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'Expected' Offers Self-Help, Humor For The Unborn

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'Expected' Offers Self-Help, Humor For The Unborn

'Expected' Offers Self-Help, Humor For The Unborn

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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If you're pregnant, have small children or if you know someone who's given birth, or even if you've visited the childbirth section of a bookstore, you probably have seen the bevy of what to expect books: "What to Expect When You're Expecting," "What to Expect: The Toddler Years," "What to Eat When You're Expecting."

Well, a new book offers a different perspective: "What to Expect When You are Expected." It's billed as "A Fetus' Guide to the First Three Trimesters." And don't expect to find practical advice in these pages. However, you might find various oddities, and you'll definitely find some belly laughs.

David Javerbaum wrote this book and he joins me now. Welcome to the program.

Mr. DAVID JAVERBAUM (Author, "What to Expect When You're Expected: A Fetus's Guide to the First Three Trimesters"): Thank you, Michele.

NORRIS: Now, the cover of this book does look like it's in the family of "What to Expect" books, those books that are published by Workman Publishing Group.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Right. And those books, by the way, are a parody of mine. My book is "What to Expect When You're Expected," it's the original. "What to Expect When You're Expecting" is a parody that's fooled, I think, up to 30 million people at this point. But my book, make no mistake, is the original.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: You really are, as I understand, trying to help the folks that are in utero communicate in some way with those who are expecting them to enter the world at some point. Why did you decide to write this book?

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Well, I was hoping that hopefully after reading this book, fetuses will emerge better prepared to handle some of the challenges of modern 21st century society. I have two kids of my own. And both times I would go to the hospital when they were born, go to the maternity ward and I would see this new generation being born. I call them Generation XX/XY.

And, you know, they're naked and they're screaming and they're incoherent. They're placed in an isolated part of the hospital for their own good and for the protection, I think, frankly, of the other people. And it was disturbing. As an American, I don't like seeing, you know, the next generation of Americans in that kind of condition. And so my hope is that this will help put them in a better place.

NORRIS: There's a very funny bit in the book about baby names. Do you have the book with you?


NORRIS: It starts on page 175. Let's go there. Do you mind reading just a bit of that?

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Absolutely.

(Reading) Your name has no doubt been the subject of much discussion between your parents. He likes Zoe. She thinks it sounds precious. She likes Samantha. He thinks it sounds quaint. They both like Morgan. The world thinks Morgan sounds stupid, so Morgan it is.

That's the thing about your name. It's essentially genetic, determined by your parents as surely as your DNA. And though you may one day legally change it, in your heart, you will remain the same adorable newborn whose parents held you in their arms and repeated the phrase, hello, little Maximus, over and over again.

NORRIS: Hmm. Now, you also go through name categories and some of these are a lot of fun. Place names.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Place names, these are, you know, this has been common for years now. For boys you have Bryce or Zion, Yellowstone, Carlsbad Caverns - very funny name.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NORRIS: There's no one named Carlsbad Caverns.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Oh, well, I'm not sure where you're looking, Michele, but where I'm from here in New York, a lot of kids, a lot of newborns are named Carlsbad Caverns. And girls, you have London, Paris, Brussels and Luxembourg City is actually a burgeoning name.

NORRIS: Known as LC.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah, LC would be a good nickname for that.

NORRIS: I want to ask you about one of the questions you pose in the book: Why do my parents blast Mozart at me every night when I'm just trying to sleep?

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Yeah, that's a common thing. Your parents want the best for you. And they want you to be better than themselves and not suffer from the same failings that they believe that they have. And one of your parents' failings is that they never ever listened to classical music.

And so they're going to inflict their guilt about that on you. So you have to sit there and essentially get an involuntary nine months subscription to your very own mostly Mozart festival in there, in a room with very bad acoustics. And the sad thing is there are so many other pieces of music that would be more appropriate in the fetal environment.

NORRIS: Such as?

Mr. JAVERBAUM: "I've Got You Under My Skin" by Frank Sinatra would be a wonderful choice.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. JAVERBAUM: You know, "Should I Stay or Should I Go" by The Clash, that's a very appropriate one for later. "With or Without You," that's more for conjoined twins. But there's a lot of other songs that really could work, you know, in that environment.

NORRIS: David, it has been fun to talk to you. Thank you very much for coming in.

Mr. JAVERBAUM: Thank you, Michele.

NORRIS: David Javerbaum is the author of the book, "What to Expect When You're Expected: A Fetus's Guide to the First Three Trimesters," the first-ever guide to pregnancy for the prenatal reader written by a former embryo. He writes for "The Daily Show."

(Soundbite of song, "I'm Coming Out")

Ms. DIANA ROSS (Singer): (Singing) I'm coming out. I'm coming out. I want the world to know, got to let it show. I'm coming out. I want the world to know, got to…

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