There is a crowning moment, both happy and terrifying, in the life of an adult, and that is when a baby is placed in your hands and the nurse pronounces the key words of the Great voodoo witchery (GVW): “It’s yours.” It is a spell that instantly turns you into an adult. I’ve seen parents stand petrified on the same tile in the operating room with that little being in their hands for at least six or seven hours, having to be evicted later by the fire department, without the child, but still with their hands in the shape of a cradle, their eyes wide open, and smoke fuming from their ears.
In this day and age, we are first obliged to define very clearly what a baby is: it is a small human being who would never give his vote to the Democrats if he knew the plans they have hatched to try to ruin his life: from abortion to tax increases. In the beginning, this is something that may generate sympathy for the child, but it is likely to pass as soon as the night falls and it starts crying every half hour, making it thoroughly incomprehensible to you how the hell you were able to stay up all night in a nightclub just two weeks prior.
Yes, my friend, children cry. And thank goodness for that. If you are a new victim of GVW and have a baby who never cries, you should first make sure you haven’t put the child in the toy drawer and what you are cradling in your arms is not a stuffed animal, and then take it to the nearest hospital.
The truth is that a child’s crying is not like that of an adult. When a child cries, he or she is not necessarily in a deep depression. Babies do not know how to talk, so they cannot give you a lecture along the lines of “I am a little displeased with your policy of bottle feeding, because for the last two hours in my crib all I can hear is the roaring of my stomach, while you sleep like a damned Arab sheikh in your huge marriage crib, or whatever you call it, where you snore and I face very serious problems of neonatalism all alone.” Since they are unable to verbalize it, they just turn red, cry loudly and, if the early morning is close, kick up a general fuss.
A child needs to eat about two million times a day, because its stomach is connected to the black hole in the central elliptical galaxy of the Phoenix Cluster. So everything they ingest disappears inside them, except cough syrups, which disappear onto your new shirt. At a certain moment of nighttime desperation after the first few days after GVW, it may seem smart to leave a giant bottle in the crib, and a paper note with a chart telling the baby what time to drink it and how many milliliters at each feeding. But if you do this, you will find that the baby cries even more, and it is because, in addition to not having drunk from the bottle, it has eaten your note.
There is no way to protect your clothing when interacting with a baby. Kids like stains. If you’re feeding them right after you get home from work, still in your suit, and you decide to literally seal yourself off with aprons and wrapping paper to prevent them from staining you, you’ll discover their supernatural ability to blow mashed-up splatter onto the one square millimeter of your suit that’s left unprotected. In my opinion, if they were capable of handling weapons, there would be a real revolution in the booming industry of selective bombing (all jargon, ethical considerations and child protection laws aside).
Otherwise, babies share the same sense of humor our teenagers have, even if they are unable to express it. If you want proof, just stand very seriously in front of its stroller, point your finger, and say: “And now you will go to your room and make your bed, because I’m your father.” Remember the fit of laughter, because it will stick for years, until dating starts and finally marriage arrives, and he then receives the same speech, but with the key words “your wife” instead of “your father”: “And now you will go to your room and make your bed, because I tell you to and I am your wife”; in that case, the twenty-something-year-old baby with hair on his chest will get up very seriously, with trembling legs, and he will make his bed immediately.
Almost all the attitudes of babies that seem irresponsible to us are a consequence of the fact that we have grown up and no longer know how to have fun. Banging porcelain figurines is the world’s best stress release, chewing on loose wires in electrical outlets is like buying tickets to the most amazing fireworks display, and trying to throw yourself down the stairs is not unlike what you want to do when, after an accidental trip over the bedside table in the middle of the night, the baby you just got to sleep after three hours of wrestling, lullabies, and shaking mumbles with renewed energy: “Daddy?”
I don’t think any of my advice will help you be a better parent, but as you’ve probably already noticed, I play on the baby’s team.