Gentlemen...you need to go to baby-holding school. You know how you get when you’re around newborns. When the parents come by with their little bundles, you lay your arms by your sides and say, "Let someone else hold it ... first." Yes, you actually say "it." And what’s this "first" business? You know you have no intention of being number two or number 20. You don’t ever plan to hold that baby. Women hold tiny babies all the time, but we men act like those little creatures are sticks of dynamite wrapped in radioactive poison ivy. Well, they aren’t, and we shouldn’t be afraid to hold them. So before someone forces your arms open and shoves a baby in your lap, I’ll tell you how to do it the right way. And the first thing I’ll have to do is show you what you’re doing wrong.
First, you’ve been watching too many of those fishing shows on TV. Whenever they catch a fish, how do they hold it up for the camera? They hold it like it’s a...fish...and it’s going to jump back in the water or bite them. Yeah...that’s not how you hold a baby. Most babies couldn’t wiggle out of your hands if you paid them. So just make a little nest with your arms and let the baby lie there. But don’t squeeze. Babies aren’t tough like your rainbow trout or your big mouth bass. You have to be gentle when you hold little people up to the camera for a picture.
And you’ve also been watching too many football games. A baby is not a football, even though they are about the same size. You don’t need a whole team to hold a little baby. I know what you’re thinking: "Well, if one of us starts to lose our grip, the others can jump in, just like we’re recovering a fumble in the end zone!" That approach works in the Super Bowl, but it’s not one to use with babies. You don’t fumble babies. You don’t hike them. And you’d better not ever try to pass one! Whatever you do, just be brave and hold that baby. If you’re still afraid of gravity, then go to the hardware store and buy some double-sided tape for the tyke’s diapers. Once you stick a baby on a clean flannel shirt, you’ll never let "it" go!
David McCoy, a notorious storyteller and proud Yellow Jacket, lives in Covington and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.