In Couplehood, actor and comic Paul Reiser took his own experience with marriage to illustrate the joys and difficulties of joining together with another person. Now, in Babyhood, he gives parenting the same treatment. The book begins with him and his wife, a happy, carefree and childless couple. They decide that having kids needs to happen when the time is right. Surprisingly, the right time comes after sharing a flight with a harried mother and father of small children. After the decision is made comes the process of trying to conceive. Reiser wonders why people are so open about this. They'll casually discuss the fact that they're trying to have children. But, isn't this just as good as announcing that you're having sex? He also says that before now, men's knowledge of a woman's body consisted of the phrase "down there" but now they've learned the correct terms and can't wait to use them.
Afterwards comes the time of conception. Reiser writes of his mixed feelings once the pregnancy is certain. He's happy, but scared. He also writes of feeling one step behind his wife in knowing what happens from now on, because everything is happening in her body. The book goes on to discuss picking baby names, shopping for baby equipment and childcare books, and the difficulties of being a loving and supportive husband to a woman who's pregnant. One of these difficulties is dealing with food cravings that change without notice.
Finally, the day comes. Reiser describes how he felt and how he tried to support his wife during labor. Afterwards comes life with a baby. This includes all the worries that a new parent has for the safety of their child, dealing with his skittishness over his wife's breastfeeding, lack of sleep, and getting the dog used to the baby, who seems like an intruder. It also has the heartwarming moments of baby's first smile, the proud feeling of being a father, and love.
The book is full of humor. During labor, his wife is scared that she might die, because of a movie where a mother died during childbirth. The movie was City Slickers, and the mother was a cow. Reiser is confused as to why no one ever congratulated him on all the weight he gained during his wife's pregnancy. And, he wishes he could calm down an irate adult with a song as it is to calm a crying baby.
This report prepared by Angela Tircuit