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Babies

  • 'Under new management' may mean a baby has just been born.

  • Infants, I note with envy, are receptive to enjoyment in a degree not attained by adults this side of the new Jerusalem.

  • Now the thing about having a baby — and I can't be the first person to have noticed this — is that thereafter you have it ...

  • She knows as much about babies as a wild cat knows about tatting.

    • Margaret Deland,
    • "An Old Chester Secret," New Friends in Old Chester ()
  • We went all out with new things for our first child and the second one had nothing but hand-me-downs. The bronzed baby shoes almost killed him.

  • I was the world's ugliest baby. When I was born, the doctor slapped everybody.

  • The only language men ever speak perfectly is the one they learn in babyhood, when no one can teach them anything!

  • So, a baby had been born to them at last. Not circumstantially of their bodies, but desirously of their hearts. They had both borne this child, as Tom had facetiously said; they had looked for it and waited, looking and looking until at last they found their own.

  • Babies are an acquired taste.

  • ... I verily believe that I never took infant in my arms that did not the moment it was there by its cries beg to be removed.

  • ... don't forget that compared to a grownup person every baby is a genius. Think of the capacity to learn! The freshness, the temperament, the will of a baby a few months old!

  • A baby is a full-time job for three adults. Nobody tells you that when you're pregnant or you'd probably jump off a bridge.

  • If you want a baby, have a new one. Don't baby the old one.

  • 'Here's Pete, Junior, your son and heir,' Doc had said, and held up something that looked like a slippery fish in a wig.

  • After tea Bridget appeared and romped on my lap like a short stout salmon. It is not a person one feels moving when one holds a baby: it is life, compact, darting, incalculable.

  • [He] resumed contemplation of his toes. These, to his never-failing and delighted surprise, continued to be ten in number, no matter how suddenly and without warning he descended upon them; his startled cataloguing of the suspicious members constituted at present his chief employment, and the subsequent deep breath of relief on finding that all was well and not one of them had escaped his vigilance was one of the joys of his parents.

  • ... at present he wanted but little here below and wanted that little on the floor. He was not aspiring, and clearly reasoned that the baby that was down need fear no fall, for he ... lay placidly for hours on his striped afghan, regarding such objects as naturally fell within his range of vision.

  • ... in came ... a baby, eloquent as infancy usually is, and like most youthful orators, more easily heard than understood.

  • There is no other closeness in human life like the closeness between a mother and her baby — chronologically, physically, and spiritually they are just a few heartbeats away from being the same person.

  • The birth of a child is in many ways the end of a marriage — marriage including a child has to be reinvented, and reinvented at a time when both husband and wife are under unprecedented stress and the wife is exhausted, physically drained, and emotionally in shock. A man's conflict between wanting his child to have a mother and wanting to have the mother to himself is potentially intolerable.

  • Then there come the children. ... perfect strangers, often hostile, whose habits even to the most adoring gaze are often messy and unattractive. They lie flat on their noses at first in what appears to be a drunken slumber, then flat on their backs kicking and screaming, demanding impossibilities in a foreign language.

  • In point of fact, we are all born rude. No infant has ever appeared yet with the grace to understand how inconsiderate it is to disturb others in the middle of the night.

  • Like a round loaf, that's how small you were. / I rolled you on the board with my palm, / I kneaded you, patted you, / greased you smooth, floured you, / I shaped your roly body.

    • Judit Tóth,
    • "To the Newborn," in Joanna Bankier and Deirdre Lashgari, eds., Women Poets of the World ()
  • The crimson rose / plucked yesterday, / the fire and cinnamon / of the carnation, // the bread I baked / with anise seed and honey, / and the goldfish / flaming in its bowl. // All these are yours, baby born of woman, / if you'll only go to sleep.

  • And then of course the babies came, and took us by surprise, as babies do. First, how much you love them, second, how much work they are, third, how difficult it is to leave them. We would rather sit and sing to them than get on with running a business.

  • Sister was a little creature / Who never made a peep, / Until she was tucked in bed / And mom was fast asleep.

  • I like handling newborn animals. Fallen into life from an unmappable world, they are the ultimate immigrants, full of wonder and confusion.

  • When I was born, I was so surprised I couldn't talk for a year and a half.

  • Babies change things, open doors you thought were shut, close others. Make you into something you never been.

  • I just can't get over how much babies cry. I really had no idea what I was getting into. To tell you the truth, I thought it would be more like getting a cat.

  • Having a baby is like suddenly getting the world's worst roommate, like having Janis Joplin with a bad hangover and PMS come to stay with you.

  • It is characteristic of the emotions of the very young infant that they are of an extreme and powerful nature.

    • Melanie Klein,
    • "Some Theoretical Conclusions Regarding the Emotional Life of the Infant" (1952), Envy and Gratitude & Other Works 1946-1963 ()
  • Every time a child, any child, is born, it is new — and different; that is the wonder.

  • The I.Q. of the parent is in inverse ratio to the square of the children's ages.

  • ... all good qualities in a child are the result of environment, while all the bad ones are the result of poor heredity on the side of the other parent.

  • Keeping a baby requires a good deal of time, effort, thought and equipment, so unless you are prepared for this, we recommend that you start with a hamster, whose wants are far simpler.

  • Picking the right name for the baby is beset with difficulties. ... whatever name you choose, the baby, some years hence, will hate it anyway, and decide to have his friends call him Slats or Rocky ...

  • It sometimes happens, even in the best families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money.

  • In a baby's first months, the earliest patterns of intimacy or distrust are forever grooved into his soul.

  • He is a dear little thing, but he is a lusty yeller for baby's rights.

  • Those who 'cursed the day they were born' must have been infant prodigies.

