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May 2 is a holiday of dubious origins and vague purpose…but if at least one online calendar of events say that May 2 is Baby Day, who are we to argue? Besides, are you saying that the babies of this world don’t deserve a day of their own, a day to celebrate whatever it is that makes babies so appealing and special? Of course you’re not saying that.

And what better way to celebrate Baby Day than to start your baby—or a friend, family member or neighbor’s baby—on the path to ultimate happiness? In short, why not make your baby an Internet Celebrity?

Many of you have done just that, since the publication of  the award-winning How to Make Your Baby an Internet Celebrity last fall. Since then, we’ve seen the rise of Snake Handler Baby, Li’l Ninja, Nina Totenbaby Weegal Affaiws Cowwestpondwent, and many other adorable web baby characters who’ve put the HTMYBAIC system to good use. But the path to internet dominance is not always an easy one; it’s got more ruts, pits, and divots in it than the sole of your granddad’s foot. Don’t give up! Gaining preposterous internet fame for your baby is every bit as unimaginably unbelievable as you imagine it to be—believe it! To help you through the rough spots, here are some photographic outtakes of the kids in the book, illustrating some of the challenges that photographer Dustin Fentermacher and I encountered in our research. We persevered through these challenges, and so can you.

 

BABIES WITH DANGEROUS BRAIN POWERS

 

Kids are cute and all, but kids who can use their minds to make your head explode can be a handful to deal with. This adorable tot was a joy to work with, except that she had a habit of sending Dustin’s photo assistants “to the cornfield” (we’re still not sure where that is).

If you come across a child like this in your role as an internet baby impresario, your best bet is to keep your distance. Have your staff handle all interactions. You lose a bit of control, but it’s better than waking up as a tiny living doll in her terrarium of terror.

 

 

 BABIES WHO WANT TO INFLICT BODILY HARM

 

What is it with babies, and why are they so violent? Experts aren’t sure, though I bet that fracking has something to do with it. In any case, you’re bound to run into toddlers like this one, who didn’t have the courtesy to wait until my back was turned before smacking me right on my appendix with whatever blunt object he could wrap his stubby fingers around.

If I had it to do over, I’d invest in some shin guards, an athletic cup and a riot gear helmet. You should too. BTW, they say the appendix is a useless organ but I feel like I can’t digest cheese as well as I used to.

 

 

BABIES WHO ARE TOO FRIENDLY

 

Every so often in the Internet Baby Celebrity business—and it is a business, never forget that—you’ll come across a baby who’s a delight to be around. Upbeat attitude, pleasant demeanor, charming smile... Don’t be fooled. This is not normal behavior for a baby. What you’re witnessing is a façade designed to lull you into dropping your guard.

Dustin found this out when this cherub wanted to hold his camera, and then proceeded to whack it against the skull of her older brother, getting blood all over a very expensive piece of photographic equipment.

 

BABIES WHO ARE IMMUNE TO FEAR

 

 
 

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: one of the greatest tools in working with babies in order to make them internet celebrities is fear. And not just your own fear of spending hours and hours at a pointless, demeaning task. An intractable baby can become putty in your hands if you can employ something that the baby is deathly afraid of: the boogie man, perhaps; the sudden and inexplicable vanishing of her toys; a conviction that you’ve got her nose and won’t give it back. If you find yourself working with a baby who shrugs off even the most nightmarish scenarios, tread carefully. You’ve lost your stick, so all you have to work with is the carrot. And that baby is soooo sick of carrots (try using your carrot as a stick).

 

BABIES WHO HAVE THAT LOOK

 

This is a phenomenon you probably won’t be able to spot until you’ve broken in your third or fourth baby internet celeb. But sooner or later you’ll cross paths with a baby whose steely eyed glare withers your soul like a poinsettia three weeks after Christmas. I don’t screw around, the baby seems to be saying. Just walk away and there will be an end to the horror.

Odds are, you’ll only get one chance to bolt before before it’s Thunderdome time. So take it, perhaps throwing your car keys in the opposite direction as a distraction.