Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Wednesday, April 17

Gapers Block

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"Help! I'm being held prisoner... The kid was a bit grouchy, so I thought I'd lay down with him so he would take a nap. Well, he zonked out alright! Now, I can't move. I'm on the bed, on my side, with him attached to my boob like there's no tomorrow. The second I try to squirm out of the bed and his grip, he begins to groan and kick. The phone keeps ringing, it's dark in here, I have to pee...


The above is not a dramatization. It is an actual post to one of my online communities on a rainy evening a few weeks ago. This is not an isolated incident, either. All parents, at one time or another, have found themselves captive to someone one-fourth their size wielding more power than a Dick Cheney-Lou Ferigno love child. You can't go anywhere, you can't talk to anyone, you really can't see or do anything. You're swaddled in your child's inescapably adorable neediness. Or are you? When this happens, all one can do is surrender one's self and try to be prepared.

If you have a laptop that you can keep near you when you're trapped under your baby, next to your baby or any variation thereof, there are several places you can escape to connect with other parents, both free and pinned.

After giving birth to my son, I found myself spending an obscene amount of time in my bed, laptop on one side and 7-pound prison guard on the other. It seemed that the only friends who understood my new situation where those online who were going through the same thing. And where do you meet sympathetic people online you say? Well you don't have to search hard to find several forums and communities to cater to every parenting situation out there.

There are online forums like Mommie Talk, Twins List, Dads Online and many, many others for you to find kindred spirits with whom you can commiserate and connect.

The online blogging site LiveJournal has such a myriad of communities (including first-time fathers, mothers over 30, pregnant women, women who breast feed, bottle feed or waffle in between) that it's certain you will find the right one for you.

So you've read others' anecdotes, shared and bonded, but maybe you have your own parenthood stories to tell. Heck, you can always start your own parenthood blog! Not convinced? Check out some of the tried and true favorites out there: Finslippy, Fussy, Dooce.

And while many men blog and happen to be fathers, there are also men who blog about being fathers. Sites like Defective Yeti, Laid-Off Dad and Woodge show that moms aren't the only ones who can wax poetic about their new additions; fathers also have plenty of sage advice and rants.

While all of these sites aren't necessarily "Parenthood" blogs, they do share that commonality that you're just beginning to realize as other parents smile at you on the street, thinking, "Oh yeah, I know what that's like."

So you aren't really a blogging/community type of gal or guy? Well you can use your quiet time with baby to plan future family outings. If the baby wants to see the world's largest frying pan or ball of twine, (Go ahead and say it's "the baby" who wants to see those things, I won't tell), mosey on over to Road Side America to get your itinerary going. If you're looking for more traditional road trips, PBS Kids has a wonderful map of destinations to visit.

Even when you are "unavailable" you can still connect with other parents, share ideas and get some things done.

After posting my call for help, several moms empathized, a few laughed and even I couldn't help laughing at myself. Sure I could get out of bed anytime, leaving the warden to comfort himself, but parenthood makes even the smallest sacrifices meaningful. So to hell with the crick in my neck and my leg that's asleep, I can get by with a little help from my online friends.

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About the Author(s)

Alejandra Valera is a new mom and writer. If there's a baby- or kid-friendly place, product or event you think she should cover, email her at .

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