There's a McDonalds-y-indoor-playscape thing, which kids seem to scream on every second of every minute that this place is open. Only stay for four minutes if you'd like to keep your sanity at this sugarfest. The restaurant also doubles as the best birth control in Texas, should you need it.

Any place that serves brunch: Nobody doesn't like pancakes. Also, no kid doesn't love saying "brunch farts."

Take your kid to Cane Rosso for Saturday brunch and order the pancakes with Nutella whipped cream and enjoy the resulting five full minutes of quiet time while your kid stuffs his face. While you're there, play Cane Rosso Seek 'N' Find: Can you find the mom chugging a beer while her kid dumps in the patioscape? Did you see the disgusted, hungover hipster who immediately vowed never to have children because "Holy IPA, I never knew kid shits were so adult-looking"? You win! Lesson: It's never too early to teach your child to judge other parents.

On Sunday, hit up The Grape. If your kid doesn't want freaking delicious bacon and eggs, he can order the burger and have his mind burger-blown on the spot. Bonus: A spot on the patio is an opportunity to teach your kid about the different smells of Greenville Avenue. Start with Granada Mosh Pit/Armpit Stank and work your way up. Or down. I'm not sure which it is.

Any place that makes a good chicken salad: Any restaurant that offers a delicious chicken salad will also have the kid-sized fruit cup you so desperately seek. The fruit cup is 2013's universal symbol of a last-minute attempt at good parenting. It's the "I'll have a double cheeseburger and a Diet Coke" of kid meals.

Dream Cafe has buttered pasta and hummus, and the one in Uptown (2800 Routh St.) has a playhouse for your little shit to run around in after he's lemonade-high. During lunch, put away the iPhones and the video games and have a real conversation with your kid. It's important. Teach him every single thing you know, starting with the stuff about boobs. And remember, it's OK if you're full of shit -- it's better for him, in fact, if you're wrong. This way, he understands how important it is to turn to Wikipedia when he wants to know the truth about things that aren't boobs.

Zoe's Kitchen and Central Market's Chef's Case offer tons of kid-friendly options for to-go meals if you've decided it's time to go all Super Mom and eat a picnic lunch with Mommy's Little Mouth Breather. Don't forget to Instagrammit. Gotta make sure the other moms see your kid eating a carrot. Document every single life moment before you experience it, people. That's what being a parent in 2013 is all about.

Clothing Your Dallas Baby

Your hormones likely will bring you shopping for your infant in your second trimester. You'll need to get hundreds of one dollar bills for these outings, as it is customary to "make it rain" on the cashiers at baby boutiques. (Do not buy rolls of quarters, as snapping quarters at cashiers here is frowned upon. Reserve that behavior for strip clubs.) You'll know it's time to stop shopping if you start dragging out your vowels when you talk about the stuff in the store. "Aaaaawwwwww, look at thaaaaaat, it's so sweeeeeeet." If you bring your credit card with you in this state, you'll be in debt for the rest of your life.

Before you clothe your Dallas baby, it is important to identify what kind of Dallas baby you have. To determine the budget that you are expected to spend on your baby clothing, first assess whether you have a Girl-Type Baby or a Boy-Type Baby. This can be done by simply looking at the bottom of your infant's left heel. The type of baby should be printed there. If it's not there, call the baby dealership and ask them directly.

The following informative charts clearly break down how much of your family's yearly earnings should be spent on clothing for your baby:

Girl-Type Baby: 50 percent of family's gross annual income Boy-Type Baby: 1 percent of family's gross annual income

Once you've determined your baby type, it's time to Dallas your baby. Like most of the stores in Snider Plaza, at Baby Bliss (6721 Snider Plaza) you'll find everything you could never need. There are certainly cute things available for purchase, but you're 100 percent certain to have 0 percent rational justification for purchasing anything in this store. They have beautiful designer diaper bags that cost more than $100 and offer less holding capacity than a standard plastic grocery bag; infant dresses that cost more than the adult shirt you're currently wearing; for-absolutely-no-reason crib canopies. Need boots-with-the-fur and matching booty shorts for your infant for Baby Happy Hour? Of course you do. This is your hookup. Also be sure to bring a Baby Boutique Hype Man Friend (BBHMF) with you so that you can confidently make purchases. You: "Should I get this $40 newborn onesie that will fit my baby for one day or maybe even never?" BBHMF: "YAYAH!"

