Many babies will one day experience probably the most traumatic event of their young lives: birth. It’s a new world out there with many confusing things that a newborn will not have the necessary emotional tools to handle, which means the tears start flowing and Mommy and Daddy start considering putting a little rum in the formula. When you find yourself unable to decipher your toddler’s tears, just refer to these common causes for your kid’s crying. With a little practice and a lot of attention, you’ll soon find yourself babbling baby-ese with the best of them.

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“The food you are feeding me has been contaminated by artificial preservatives and flavors, not to mention its role in keeping smaller organic farms from competing practically in the economy!”

This is a common complaint among many infants, and understandably so. They’ve just received their body for life, so naturally they will be a little overprotective about what they put into it (kind of like your ban on all drinks and food in the new car). Their concerns about the little guy in an agricultural battle stem from an entirely different reason: an innate sense of fairness and ethics that infants are born with, but, thankfully, it atrophies with age. Obviously unexposed as yet to Adam Smith and free-market economies, you will probably have to sit your child down with The Wealth of Nations and calmly explain that capitalism is based on a more Darwinian outlook on life. Once you’ve won over his/her heart and mind, you must then conquer the palate. Try using Trader Joe’s to ween your child onto the more processed foods.

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“Mommy/Daddy, I believe you are using me and my accomplishments to feed your own egos and are not treating me as a sentient being!”

This problem is more common for children in young, successful, high-performance families. It is a reaction to pressures and stress that can come from even the thought of future nursery-school applications, SATs, and the general drive to follow in their parents’ gilt footsteps. A tried-and-true method for alleviating your baby’s anxiety is to emphasize his/her independence. Some parents have made studies and offices for their babies, while still others print business cards for networking at the playground and hire personal assistants. Encourage your child to do some stress-relieving exercise, such as raquetball or crawling around on the floor, trying to put things in his/her mouth.

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“Elections are a sham! Why are we locked into a two-party system that obviously can’t provide adequate representation for all the constituencies in America?”

Just as with a sense of fairness, children also begin life with a rather ideal view of democracy and the republican system. You should let your child know that his/her views of civics, though well-intentioned, are purely conceptual and do not work in our society. Employ the “Lesser of Two Evils” argument, along with the “Throwing Your Vote Away” corollary if necessary.

For good illustrations, the obvious choice would be Mr. Nader’s continuing exploits.

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“At the onset of my existence, I have suddenly realized my own mortality and frailty.”

Many parents actually mistake this cry for a mere “diapy change,” though, often enough, both cries are accompanied by the same external symptoms. Coming to understand the human condition is a difficult and personal thing, and parental responses will differ from family to family. Some choose to point out that one of the reasons why life is so precious and beautiful is because it is always dying. It is the great comedy and tragedy of our existence, to only be able to appreciate what is fleeting. Others lean toward transubstantiation and the Judeo-Christian concept of a soul, while others prefer to employ reincarnation (though admittedly, with the first birth being traumatic enough, the thought of infinite subsequent births could make them literally shit themselves), and still others have chosen the atheistic route: that we are part of a life cycle that touches all life on earth through our eventual decomposition. For the quicker fix, try chocolate pudding, preferably homemade with the skin still on the top. It works, but we can’t tell you why. And make sure to change the diaper.

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“Your feeble attempts to convince me you’ve ‘got my nose’ are belittling at best. What sort of illusionist do you take yourself for?”

Well, honestly, who really believes a thumb looks anything like a nose? Your child is quite young and green behind the ears, but do you truly take him/her for a fool? If your goal is to amuse, we suggest the recent collection of New Yorker cartoons, or other such material that would be suitable for children.