Autobiography of a One-Year-Old

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“I am a one-year-old and this is my autobiography....”

Have you ever looked at your baby and wondered what he or she is thinking? Are you ready to find out?

“I thought it was about time someone told it like it is. So I’m spilling the beans on the world of a one-year-old. A world where you’re left in the charge of totally inept parents. Where everything’s at completely the wrong height. Where you’re not allowed to splash in the bath but you ...
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Autobiography of a One-Year-Old

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“I am a one-year-old and this is my autobiography....”

Have you ever looked at your baby and wondered what he or she is thinking? Are you ready to find out?

“I thought it was about time someone told it like it is. So I’m spilling the beans on the world of a one-year-old. A world where you’re left in the charge of totally inept parents. Where everything’s at completely the wrong height. Where you’re not allowed to splash in the bath but you are in the pool. Where nobody understands a single word you say. And where diapers and poop loom large at every turn.

“It’s a roller-coaster ride through one heck of a year. I’ve laughed a lot, I’ve cried a lot, I’ve learned a lot. And so will you. You might even discover the answer to that age-old question: Humpty Dumpty — did he fall or was he pushed?

“Anyway, must run. I see a bowl of tepid gloop is being spooned out for me. What joy.”

Welcome to the wonderful world of your one-year-old.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"I stink, therefore I am." So muses the plucky babe in Candappa's latest. Writer and humorist Candappa has previously dwelled on feng shui, and stress, among other topics, and here imagines life from the perspective of a pre-verbal one-year-old. Through a monologue in essay installments, the narrator holds forth on such topics as effective crying methods, vacuum cleaners as "long-nosed sucky beasts," food, the diabolical crib, the trauma of vacation, mirrors, walking, parental interference and many other mundane discoveries along the road to becoming a two-year-old. At the outset, our protagonist sees the world as a tricky place peopled by those who blindly manipulate him for their own ends, and he scrutinizes and experiments with an air of disdain occasionally laced with innocent wonder. Along the way, he trips into some sweet discoveries characterized by a growing awareness of interdependence, which make for the funniest sections of the book. These include a compassionate imagining that his parents are so poor they must eat his leftover food. In general, the author hits the mark on how life might look from the perspective of a baby-cum-toddler, but unfortunately the book is less successful in its overdone cultural references, turning our little terror into a dated armchair philosopher (e.g. "Wasn't it Stevie Winwood in `Higher Love' who sang `If you see a chance, take it.' An admirable philosophy, I think you'll agree"). Many readers will look past these annoyances and enjoy a glimpse of life from the other side, although they might prefer it a bit less conspiratorial and sarcastic. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
“[E]njoy a glimpse of life from the other side.”
Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553584134
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/26/2002
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 4.19 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Month XIII

In which, if you believe the books, I should be able to get into a standing position, clap hands and indicate wants in ways other than crying. Yeah, right.


Essentially parents are odd fish. Their ways are mysterious and many of their ideas are just plain bizarre. I’m not sure what the point of them is, but, like junk mail or a sniffle in winter, they are exceedingly hard to avoid; parents come with the territory. Standard issue is two, though one is fairly common, and three or four not unknown. I myself have in my employ two parents of the usual variety.

If you, like me, have a duo of parents, they normally fall into two distinct categories. The first category is Smooth, the second is Hairy. Smooths tend to be full-time staff, whereas Hairies are, at best, part-timers. Some people I’ve met claim their Hairies do equal if not more hours than their Smooths, but frankly I find that a little hard to believe. Smooths also tend to handle more of the refueling functions and the nether-region work.

Now, because I spend more of my time with Smooth, the appearance of Hairy, when it occurs, is a situation that can be exploited in many ways. Prime among these is the ruse of spending most of the day in dispute with Smooth, then being all smiles and cuddles when Hairy turns up. It’s a divide-and-rule ploy that never fails to produce results. I know it sounds a little devious, but it’s one of the few chances you have of outmaneuvering parents who so often hold the upper hand.

And that is the nub of the parent conundrum.

You see, although the parents areundoubtedly working for me, by some ludicrous twist of fate, they have been put in charge. It is a position they are so patently ill equipped to handle that it leaves you with the disquieting feeling that you are the victim of some monstrous mistake. I mean, they know so little about me and the world I inhabit that it’s hardly surprising so many of the decisions they make about me are completely wrong.

For instance, no one likes cereal. Absolutely no one. That’s why, given a choice, at breakfast people eat cornflakes or toast or a croissant or pancakes or bacon and eggs. So how come I’m force-fed cereal every morning?

