The human body, materially considered, is a beautiful piece of mechanism, consisting of many parts, each one performing its own vital function irrespectively of the others, and yet dependent for its vitality upon the harmony and health of the whole. It is, to a certain extent, like a watch, which, when once wound up and set in motion, will continue its function of recording true time only so long as every wheel, spring, and lever performs its allotted duty, or till it has run or been broken down.

For much of a young man's life, the body ticks away without so much has a thought to its various gears and mechanisms. However, once a man becomes a father, his body suffers in untold and often unacknowledged ways. For children, despite their reputation as good-natured and inherently cute and kind, can, on occasion, be ghastly, tiny hellions who inflict such drastic violence and injury that if one were to do a survey of the injured at any local hospital and learn the true source of all of the poked-out eyes and sore backs and bloody nipples one would be forced to conclude that the children of our dear nation are more dangerous to our collective well-being than all the tatars in Crimea.

Children, particularly infants, throw a wrench into the well-oiled gears of the human body's wondrous mechanism, debilitating the body's natural harmonies and, like the proverbial unwound watch, leave a man stumbling through life run down and broken. The little devils, in repayment for all their parents give, shower their parents with untold injuries and sore muscles and tiny little teeth marks. The following is a guide to these oft-unacknowledged injuries and ailments, with their tell-tale signs along with recipes for salves and poultices to ease the secret pains of parenting.

Aches and Pains

Dorsus Dolendus Incunabulis (painful crib-back)

A silent but destructive injury, suffered by both mothers and fathers of fussy little cherubs. This injury occurs when the parent bends repeatedly over a crib or a cradle, rocking or singing or soothing their little sucklings to sleep, spending hours and hours in this uncomfortable posture over the course of the infant's first months. Signs include dull aches and pains in the lower and upper back and a tendency for the injured to walk like a tin-man.

Dorsus Infractus Infantus Adferre (back injury from carrying the baby)

There is a considerable art in carrying an infant comfortably for itself and for the parent. If carried improperly, the parent will grow excessively tired, and the back fatigued. For her own comfort, a good parent will frequently vary this position, by changing from one arm to the other, and sometimes by laying it across both, raising the head a little.

The Common Black Draught is the best cure for either injured back. To make, use the following ingrediants: Infusion of senna (10 drachms); Epsom salts (10 drachms); compound tincture of cardamums, compound spirit of lavender, of each 1 drachm. Families who make black draught in quantity, and wish to preserve it for some time without spoiling, should add about 2 drachms of spirits of hartshorn to each pint of the strained mixture, the use of this drug being to prevent its becoming mouldy.

Bites and Scratches

Infants, while very soft on 99 percent of their surfaces, have incredibly sharp little nails and viciously harsh little teeth. Be wary of ever placing your fingers, ears, or nose anywhere near the infant's mouth, for if you do he could easily snap your finger in two or take a chunk right out of your nose.

Dentition is usually the first serious trouble, bringing with it violent gnashing and vile chewing upon both common surfaces, objects, and human flesh. With dentition comes the first cruel application of the new teeth to the nipple; often the little gremlin finishes his meal and decides to try a wee bit of the wet-nurse for dessert. The nipple may bleed, but applying a mixture of equal parts lime-water and linseed-oil should soothe the agonizing pain of bit nipples, although it will not stop the bleeding.

Be also wary of the infant's fingers, and take care to frequently shear the brutally sharp little nails that grow there. An infant's fingers are not only dangerous in their ability to scratch mercilessly, but many infants would not have a qualm about grabbing spectacles or a monocle from a man's face and place them in their germ-filled mouths, muddying the glass with their noxious spittle. After accomplishing this, such a rude lil' imp will often further think nothing of attempting to grab a man's eye-ball itself, or pull away at eye-lids or eye-lashes. It is best to lure an infant's fingers from one's face with the temptation of sweet-meats or a half-sour gherkin.
Be wary of allowing your babies to eat with a fork and knife. They understand these utensils are weapons, and they are not at all afraid to try to use them against you.

