The New York Times likes The Perfect Baby Handbook! Yay!
Saturday, May 2nd, 2009
It’s a red-letter day here at Perfect Baby Handbook Worldwide Headquarters on Montague Street. Quite unexpectedly, Liesl Schillinger of The New York Times has given the book a marvelous, glowing review.
BEFORE the magical process can begin by which a child (boy or girl) is converted to a hero, that child must first complete the journey from baby to child. If you, as a parent, make even one infinitesimal misstep, your baby may be marked forever for failure or, worse, insignificance.
That, at least, is the deadpan premise of the wickedly funny parenting manual “The Perfect Baby Handbook,” by the New York writer and editor Dale Hrabi. The book lampoons the herd mentality of insecure adults, lays out dos and don’ts, how-tos and cautionary tales, accompanied by richly detailed charts, graphs and illustrations.
Are you looking for a socially advantageous name for your offspring? Mr. Hrabi provides a helpful matrix, with “winner” names like Overlord, Tallyho and Conquistadora; and the “loser” names Testosteronald, Gazpacho and Sub-Marie.
Are you anxious about your child’s cognitive development? Here’s a test: at age 3 months, the average baby “grabs parents’ clothing.” The perfect baby “removes parents’ contact lenses.” At 5 months, the average baby “communicates loneliness through crying.” The perfect baby “joins Facebook.”
If your infant leans toward the underachieving side of the scale, take action and buy the most expensive baby products you can find. Mr. Hrabi recommends the Balinese baby-binding cloth, particularly the “Expert Included” model, which encircles the caretaker’s body, holding the infant against the chest and snugly securing Dr. William Sears, the child-care expert, to the waist and legs, allowing constant access to advice.
Truly concerned parents will want to do more, so Mr. Hrabi offers bonus tips — from “co-unicycling” (it helps baby “reap the full benefits of togetherness”) to hiring a “personal baby trainer” (to avert “the twin specters of underachievement and plus-sized clothing”) to hunting down one of “seven crucial crib mobiles” like the “Attainable Goals Mobile” (an Oscar, an Emmy and a Grammy float from a pastel arm, tantalizingly within baby’s reach).
Before you rule out these extreme measures, answer these questions: Do you or don’t you want your baby to grow up to be a hero? And what would your perfect baby want?