Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Message in a Baby Bottle

Breaking news! The famous gynecologist, Gerhard Von Schniggle, has just made an amazing discovery: It seems the kicking of babies, in the womb, is actually a kind of communicative code that reveals that fetuses actually have an ability for complex, pre-linguistic communication that is lost at birth. He theorizes that the replacement of amniotic fluid with oxygen alters the brain chemistry immediately upon first breath, consequently causing babies to have to re-acquire the ability to "speak" over a period of years.

He has released a transcript of "kick-speak," as he calls it. The results are fascinating. Here is a message from the baby of Mr. and Mrs. Ted Cadwallader of Mont Alto, Pennsylvania, as transcribed by Dr. Von Schniggle, October 4th, 2010 :

Mom and dad -- it's me, your son. I know you are thinking of naming me Leo, but I would really prefer Gary -- but that is not the point. I need to fill you in on some stuff before it is too late. Some if/thens, really, that I know to be true about our relationship to come over the years. I know these things now, though I'm not sure why -- I'm getting messages wired in from somewhere. Sorry about the bladder-kicks, mom, but this needs to get through to you before I lose it.

First, you need to be patient with me. I know you know that, but what you don't know is that I will drive you to episodes of confusion and anger the likes of which you have never known. I will behave in completely irrational ways that will drive you to the limits of your endurance by keeping you awake to all hours of the night. You can't blame me, and you have to stay at the top of your game no matter how tired you are. I need you. Try to remember that.

Second, I really am sorry about the smells I will produce. I have no good excuse.

Third, you need to stick to your guns while you are raising me, no matter how hard I cry and whine. This is a test. I will test you. If you take my cookie away because you have warned me several times that this would be the consequence if I punched the dog in the nose again, I will cry to see if you love me enough to stand up to it. I will do this into my teenage years, except crying will turn into yelling. I will never really believe you love me if you let me get away with things for complaining.

Fourthly, stock up on Cheerios. They will be an excellent tool for behavior management, but you will find them around the house until you reach retirement age. I want to be up front with all of this.

Fifth, when I start talking to you, listen to me. No . . . stop nodding. Seriously: listen to me. Don't go all vacuous and wide-eyed and talk like a bad kindergarten teacher. Don't patronize me. Talk to me and listen to me. If you don't take me seriously, I won't take you seriously when I am a teenager. Fair's fair. Don't blame me for our communication problems if I have had to spend ten years being talked to like the village idiot.

Sixth, you will miss the diapers, so don't wish the time away. Dad -- I kid you not, my friend -- you will enjoy changing me if you give it a shot. You will find there is no feeling like watching your little guy walk away clean and comfortable, new diaper crackling around the room under a "onesy". So don't be a wuss. (Oh, and never refer to time spent with me as "babysitting". That will piss mom off.)

Seventh -- play with me. Don't worry about not knowing how. I'll show you how. If you play with me, I will be made as happy as I possibly can be made. I will be convinced you care about me and I will learn from you. And remember, when I get interested in things like video games and I talk about them in non-stop rolls that break Guinness records for time-span, remember to still listen. Each of my progressive interests will be the most important thing in my life at the time. Don't give me the feeling that those interests are stupid or that they are less important than the laundry.

Eighth, I'm clay in your hands. Take responsibility for the way I turn out. You can't be perfect, but you need to try to be. You need to make me ready for the challenges I will face. If I "fall in with the wrong crowd" it will be mostly your fault for not preparing me to make better decisions. If I do drugs some day, your fault, too. I hate to lay that on you, but that's the deal. Think ahead and address these things with me. Prepare me. I can't do this stuff without you. But if you screw up, remember that everyone does. As long as you follow the above rules, we will always be close and we can get through any mistakes we make.

Ninth, remember that I don't want stuff nearly as much as I want time with you. Please don't take a job, no matter how much it pays, if it takes you away from me. An hour a day is simply not enough with you. I don't care about having to take out loans for college. I want hugs. Eventually, I'll want to have catches on the front lawn. I want story time. Starting on my birthday, I want naps on your warm chest. I can't feel your heartbeat if you are on business in Chicago, even through the wonders of video conferencing.

Maybe most importantly: stop in my room to watch me sleeping each night before bed. I know you will be really tired, but stop in for a minute and watch me sleep. You'll know why when you do it.

Oh, and while these things are coming to me -- I will be able to shoot vomit across a twenty foot room, despite my exceedingly diminutive stature. You should know that.

Alright, I'm pooped. Peace out.

Amazing! All of this from some kicks and punches. When interviewed, Mr. Cadwallader said only: "I am not changing diapers."


Mrs. Cadwallader could not be reached for comment, as she had to pee really badly.


  1. Fantastic Mr. Matt. That was like a mini recap of all the life lessons you taught me while in your classes. Not to get all gushy on you, but I can honestly say I've become a better person and will be a better parent because of things like this. So, like, thanks and, stuff.

  2. Thanks, Kara -- that means a lot, really.(sniff, sniff) Especially your eloquent last sentence. (You didn't expect me to STAY nice, did you?)