We practiced with a doll from her childhood, a pleasant little ball of joy who wore a pink dress and had been living in a plastic bag in our basement for the past several months. I pulled her out, dusted her off and started to feel like a parent as we went through the motions.
Here's my wife holding the baby. Nice and gentle, notice the head turned as she gazes at the baby with loving affection. The baby is secure and nuzzled into her gentle arms for a warm afternoon nap.
Everything looks perfectly normal here, other than the fact that she's holding a doll while I take pictures as the neighbors watch.
Now my turn. Give me that baby...
The baby has suffered multiple injuries as I have just pulled my Heisman pose with a reckless disregard for the baby's neck, spine, and limbs. What I didn't know is that when they say hold a baby like a football, they don't mean a football that you are about to spike having scored the game winning touchdown in the third overtime of a bowl game. This is why we practice...
Okay, let's move on to feeding, which I referred to as "milking the baby" when we took these pictures. I will have to brush up on the lingo before I hang out with other stroller pushers.
My wife shows me how it's done, gently holding the bottle as the baby sucks down the imaginary Cabbage juice. Once again, it's as if she has been doing it all her life. But she has, it's her doll!! I notice just a bit of showboating as she poses for the camera.
Take the bottle baby, drink it. It's as if I'm holding a rabid squirrel, look at how I dig my thumb into the poor baby's chest... I don't know what I'm doing wrong..but it may have to do with the way I'm stabbing the baby in the face with the bottle.
I still have four to five months to get it together so please don't go calling child services just yet. I will continue reading and studying while remaining open to advice. With practice and a little luck I will be okay when the time comes for me to hold the real thing, but this eye-opening experience confirms that I have a lot of work to do. The Cabbage patch doll is just fine by the way, and was in no way harmed in this experience.