I Am A Baby by Bob Shea Explores Parental Love & Exhaustion
Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
Photography by Kara Brodgesell
If you’ve welcomed a baby or have been around someone who has, you know the scene quite well: sleep-deprived, zombie-like parents, never-ending piles of laundry, unintelligible baby gear instructions, etcetera, etcetera. And, of course, the culprit to all of this madness: an adorable new baby.
The colorful, gorgeously illustrated page-turner begins with sweet snap-shot doodles of a couple falling in love, living it up without kids (days at the beach, concerts, romantic dinners), and then—ta-da!—a baby bump appears. This is, of course, is where the chaos—and the heart of the I Am A Baby story—begins.
“I am a baby and I am not sleepy.”
“I am not sleepy because I am a baby.”
“Mommy is sleepy.”
“Mommy is sleepy because I am a baby.”
“Daddy is grumbling.”
“Daddy is grumbling because I am a baby.”
…and so forth.
Rhythmic text accompanies funny, familiar scenes of sleeplessness, sticky tables, squishy diapers, stubbly chins, and—eventually—a very-much-needed visit from grandma.
The humorous book, which is sure to be a hit with little kids (especially those with younger siblings and those who aren’t too far from the baby stage themselves), is dedicated to the author’s family and was born out of personal experience.
“I Am A Baby was inspired by my experience as a new dad at the time my son was born,” Shea tells us. “Parents and baby both have their roles to play. The parents face a steep learning curve while the baby seems to be an old pro at being new to the world. Seeing things from the very comfortable, confident baby point of view was fun to think about. As exhausting and frustrating as it all is, it’s a wonderful and universal time in the lives of a young family. ”
As for his own journey as a brand-new dad, Shea sums it up as “completely exhausting.”
“My wife and I were living in a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan and our son and all the associated equipment quickly consumed our world. Our little guy was good too, not fussy, we kept him on a regular schedule, he was really content. It’s just 24/7,” he says. “I remember getting through half a slice of pizza, looking down at it and not being able to remember actually buying the slice. Luckily I was quickly distracted from that thought by a slice of pizza I was somehow holding.”
Of course, for Shea, as for many parents, the 24/7 hustle of the early baby days paid off.
“My son is 18-years-old now and just graduated high school,” says Shea. “He is an incredibly talented indie musician and he is heading to college in the fall to study music. He makes me incredibly proud not simply because he is a talented, self-motivated musician, but because he is a kind, caring person with a good heart.”
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