There is a picture going around the internet of me holding my friend Stephanie’s baby during a recent lunch.
This photograph, which is evidence of something that probably really occurred, should not be taken as a license for people to start handing me babies willy-nilly. The incident in question was triggered by exigent circumstances where mommy had to go get more napkins, and should not be considered an endorsement of the holding of babies in general.
Science has shown that, regardless of their cuteness, babies are notoriously squirmy, drooly, and fragile. In addition, babies have only one diagnostic message (“wah”) which they report in any situation, from “mysterious childhood ailment” to “It’s 2:47 AM. Do you know where I am?” to “mommy went to get more napkins”. Science does not understand why they do this.
It is my position that babies should only be handled by professional baby wranglers, or parents who have received extensive baby-management training, such as Lamaze. (From the French ‘lamaze’, which possibly means “I don’t know, have you tried changing him?”)
Also, make sure you have plenty of napkins.
(Note: The characters Squirmy, Drooly, and Fragile did not score well with test audiences for Walt Disney’s reboot of Snow White and the Ten Dwarves. Their scenes are being reshot. The Squirmy Drooly Fragile ride at Disneyworld has been delayed until 2019.)
Epilogue: There are rumors that a picture exists from three years ago of me holding Stephanie’s other child (code-named ‘Hrothgar’). This probably also happened, but I have written it off as a youthful indiscretion.
I think my sister also has a photo of me holding my nephew as a baby, using the traditional “running-back” technique (below)**. I am pleased to say that I did not fumble him, although I did suffer muscle cramps from trying not to move my arm, out of fear I would break him. (Disclaimer: This is not me. Picture courtesy of “Google man holding baby”.)
** Not to be confused with the “immaculate reception” technique (below) popular in Pittsburgh during the 1970’s. This style of baby holding was discontinued after extensive controversy as to whether the baby touched the ground.