If a baby-inflicted scratch or bite is serious, or takes place on some delicate part of the body, such as near the eye, the treatment is very simple in most cases: simply apply a liniment made of finely-scraped chalk and olive-oil, mixed together to about the thickness of cream. Bathing the part bitten with warm turpentine or warm vinegar is also of great use. If the victim feels faint, he should lie quietly on his back, and take a little brandy-and-water, or sal-volatile and water. In a few weeks everything should be fine.

Communicable Diseases & Parasites

Children and infants are generally filthy creatures who spend all manner of time in the dirt among the live-stock riding geese and preparing mud-pies aplenty. Is there any wonder that they return home so worm and parasite-ridden a mother must get out her crocheting needle and inspect each child for hookworms and ticks, lest their filthy, abominable habits result in such a pest finding its way into her own gastronomy? The general symptoms of a vermin infestation are an unnatural craving for food, even after a full meal; costiveness, suddenly followed by the reverse; fetid breath, a livid circle under the eyes, enlarged abdomen, and a strong desire to pick the nose.

Children bring all manner of foul ailments to their parental hosts which they pick up from their filthy chums while playing hop-scotch and jack-in-the-box in the sandlot. They bring the common cold, influenza, scrumpox, scabies, thrush, pemphigus, scarlet fever, phthiriasis, nits, lice, fleas, pruritis, rubeola, bronze john, bloody sweat, bloody flux, chilblain, grippe, typhoid, blackwater fever, croup, grocer’s itch, cachexy, dock fever, dropsy, quinsy, scarlet rash, scurvy, spongy gums, St. Anthony's fire, hematuria, trench mouth, inanition, quinsy, and black vomit. A parent's best bet for her own safety is to simply quarantine her household by locking all children up in their bed-chambers immediately upon returning from school or from playing stick-ball or doing the jump-rope, and fumigating her children's clothes and rooms with a healthy amount of arsenic and phosphorus.

Psychological Maladies

Among the worst injuries that babies inflict upon their parents are those of the psychological variety. The following is just a brief list of the many psychological torments that parents suffer:

Orbis Maturis (old-guy-in-the-mirror syndrome)

This common parenting malady occurs not long after the first child is born. The parent goes through her days with a certain vision in mind of what she looks like, imagining it to be not so different from how she looked when she was a carefree member of the childfree set, attending cotillions with a full dance card and living a life that did not revolve around scolding the wet-nurse for eating the eel-pie and monitoring the servants' hand-washing of the children's crinoline slips and cambric dresses. Then one day she takes a seat at her vanity and sees the fine lines and wrinkles spreading from the corners of her eyes that no amount of satin powder can cover, and she spends the next 3 hours inspecting her ringlets of hair for the faintest streaks of gray. It is not that mothers and fathers actually grow older upon parenthood, it is simply that the little beelzebubs in the cribs and the prams steal years off the ends of their lives.

Clamitatus Coitus Interruptus ("won't she stop crying for ten minutes?" syndrome)

Instead of the more traditional
interruptus, under these circumstances it is the wailing and crying of the infant in the next room that prematurely draws the act to a close. Although its long-term effects are not serious, the immediate, acute psychological damage caused by this common affliction can be absolutely devastating, particularly to the husband.

In Zombie Parentis

This pychological disorder is one of the most serious afflictions that tiny babies can inflict upon their parents, it arrives after a combination of all of the injuries, bites, scratches, aches, pains, vermin, viruses, and maladies described above combine with severe sleep deprivation to completely replace loving, doting parents with catatonic, staggering zombies who fall asleep at 8:30 in the evening and then spend the hours when reasonable people should be sleeping pleading with their daughter to sleep, bent over the crib, cursing like grumpy old sailors, coughing, blowing snot from their noses praying that things will be back to normal.