    • Ethel Watts Mumford,
    • in Oliver Herford, Ethel Watts Mumford, and Addison Mizner, The Complete Cynic ()
  • I suppose the difference between baby people and me is that I do not consider smiling while farting 'holding up your end of a conversation.'

  • The joys of motherhood are not excessively apparent during the first few weeks of a baby's life.

  • ... if the world is not safe for babies you are never going to get a democracy worth having.

  • Babies have no plot.

  • Home alone with a wakeful newborn, I could shower so quickly that the mirror didn't fog and the backs of my knees stayed dry. The one-minute hair conditioner was too slow for me.

  • When a mother comes home with her new baby, she will find her abstractions are all concrete now. 'Freedom' now means being able to take a shower. 'Mobility' means being able to reach the glass of water on the dresser while not breaking the baby's suction on the breast. 'Flexibility' means being able to push the Record function on the VCR without dropping the baby.

  • For plain and fancy worrying, give me a new mother every time.

    • Shirley Jackson,
    • "The Possibility of Evil," in Saturday Evening Post ()
  • Little wild baby, that knowest not where thou art going, / Lie still! lie still! Thy mother will do the rowing. / The river flows swiftly, the sea is dark and deep; / Little wild baby, lie still! Lie still and sleep.

  • ... when you were born I held you wet and unfolding, like a butterfly newly born from the chrysalis of my body.

    • Joy Harjo,
    • "Rainy Dawn," In Mad Love and War ()
  • People who make babies surrender their right to behave like them.

  • I took little interest in fleshly infants; it being my private opinion that their attractions did not justify the fuss that was made about them. I had, for instance, early discovered that, if you gave a baby a finger to hold, it held it. This was perhaps interesting, but it wanted greatly in the dear element of surprise.

  • No animal is so inexhaustible as an excited infant.

  • Babies are necessary to grown-ups. A new baby is like the beginning of all things — wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities.

  • ... mothering a small baby is the most tiring job in the universe.

  • An ugly baby is a very nasty object — and the prettiest is frightful when undressed.

    • Queen Victoria,
    • 1859, in Hannah Pakula, An Uncommon Woman: The Empress Frederick ()
  • A baby is a very heavy thing, any mother will tell you.

  • When they placed Morgan, my first child, in my arms, pink and perfect, I thought that only professional ethics (not wanting to make the other new parents feel bad) kept the doctors from commenting on her unearthly beauty.

  • I remember leaving the hospital ... thinking, 'Wait, are they going to let me walk off with him? I don't know beans about babies! I don't have a license to do this.'

  • Those helpless bundles of power and promise that come into our world show us our true selves — who we are, who we are not, who we wish we could be.

  • There are no illegitimate babies.

    • Merrit Malloy,
    • in Merrit Malloy and Shauna Sorensen, The Quotable Quote Book ()
  • From the first day she nursed as if she knew I would not offer enough. She nursed hastily, brutally, as if she suspected my body was a continent that any moment famine would overtake, where streams evaporated, locusts chittered, buzzards' shadows tarred barren hills.

  • It didn't take elaborate experiments to deduce that an infant would die from want of food. But it took centuries to figure out that infants can and do perish from want of love.

  • A man finds out what is meant by a spitting image when he tries to feed cereal to his infant.

    • Imogene Fey,
    • in Jilly Cooper and Tom Hartman, eds., Violets and Vinegar ()
  • [On her seven-month-old son:] When people see me carrying him in the street they think I'm being attacked by a short, bald man. But it's just me with my little fat child.

  • For years we have given scientific attention to the care and rearing of plants and animals, but we have allowed babies to be raised chiefly by tradition.

  • Out of the mouths of babes — usually when you've got your best suit on.

    • Mrs. G. Baxter,
    • in Leonard Louis Levinson, ed., Bartlett's Unfamiliar Quotations ()
  • Two new beings are brought forth during childbirth: a newborn and a mother.

  • A baby was a promise made by life ...

  • Not alone is the child born through the mother, but the mother also is born through the child.

  • There's still another problem which puzzles a lot of people — whether or not a baby will come within the budget. Our sentimental advice is to have one anyway, if you want one and have been through the marriage ceremony. The people who wait till they can afford a baby seldom have one at all except by surprise.

  • I think your first-born is always the biggest shock to your system — even though you have nine months to prepare for it. I know I spent the whole first week waiting for the parents to come home and pay me!

  • We learn from experience. A man never wakes up his second baby just to see it smile.

  • Sometimes we think a ménage à trois would be easier than an old marriage and a new baby.

    • Marguerite Kelly,
    • in Marguerite Kelly and Elia Parsons, The Mother's Almanac ()
  • Sweeping and scrubbing can / wait 'til tomorrow, / Babies grow up, we've / learned to our sorrow. / So quiet down cobwebs, / dust go to sleep, / I'm rocking my baby, / And babies don't keep!

  • Don't talk 'baby-talk,' even to babies. Murder is almost justified in the case of the 'baby-talker.'

  • Baby: an alimentary canal with a loud voice at one end and no responsibility at the other.

  • Few things can create more harmony and more disturbance in a family than a new baby. All of the various relationships in the family are shifted as the family makes space for a new person and everything that that new person will need and contribute. Children become parents, parents become grandparents, first children become siblings. Everybody's sense of themselves is affirmed and threatened at the same time.

  • [Birth announcement for daughter Billie Lourd:] Someone’s summered in my stomach. / Someone’s fallen through my legs. / To make an infant omelette, / simply scramble sperm and eggs.

  • I don’t want to have a baby but sometimes I want to be a baby because it’s socially acceptable for them to cry and scream in public.

  • Look at how long we took deciding whom we’d marry, but this baby’s waltzing in out of nowhere, not so much as a background check or a personality quiz. What if it turns out we don’t have any shared interests?