The Perfect Baby Handbook by Dale Hrabi. An exclusive excerpt from the satirical parenting guide on

Excerpt: Perfect Baby Handbook

How many vowels should your baby’s name have? And other burning questions. by Dale Hrabi

April 13, 2009

Satirist Dale Hrabi provided Babble with this fun, exclusive excerpt from his new illustrated, absurdist how-to, The Perfect Baby Handbook: A Guide for Excessively Motivated Parents – and with an equally witty interview you can read here. Hrabi says in the Q&A that he’s trying to get across in a funny way the notion that “you may be doing your kids a disservice if you buy into the idea of perfection” – a worthy message if we’ve ever heard one. – The Babble Editors

Rambling Poses

Interpreting Baby’s Body Language

class=”iframe”> 1. The Time-Out Pose

Averts eyes, twists away, folds in limbs.

Baby is saying: “I’m overstimulated and need some quiet time alone. I’m thinking mid-weekish. Oh, it doesn’t matter . . . either Spain or Mexico. But not that little villa in Majorca. You know, with the mildew?”

2. The “Hold Me” Pose

Looks up at you, lifts arms

Baby is saying: “Hey, what’s going on? You look bored and unfulfilled. Would it help if you could cuddle me and walk around the room murmuring soothing things? Because if that’s where you’re at, it’s completely doable. I have four minutes free . . .”

3. The Alert Readiness Pose

Clasps hands cutely, leans toward you, smiles.

Baby is saying: “Boy, am I glad you’re back! You’ll never believe what’s been going on here! Did you know Nanny is totally Wiccan? The minute you left, all her friends came over to dance naked around the fireplace and keen like wolves, and then we sacrificed Daddy’s clownfish to the moon goddess and . . . Hi!”

4. The C Pose

As part of a sequence involving the Y, M, and A Poses, Baby forms the letter “C” with arms.

Baby is saying: “Daddy, what is this song? It’s so . . . anthemic. You seem to think it’s just a feel-good ditty, but it’s obviously laden with alternative-lifestyle innuendoes. What’s up with that?”

5. The Evaluation Pose

Steeples fingers, purses lips, gazes at you intently.

Baby is saying: “Are we absolutely sure you’re my biological parents? Anyway, moving on . . . Wow, I’m hungry.”

Excerpt: Perfect Baby Handbook

How many vowels should your baby’s name have? And other burning questions. by Dale Hrabi

April 13, 2009

Six Degrees of Stimulation

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Cutting-Edge Educational Toy

class=”iframe”>class=”img class=”iframe””> 1. Does the plaything resemble an overweight monkey?

Toys based on obese animals have large, easily identifiable faces – a key factor in engaging Baby’s attention and her pity.

2. Does it combine garish colors and unsettling patterns?

Baby reacts most strongly to toys that seem to have been designed by insane Japanese schoolgirls who’ve had too much caffeine.

3. Is the toy a feast of provocative textures?

Does it invite tactile exploration by combining the tickle of feathers, the pointiness of pinecones, and the bumpiness of a skin condition?

4. Can Baby interact with it?

Does it feature peekaboo eye flaps? Buttons that make it squeak or explode? Can your child use it to grate cheese or dial the Netherlands?

5. Does it perform a light show that recalls a 1992 Def Leppard concert?

Your miracle can’t help but respond to playthings that shoot piercing beams of light into her eyes.

6. Is it festooned with mirrors?

Mirrors help Baby form facial expressions that convincingly suggest she loves the toy. She doesn’t want to hurt your feelings, after all.

Excerpt: Perfect Baby Handbook

How many vowels should your baby’s name have? And other burning questions. by Dale Hrabi

April 13, 2009

The Name of the Game

Baby Nomenclature Made Easy

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It’s often said the wrong baby name choice will doom an infant to a life of misery, social failure, and garages with just one door. That’s only 99% true. One child, named Dusty, went on to achieve a two-car garage with a nice weather vane, while another, christened Weeza, is only intermittently miserable. So don’t stress.

The truth is, naming a child is a wonderful experience with only nineteen crucial factors to consider. Let’s start with the basics.

Are vowels really necessary?

While we all know happy, gifted children called Mrk, Alxndr, and Bth, these kids sound constipated when called upon to identify themselves. By simply adding vowels to such names, you get the more musical variants: Mirk, Aloxeendry, and Boaith.

What about consonants? Suddenly, I’m seeing them in every second baby’s name.

Admittedly, a few trendy consonants, such as B, C, D, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, W, and Z, have become ubiquitous. However, others, such as F, G, H, and V, are eagerly waiting to step in. As a fresher alternative to Mike, consider Vife.

What makes a name perfect?

It should connote adequate soccer skills. And glory.

Is that all?

No. To paraphrase Jane Austen, the name must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages; and besides all this, a certain something in its air and the manner of walking. Barry, for instance.

How many letters should a perfect name contain?

Ideally, nine. Some popular options include Sebastian, Elizabeth, and Chloeeeee.

Wouldn’t it be great if my wife and I combined our first names into one perfect baby moniker?

Yes, absolutely, if your name is C and your wife’s is Atherine. If, however, her name is Ass and yours is Hole, proceed with caution. Very few people can pronounce Holeass correctly.

We’re leaning toward the upbeat, confident Almighty (for a girl) but worry it might sound stuck-up. Any advice?

Soften it with a demure middle name, such as Rose or Being.

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