The Mostly Metal Dad Guide to Baby Clothes

The black band shirt is a classic look, but it’s not for everyone – especially babies. Not for lacking of trying, mind you, it’s just that merch booths seem to lack appropriately sized baby clothes. You still have to go out of your way to outfit your newborn in an Iced Earth “Fuck Posers” tee.

So if band tees are out, what clothes do babies wear, then? Turns out there’s a garment for just about every conceivable scenario (besides looking metal). So here’s the Mostly Metal Dad Guide to Baby Clothes, here to help you through this strange, new territory.

Swaddling Blanket

This is the likely the first garment your baby will wear. I’m hesitant to even call it clothing since you yourself would never go to a concert wearing only a blanket. You’d be wrapped so tightly you wouldn’t be able to throw the horns. But for most babies, getting swaddled is the shit. That snug burrito fold is supposed to make them feel like they’re back in the dark, gurgling closeness of the womb. I mean, whatever gets your goat, baby.

Onesie

Onesies capture the all-purpose, year-round functionality of the metal look, if not the style. Good for all occasions,these one-piece outfits have flaps in the nether regions that snap apart for easy diaper changing. It’s a simple garment, but you can can complement it with socks, gloves, pants, or even a hat. It’s the equivalent of wearing your Immortal shirt and ripped black jeans, then adding the spiked gauntlets and corpse paint for a more complete look.

Sleepsack

There is no metal equivalent for the sleepsack. None. Even on babies, who by default can usually make things pretty cute, sleepsacks look irredeemably dorky. Picture a pope smock, like the kind Papa Emeritus III from Ghost wears with all the inverted crosses, except a sleepsack is more Snuggie than satanic. Some sleepsacks have sleeves like proper pieces of clothing, others are like potato sacks with arm holes. I guess these are good if your baby can’t or doesn’t like to be swaddled, since it keeps their arms free. I dunno, if I were in a sleepsack, I’d want to escape too.

Footed Pajamas

What’s more un-metal than pajamas? Pajamas with footsies attached. I can’t imagine a world where you would buy a pair of jeans and have your combat boots sewn onto the ends of the legs, so why should we impose this our children? On second thought, that would make losing a shoe while throwing down in the pit practically impossible. Maybe the baby clothes people are onto something.

Hooded Towels

Hoods are pretty metal. Especially if they engulf your whole head like you’re some dark wizard. But the times where you get to wear a hood are few and far between. Not so for babies. Every time they finish a bath is an opportunity to don their Cloak of Drying. Granted, hooded towels are usually styled after popular characters like Hello Kitty or Dora the Explorer, or even adorable animals like caterpillars or lions. Personally, I’m holding out for an adult-sized one shaped like Vic Rattlehead. It’s only a matter of time.

Diaper

It gets hot on stage, I understand that, but that’s not an excuse for you to strip down to your Iron Maiden undies and continue rocking like nothing’s changed. You aren’t one of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Only babies can pull off the semi-nude look and not get grimaces tossed their way. A diaper isn’t any more a piece of clothing as a pair of boxers is, but it’s a look that’s distinctly “baby.” Plus, it’s good for that whole skin-to-skin physical bonding thing between parent and child the doctors keep talking about.

Wearing What’s Right

There’s an appropriate situation for every kind of baby clothing. Babies don’t have the be-all end-all solution most metal fashion relies on – no, that kind blissful simplicity will be years in the making, as long as you’re setting her on the right path.

Just be sure to have a good idea of your baby’s size when clothes shopping; clothes sizes can vary just as wildly as concert tees can. The last thing you’d want is to finally track down that elusive Emperor onesie only to find it won’t go further than her neck. Not exactly the kind of metal legacy you want to start with your kid, is it?

Baby Sleep Tricks

Getting my daughter to sleep every night is the hardest thing. She’s tired, I’m tired, Mom’s tired. Everyone’s tired. It’s the point where a band would go on “indefinite hiatus.” That, or stick at it long enough to develop a seething hatred of each other.

