You know how we get performance reviews at work? Why not do the same with our children? Lord knows they could use some improvement.
Humor Parenting

A Three-Month Performance Review for Babies

You know how we get performance reviews at work? Why not do the same with our children? Lord knows they could use some improvement.

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Most of us have had performance reviews at work at some point.  At my job, we have them yearly, and like anyone else, I leave them with mixed feelings of relief that I still have a job and bitterness that my superiors had the gall to tell me that there were things I needed to work on.

It’s an exercise where two or three people meet to dissect every aspect of one person sitting in the middle of the room.  It’s an incredibly uncomfortable and stressful process.

And I’m really excited to put my sons through their first one!

They’re three months now.  That’s a big baby benchmark.  That’s the time when a lot of people tell you it starts getting better.  Countless times parents have told me, “It’s going to be hell.  You just need to get through the first three months.”  If you can survive the first three months, you’ll see that’s when it starts getting fun.”  “It’s the first three months that are the toughest.  After that, it’s sooooo much easier.”

We were so certain that this three month mark would become the point when things became Baby Raising Eden that my wife and I considered taking a weekend trip to Catalina and just leaving the boys at home with the dog and a fully stocked fridge.

They don’t seem to have taken this ginormous leap just yet, though.  We keep waking up in the morning, hoping to see one or both of them sitting at the kitchen table, carefully writing out an agenda for the day ahead and looking up at us when we enter the room to alert us that we’re running low on baby wipes and Tylenol. It hasn’t happened.  I’m sure they’re only a day or two away from this miraculous transformation, though.

At any rate, it’s time to put the boys through the nerve-racking emotional ringer of their review.  I do it out of love.


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Let’s start things off on a nice note and give you an adorable Performance Review Robe with your name embroidered on it.  That will help take the sting out of some of what I’m going to say.


  • Super cute smile
  • Great eater/drinker
  • Excellent Focus
  • You like me a lot

Overall, your mother and I are thrilled with your baby performance.  You’re knocking cuteness out of the park.  You can down a bottle and get sleepy with the best of them.  You’re a rock star when it comes to watching a learning video and, of course, you like me a lot.  On the last point, almost to excess, but I’ll get to that in a second.

Areas You Need To Work On

  • Being a little too emotional
  • Tummy Time Attitude
  • You like me a lot

You tend to wear your heart on your sleeve, which I respect, but is it necessary to verbalize every emotion you’re feeling?  I understand how a good cry can be purging, but remember, you’re Irish.  We like to bottle things up inside and let them grow into a potential ulcer or stress-related diarrhea.

I know tummy time isn’t a walk in the park, but you need to suck it up.  I don’t like being stuck in Whole Foods with Mommy, but I’m only going to make it worse if I start weeping once we’ve been there for 90 minutes and she’s still reading the back of the organic, frozen meatloaf box like it’s JK Rowling’s latest Potter novel.

And I’m flattered at how much you like me, but maybe we could just understand that from a knowing look as opposed to me always having to hold you and pat your back endlessly.

**Side note.  It’s impossible for me to give anyone a hug without fighting the impulse to pat them on the back as if burping them.

In short, Charles, great job!  We know you’ll work on the areas we mentioned, and we see fantastic potential in you.

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Nice robe, Arthur.  Green is a great color for you.  Let’s get down to business.


  • You’re a better looking version of your father when he was a baby
  • Fiercely independent
  • Great at resolving your own issues
  • Excellent at rolling with the punches

It’s nice to see my DNA in a much tinier and more attractive version.  As a baby, I checked in at around a 7, but Arthur comes out of the gate in the morning and is an 8 before he’s even changed out of spit-up-ridden jammies.

You aren’t needy at all.  It’s almost unnerving.  I expect you to be the child WHO insists on going to a college 3,000 miles away on the East Coast, to assert you’re independence and cause me to spent an extra $10,000 in plane fare to visit you.

I know if you cry while you’re sleeping in your swing or Momaroo, there’s at least a 50% chance that you’ll just calm down on your own in a few seconds.  And what more could a parent want than a kid who cries, waves off a consoling hug, and says, “I just need to be alone with my thoughts for a minute.  I’ll be fine.”

Areas You Need To Work On

  • Focus during learning time
  • Horrifying outbursts
  • Staring me down
  • Peeing on me

When it comes to learning time, Arthur, the lesson is on the iPad.  I don’t know what you think is behind the iPad, to the side of the iPad, or behind you, but it has nothing to do with learning.  You’re the child who will likely be the one to put off his homework until the last second.  I see late night science projects in the future for Mommy and me.  I’ve already started saving empty toilet paper rolls for whatever we’ll undoubtedly have to construct.

You don’t cry as much as your brother, but when you do, you make it count.  I’m sure the neighbors are convinced that we have some well-worn baby torture devices in the house.  Your screams sound like I just hammered a nail through your baby hand, when what your demonic yell really indicates is that one sock is about to fall off your foot.

You have a frightening stare that scares me.  I’ve had shade thrown at me plenty of times, but your occasional look of contempt makes me feel like I’m dealing with Cookie Lyon from Empire. (Arthur’s first words may very well be, “Bye, Felicia!”)

Lastly, stop peeing on me when I’m changing you.  It was funny the first few times, but you need to change the act up a little.

All in all, your Mom and I are delighted with you.  Whatever you’re doing, it’s working.  Of course, maybe I’m saying that because you frighten me.

I think the reviews went fantastically.  The boys seemed to take my criticism well, and I even got a few smiles, which means either they agreed with me or they just took a big dump.  I only wish I had remembered to ask them where they see themselves in three months.  That’s OK, I’ll check back in with them in another 90 days.