At the Nordstrom Kids' Shoe Department at NorthPark Center, they'll take your house payment and trade you a pair of baby Manolo Blahniks and a shitty balloon. The pair of shoes you'll buy your child here will fit for exactly one month. But if you don't spend the hundred bucks on them, the Dallas Baby Doucher baby outfit you bought at that expensive baby boutique will never be complete. And if that's not complete, you just put your kid's future on a slippery slope that starts with getting kicked out of expensive-as-giving-birth-at-a-hospital preschool. (Seriously, who knew giving birth at a hospital would be so expensive? Oh. Everybody? Oh. OK, well at least I didn't have to worry about popping water and innards all over my living room with the incredible power of my shooter. Related: Has anyone written that screenplay yet? Attack of the Birthing Shooting Outs. There's serious marketability to the mommy/thrasher demographic. It'd be like True Blood, but just the blood parts, not the vampire/wolf sex parts.) Next thing you know, he moves onto snorting formula off a Barbie's tits in kindergarten, and then you know his lack of cool shoes will get him jumped into a Debate Team gang in high school, and he'll probably seem like a totally successful, well-adjusted person by 30 -- but he'll say some shit like, "Whatever. I like New Balances, Mom." And you'll know it was all your fault. Buy him the expensive infant shoes he can't even walk in. Everyone knows it's the appropriate foundation for his future shoe fetish.

If you'd rather spend your infant fun budget on mashed-peas-and-carrots amuse bouches at the coolest baby speakeasies, go to Target and Old Navy for all the cheap, Dallas Baby Doucher knockoffs your Post-Traumatic-Baby-Boutique-Stressed self craves. Fret not, my sleep-deprived and therefore sanity-deprived friend. Dallas can help you make your baby into a douche at any price point.

Deciding to opt out of making your baby look like a tiny, trash-compacted version of Justin Bieber? Good for you. But for the love of God, stay away from the Carter's three-packs of onesies. Every third one says some bull about "Mommy loves me" or "I heart hugs." No shit. You're a baby. Everyone already knows all that shit about you. That's like Ron Jeremy wearing a shirt that says "I have an outstanding penis."

Playing With Your Dallas Baby
Take your baby outside:

If you have a baby or a toddler, you have a new familiarity with public restrooms. Since you never know when your baby could suffer what's referred to in the industry as a Blowout (aka Code Red, All of the Most Worst Things, Number 12, Thundersnow), you have a desperate need for baby-friendly restrooms wherever you go. And it just gets more complicated once they're potty-training. When little Chlamydia Starfish has to pee, there's no saying, "Hold it for 20 minutes while we walk to the shitter, sweetie."

You might think that going to Klyde Warren Park means accepting a Porta-Potty fate worse than death, but you'd be totally wrong. They have the fanciest portable bathrooms on the planet. Pretty sure all they're missing is chandeliers. Your baby's ass is safe here. Plus, the park is awesome. There are food trucks for you, there's plenty of grass for them to graze on and they can break their faces on the fancy, spinny playground equipment and be ready for nap time in no time.

Lake Highlands North Sprayground (9940 White Rock Trail) is free, and it's perfect for every single hot summer day in this town. And while they do have portable shitters available, let's be real: Your kid is pissing himself the entire time he plays in the water here. It's cool. The water's beyond chlorinated. (But maybe don't drink it.) At the Dallas Arboretum (8525 Garland Road) at night, your baby can soak in some extremely manicured nature while you enjoy a picnic and listen to a cover band sing The Beatles. You're so Dallas-ing right now. Oh, and if your kid can't make it all the way to the bathroom in the dark during the set, just let him quietly dump in the shrubbery and call it organic.

The Dallas Zoo offers miles upon miles of stroller-friendly strolling. Plus giraffes. And when your infant becomes kid-age, you can drop him off at glorious Dallas Zoo Camp, which is available whenever that pretend preschool you have your kid enrolled in decides to take a fake holiday and close for the day. Ever heard of Easter Monday? How 'bout Cowboy Day? Or "We're All Super Tired, So This Friday Is Never Mind, There's No School Because Ha Ha, We Have You By the Balls and We Do What We Want Because if You're Mean to Us We Kick Your Kid Out And That Means You Have to Hang with Mr. Little Shitpants All Damned Day" Day? You will. And you'll be screwed for a backup plan unless you remember Dallas Zoo Camp. They have camps available on Good Friday. There's one during spring break. They even have camp the week of Fourth of July. Zoo Camp is the backup baby sitter you never knew you had. Plus guinea pigs.