So you can see how much I very much won’t let that happen. It’s why I’ve had to adopt a whole slew of baby sleep tricks to make sure my daughter gets her beauty sleep. Some are more metal than others, and a lot of them don’t work all the time. But they’re all designed to help keep the band together.

Tanking Up

Every night is a heavy drinking night. No – not for me! I get droopy-lidded after a single beer. But my daughter, now she can knock ’em back, like Lemmy on a binge-drinking stint. The idea is to get as much tryptophan as she can stomach flowing through her so she’ll conk out as soon as she hits the bassinet. Half an hour of feeding right before bedtime is usually enough to get her head lolling, but the more the better. We might pay for it in early AM poops later, but that’s a risk we’re all too willing to take. Sometimes you getting the night started is the first victory in a long night’s war.

Rock Out

Bouncing slash rocking is supposed to recreate the womb environment, make babies feel secure and safe enough to fall asleep. I like to think the intense g-forces at which I rock my daughter rattles her insides so much she’d rather will herself to sleep than endure it any longer. I can’t help it; I can’t be expected to have a metronome on me at all times.

I’ve read that Bob Marley’s “Buffalo Soldier” is a near-perfect tempo to rock a baby at. But who wants to have that stuck in their head every time baby needs to go down? Not this Mostly Metal Dad. Pantera’s “Walk” suits me just fine, and my daughter seems to appreciate the slightly higher tempo anyway.

Pacify Her

My daughter resisted pacification at first. But as they say, “resistance is futile.” Honestly we just reached a point of desperation where none of the usual baby sleep tricks were working. That’s when you turn to the Forgotten Magicks, those methods you tried early on to no effect that now seem too good to be true. Putting a pacifier in her mouth now gives her a proxy nipple to suck that works so well I wonder if I somehow signed some infernal contract one bleary, sleep-deprived night. There’s not a website where you can check that, is there?

The Sh-ilver Bullet

Babies can be real monsters sometimes. You never know what supernatural immunities they’ll develop to render all your other tricks useless. That’s why you gotta have a secret weapon, and shushing happens to be mine. It’s not a failproof solution, but it has a cumulative effect when stacked with other techniques. I’ll rock her, make the “sh-sh-sh-sh-sh” sound in her ear. It doesn’t always get her to sleep, but it calms her down. Sometimes.

I really wish this technique were more metal. I mean, it’s a far cry from screaming something cool and tough like, “Die! Die! Die!” which would be problematic for a number of reasons. Still, it sounds like a silver-haired school teacher quietly scolding a student, when what I really want to be saying is, “SHUT UP JUST FUCKING CALM DOWN RGHRGHRHRHRH”

Face Stroking

“Stroking” is not a very metal word. Unless you’re talking about stroking the blade of your sword before you do battle or some other power metal fantasy-inspired lyric, I’d rather never hear about stroking ever again. But getting a willful baby to sleep by stroking her face? Okay, I’m willing to don my chainmail.

This technique is seriously black magic. It’s less a physical act than some mind game that convinces my baby she’s tired. Running my fingers from between her eyes and down the bridge of her nose is a more compelling subliminal message than the satanic undertones found in a Judas Priest court case. Sure, it won’t take when she’s on alert or freak-out mode, but like most mental warfare it works best when she’s already weak and tired.

A mock album cover of a shadow figure looming beyond a crib, which stands over a pentagram with a candle at each of its five points.

Give Her the Finger

You can do it the way you know best, of course; that as good as civil disobedience. But my daughter’s pretty alert already; she may realize the message her old man is trying to send to her and end up scorning me with her very first words. How will I explain to the wife if our daughter’s first utterances are a squeaky “fuck you” brought on by months if flipping her the bird? No, I’m talking about something else entirely.

