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ILLUSTRATION: BREAKING IN BABY BY DAVE BERRY:

• There is a parallel between physical growth and the spiritual growth of a Christian.


We have a son who began as a baby and has successfully reached the age of three without becoming an axe murderer, as far as we know. Thus we are eminently qualified to tell you how to bring up your baby. Here’s my advice.


Taking Your New Baby Home. There’s nothing quite like the moment a young couple leaves the hospital, walking with that characteristic new-parent walk that indicates an obsessive fear of dropping the baby on its head. Finally, it’s just the three of you on your own!


The Basic Baby Mood Cycle. All babies settle into this once they get over being born. Mood Number 1 – Just About To Cry, Mood Number 2, Crying, Mood Number 3; Just Finished Crying. Your job is to keep your baby in Mood 3 as much as possible. Here is the traditional way to do this. When the baby starts to cry, you and your spouse just pass it back and forth repeatedly and recite these words in unison, “Do you suppose he’s hungry?” “He can’t be hungry, he just ate.” “Maybe he needs to be burped.” “No, that’s not it.” “Maybe his diaper needs to be changed.” “No, it’s dry.” “Do you think maybe he’s hungry?” And so on, and so on, until the baby can’t stand it anymore and decides to go to sleep.


Baby’s First Solid Food. We’re using the term “food” loosely here. What we’re talking about are those little jars on store shelves with the smiling baby on the label and names like Prunes With Mixed Vegetables. Babies hate this stuff! Who wouldn’t? The way babies eat food is by absorbing it directly into their bloodstream through their faces. So, the most efficient way to feed a baby is to smear the food on its chin. Unfortunately, many inexperienced parents insist on putting the food into the baby’s mouth. They put in spoonful after spoonful of say, beets, sincerely believing they are doing something constructive when, in fact, the beets are merely going around the baby-food-return loop, which all humans are equipped with until the age of 18 months. After the parents finish feeding the baby, they remove the bib and clean up the area. That’s when baby starts to spew beets from his mouth, like a little beet volcano until his face is covered with beets which he can then absorb.