It's never too early to teach your kid about geodes 'n' science shit. The Perot Museum is soooooo much better than the busted Museum of Nature & Science at Fair Park. Remember the old farm house thing they had there, with the cut-out holes in the floor that taught kids the important nature and also science skill of getting hands stuck in things while hiding old gum and used Kleenex? And the water room with the kid-waist-high sink thing that your toddler sat in after she took a diaper dump? Unfortunately, they don't have that stuff at the Perot Museum. Instead, they have scratch 'n' sniff of wolf piss. Yes, for real. Don't worry, your kid will find it and show you.

Take your little psycho to a padded room: It's a fact. Children are little psychos. Related fact: Psychos are relatively safe in padded rooms. Also related fact: The Little Gym (6465 E. Mockingbird Lane) is the perfect padded room for baby psychos. But if you go there weekly, you may find yourself hugging your knees and quietly singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Tread carefully.

Pump-It-Up (three locations) is another padded-room option for your little one. It's full of bounce houses and antibacterial soap and smells like synthetic fart fumes. As someone who's watched her kid's face slow-mo bounce off the floor at Pump-It-Up, I urge you to point out to your bundle of crazy that the floors are not bouncy. They are concrete.

On the top floor of the Galleria Mall, there's a free indoor playground that will scare all of the craps out of a new parent. And it should. It's crawling with diapers. There are little kids, big kids, moms, strollers. It's a squishy, jungle-themed daymare. And it's physically impossible to keep an eye on your child as there is no spot in this circle of life with perfect visibility. So, stand at the entrance/exit. If they can't get out past you, you've done your job. Survival among the other short beasts is their problem. Pro tip: Don't go after 11 a.m. in summer, or the blazing Dallas sun will burn a hole through the beautiful glass ceiling of the Galleria right through your child. The price of admission here is free, but be warned: The psychological cost is great. ("Great" = two bottles of wine or three shots of Jack Daniel's.)

Need more self-inflicted pain because of your unending Mom Guilt? Check out Jumpstreet. Here, the floors are trampolines and the mechanical bull in the middle of the room says, "RUN AWAY. SAVE YOURSELF. YOU WOULD THINK THAT THERE WOULD BE BEER HERE, BUT THERE'S NO BEER HERE. WHAT KIND OF ANIMAL INSTALLS A MECHANICAL BULL IN A PLACE WITH NO BEER?!? GET. OWT." Sure, your kids will love it so much they'll call you Mother of the Year. But at what cost?

Take your baby to drive-thru anything: You know how you used to think the parking spot by the front of the lot was the best spot, and now that you're a parent, it doesn't matter where the hell the spot is as long as it has shade and a cart-holder next to it? You'll begin to have an appreciation for drive-thru anything too. Driving through means you don't have to unload the 100-lb. stroller or unbuckle anyone's 60-point harness while you're getting shit done. It means a sleeping small person stays gloriously the fuck asleep. In short, it means everything.

And when you start to look for them, you realize Dallas has drive-thru everything. There are drive-thru food places that don't just serve sodium in an IV drip (try Starton Greenville Avenue for a grass-fed burger on the kids' menu). There are Walgreens drive-thrus for all those times you'll be picking up pink-eye drops because your kid keeps shoving his hand in his shit and then in his eyehole. There are drive-thru car washes for after your kid voms all over the inside of your car, leading all other passengers to sympathy vom. (This is a real thing that will happen, so buckle up). Most important, there are drive-thru beer barns. (Seven Express, also conveniently on Greenville, has all your beer-ing needs covered, plus fancy bikini ladies in summer!)

And super mega wonderfully, there are drive-thru movies. Galaxy Drive-In (5301 N. Interstate 45, Ennis) offers current movies for $6 per adult and $3 per kid. And that's for a double feature, people. Two new releases.

And Galaxy Drive-In don't care about your baby. Bring him. Let him pass out while you watch Brad Pitt do Brad Pitt-y stuff on the big screen. You just got your life back, parent bitches. No more of this "I never get to go out and see movies anymore now that I have a kid" crap. Get your face some of that surprisingly high-quality Galaxy movie screen action.

Plus, added bonuses: funnel cake, Dippin' Dots, mini-golf and the knowledge that anyone doing anything sexual during the movies is doing that in their own vehicle that they have purchased and not in the seat next to you (unless you're into that, Creeper). Pro tip: Get gas ahead of time since it's a bit of a trek to Ennis, and bring the car with the best speakers, as the sound is blasted through your car radio.

And that about covers anything you could possibly ever need to know about raising the Dallas baby. If you have a baby in Dallas, congratulations (and sincerest apologies to your family vagina). I hope you've found this guide helpful. And if it wasn't obvious already, this issue doubles as a convenient on-the-go diaper changing pad. So feel free to go forth and diaper shit wherever. Double points if your kid dumps on a swear.

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