Giving her a finger to suck on as a transition into bedtime worked wonders her first month of life. She eventually graduated to the pacifier, but there are times when I think the ‘ol finger is the last line of defense I have against the horrors of a sleepless night.

My daughter is growing. I guess babies do that? They’re a lot like mold in that way, you just let them do their thing and soon enough they’re sprouting their own personalities. But it means I’m constantly having to alter my how I attempt to get her to sleep.

All these tricks reminds me of adding new drum fills to my player’s toolbox. (Drumming, remember when I used to do that?) It’s an apt comparison, except instead of enhancing a song I’m helping teach a tiny, undeveloped human a basic function of life. Like anything, I guess even sleep has to be practiced first.

What Would Lemmy Do?

It’s the middle of the night. Your kid’s been crying her ass off for hours, and you haven’t slept a wink since 5 AM the previous morning. WHAT CAN YOU DO?

You need a true professional to take the wheel. You need to ask yourself: What would Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead do if he were in your shoes? It’s time to strap on your cowboys boots and find out!

Born to Raise Hell

Lemmy’s been on the scene a while now, so it’s safe to assume he probably knows a thing or two about babysitting. No doubt he’d know how some babies get sleepy when driven around the block, so he’d bust through the walls of the bedroom in a big white limousine. Your kid would be startled at first, but then she’d notice the friendly mutton chops, genial grin, and trademark Rickenbacker bass.

After buckling your kid up in a chromium steel car seat, Lemmy would start cruising around the block with one hand on the steering wheel, the other on a bottle of Jack. The constant motion as he careens around the block, combined with the screech of the wheels – not to mention “Ace of Spades” blaring from the speakers – would begin to lull your kid into a deep sleep. That is, until Lemmy pulls over to the local strip bar.

Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead behind a steering wheel, smoking a cigarette and smiling, with a sleeping baby in the backseat buckled into a car seat with pistons attached to it.

Whorehouse Blues

While Lemmy’s getting a lapdance or two, your kid has probably woken up again, and she’s feeling kind of peckish. Although there are plenty of ladies around who could help out, Lemmy’s not one to be outdone. No doubt he had the foresight to bring plenty of milk bottles from your home (or formula, if you’re into that), and now it’s time to start tanking the kid up.

Lemmy knows there’s tryptophan in milk, which will get your kid dreary enough for a nice long nap. There’s no better drinking partner than Lemmy. He really knows how to toss ‘em back, and it’s this skill that he’ll apply to getting your kid nice and sloshed. Shots of Jack Daniels and bottles of milk will flow, and when they’re both good and tanked, it’ll be time for the final phase.

Nightmare, The Dreamtime

After all that, your kid will finally be ready to go down for a nap. Who are we kidding, Lemmy will as well (he’s going to be 70 in December). So Lemmy will break out the ‘ol Rickenbacker and warm up the vocal cords to serenade your kid to sleep. Your kid will start drifting off to the melancholy of “1916,” lulled by the soothing synths and snare marches. Sure, the lyrics are pretty grim, depicting the horrors of war for a child soldier, but she can’t understand them. What’s important is that finally, finally, she’s asleep.

But then Lemmy will probably get bored of all that slow-tempo bollocks. Motörhead hasn’t been in the business for this long by playing ballads. Your kid might start to protest in the change in decibels, but Lemmy will play “I’m So Bad (Baby I Don’t Care)” to show your kid who’s boss. If she starts crying, “Deaf Forever” will let her know what he thinks of that. And of course he’ll play “Ace of Spades” again because, well, just because.

Jesus. When it comes to getting kids to sleep, Lemmy seems like a psychopath. Maybe he’s better off just being a killer frontman, he’s still got a couple good decades in him. Whatever you’re doing to put your kid to sleep has got to be better than this. Take heart that, compared to Lemmy of Motörhead, you’re probably doing just fine. Just hang in there, and all the guts and glory will be yours.