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SOB RULE

What to Do When Your Baby Won't Stop Crying

Excerpted from the troubleshooting section of Dr. Dad's Baby Owner's Manual ($24.95; Salami Press).

1. Pick up the baby. Maybe he/she just wants to be held.
2. Put down the baby. Maybe he/she just wants to sleep.
3. Okay. Never mind. Pick up the baby.
4. Rock the baby.
5. Burp the baby.
6. Change the baby.
7. Check for diaper rash.
8. Feed the baby.
9. Feed the baby something else.

10. Feed the baby something you've never fed him/her before but that all kids like, such as potato chips, a Three Musketeers bar or a tall, frosty root beer float.

11. Sing "Rockaby Baby."
12. Sing "Three Little Fishies."
13. Sing "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall."
14. Sing "I Will Survive."
15. Sing "They're Coming to Take Me Away, Ha, Ha."
16. Take baby for a stroller ride around the block.
17. Take baby for a drive around town.

18. Take baby for a plane trip to Disney World and buy him/her several large, expensive stuffed animals.

19. Play peekaboo, I see you.
20. Play boogah, boogah, boogah.
21. Play hide and seek, and hide in a really good place where you can take a minute to pull yourself together.

22. Return and demonstrate that no matter how loud your baby screams, you can scream twice as loud.

23. Return to your hiding place. Obviously, you forgot to pull yourself together.

24. Perhaps the baby is suffering oral discomfort. Give him/her a teething ring.

25. Give the baby Tylenol.
26. Give the baby a Novocain and morphine "Slumberball."
27. Babies are often soothed by background noise. Turn on the television. Then turn on the radio. Then turn on the record player. Now that you've successfully drowned out the child's caterwauling, return to your hiding place and pull yourself together.

28. Try reasoning with your baby. Say, "Oh, honey, I have so many things to get done. Won't you please be quiet and go to sleep?"

29. Try freaking out: "I SWEAR, IF MD120 Col 1, Depth P54.05 I9.07 YOU DON'T STOP BAWLING RIGHT NOW, YOU CAN JUST PLAN ON MAKING YOUR OWN DAMNED HALLOWEEN COSTUME!!!"

30. Return to your hiding place and pull yourself together.
31. Offer your baby money. Five bucks if he/she stops screaming within the week, ten buck if he/she stops today.

32. Call your baby's doctor. When told there is nothing to worry about, convince yourself the kid has contracted some horrible, previously undiscovered disease.

33. Work yourself into a hysterical panic and rush into your local emergency ward sobbing, "My baby's dying! My baby's dying!"

34. Apologize profusely when it is the majority diagnosis of 6 doctors, 14 nurses and 32 candy stripers that your child's only real problem is you.

35. Go home. Ask your neighbors if they'll watch your baby until he/she falls asleep.

36. Suddenly "remember" that your spouse was just killed in a hunting accident and ask your neighbors if they could please watch your baby while you're in Montana identifying the body.

37. Tell your neighbors that it'll be a cold day in hell before you ever do a favor for them.

38. Perhaps the baby is taking offense to your cologne, deodorant spray or personality. So shower, change clothes, and enroll in charm school. Upon graduation, return home and see if you've solved the problem.

39. No? Well, perhaps your baby is now ready for a nap.
40. Then again, maybe not.
41. Call Grandma. Remind her of how long it's been since she spent any quality time with her grandchild, and thrill her with the news that you have just enough free time in your hectic schedule to drop the kid off for a nice, leisurely three-day visit.

42. Tell Grandma that it'll be a cold day in hell before you do any favors for her.

43. It's desperation time. Your sanity is at stake here. You have no choice. So do it. Show your baby a picture of Joan Crawford holding a wire hanger.

44. Hate yourself for this streak of sadism you have inflicted upon a helpless infant, and accept the very good probability that you'll burn in hades for your cruel, irrational behavior. And by God, you'll deserve it, you animal!

45. Hire a full-time, live-in nanny and

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Michael Burkett