Or what about the things they put in my crib? Some nights I get in and it’s like trying to find a seat in an overcrowded train. Okay, I admit that by now I know some of the fellows who share my crib, but honestly I really know most of them only slightly. For heaven’s sake, I’m trying to sleep in here, don’t I deserve a little space of my own?

The bitter truth is that parents are in charge. So, one way or another, you have to discover your own way of getting along with them.

The spectrum of possible strategies you can employ ranges from total deference, through collaboration, to outright war. My advice is, don’t put all your toys in one toy box. Vary your approach. It’ll keep you interested and them on their toes. Just because they’re in charge doesn’t mean you can’t be in control.


They say the Eskimos have hundreds of words for types of snow. Pathetic.

I’ve loads more than that for types of poop. When the stuff is such a big part in your life, you tend to dwell on the subject. And all too often you don’t just dwell on the subject, you frequently dwell in it as well. There is something deeply deflating about having to sit in your own poop. Let’s just say it is not the biggest boost to one’s self-esteem. So of course I scream my head off. Wouldn’t you?

Back to the naming of the names. I won’t detain you with the full list but just pass on some of my own particular favorites. Top of the Billboard charts is grouty poop. This is the type of poop that gets into all manner of cracks and crevices, makes itself comfortable, then dries. On first encounter, grouty poop looks inoffensive. And it is dry, which makes it less gooey to handle. However, the downside is that grouty poop dries rock hard. To get rid of the stuff, you almost have to resort to a chisel.

To trump the challenge of ordinary grouty poop (or OGP, as I sometimes abbreviate it) is the horror that is overnight grouty poop (ONGP). This doesn’t so much dry as set. Like concrete. Forget the chisel. For ONGP you need a fat laborer sporting low-slung jeans, wielding a pneumatic drill. That’s the only way to shift it.

Next is pollocky poop. This is poop that splatters across pristine white surfaces in a random, abstract fashion. It is poop that in many ways crosses the boundaries of poop itself. Is it really poop? Why is there no form or shape to it? Isn’t it really just a mess? What does it mean? My personal belief is that pollocky poop is poop, and that it is great poop. But it is poop that obeys the rules of its own aesthetic. The trick is to accept it on its own terms.

Then there is BTP. BTP is relatively rare and can vary tremendously in shape, size and consistency. What makes it special is not so much its nature but the reaction it can engender in parents. BTP can turn the most laid back of individuals into a veritable maelstrom of activity. If you want to see what a tornado looks like close-up, just indulge in a little BTP. That’s bathtub poop.

Finally, of course, there’s chewy poop. But maybe we shouldn’t go into that right now. After all, you might be eating.


“Round and round the backyard
Like a teddy bear.
One step, two steps
Tickly under there.”

Point of order, Mr. Chairman?

I have spent considerable time in many backyards and I have as yet to find a single instance of teddy bears going around them. I have also consulted with numerous of my colleagues, who, between them, have access to many other backyards, and they confirm that they can recall no occasion on which a teddy bear has gone around a backyard.

Frankly, the whole teddy-bear-around-the-backyard thing is little more than a blatant, spurious and all too often successful incantation designed to distract an individual prior to a totally unprovoked tickling attack.

It is a con and a trap.

In the light of this transparent misuse of power, I have decided to pay particular attention to all nursery rhymes that I encounter from here on. I mean, if parents can do it once, what’s to stop them from doing it again?

I shall report back as and when necessary.

Copyright 2001 by As told to Rohan Candappa
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2014

    Nice books

    I hope this book can help me teach my child

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2012

    Slowly died...

    The beginning starred off funny but as the book went on i found myself just waiting for it to grab me again. I read most of it but could not finish because i had better books to read. Overall the book was too long by a couple of chapters and for a short read, wasnt short enough.

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  • Posted January 4, 2011

    High marks

    As the prefix says, have you ever wondered... well, as you'll discover, there are answers for everything your child does. From the art of crying, to the inabillity of us grasping their language. If you're about to have a kid or just want to laugh, download this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2003

    funny, funny, funny!

    My mom sent this book to me, and I started laughing the moment I started reading. It's a great read while being a mom to a 16 month old. I have a friend who has just had her 3rd baby and I plan on sending it as a baby gift to the mom who has everything!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2003

    Funniest thing I ever read

    This book brought me to tears. While it is a bit long winded in places, this did not take away from the downright hysterical commentary. I can imagine that my son actually sees the world this way! A must buy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2003


    I loved this book. It is amazingly well written. As you read the book you'll undoubtedly find yourself analizing the way you treat your baby. It feels as it is actually written by a baby! i love this book, i would definetly recommend this to people, especially to soon-to-be parents. Very light, funny reading. You'll enjoy it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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