Edward Weston used to practise setting his 8x10 camera up quickly.
He knew that making a portrait, or landscape, often meant performing in fleeting conditions,
and there was no time to waste. He reduced the process to the fewest possible motions, and
worked hard to perform them quickly and consistently. This is a hint.
Old portrait studios used a pieces of string tied to lights, and to the camera, to be able to quickly position the various gadgets needed to make a picture.
Solve the photographic problem before you ask the baby to play with you. Watch baby sleep, sit, do what babies do. Make snaps with a little d*g*cam, study the picture. If you are committed to the non-d*g*tal life, sketch the child. Remember the point of the exercise is to "make a photo of the child", not "look at a baby through a view camera".
Practise with the camera, laying a teddy bear (or a rolled up sweater or pillow) on a table.
Here is where you sort out the angle of the camera, the lens, etc. When you get the image size
correct, tie a piece of string to your lens with a knot that touches the cheek or the nose of the teddy bear.
Now, the only adjustments you need to do to your camera is to raise or lower the tripod, and either slide the tripod to the the baby until the string touches, or slide baby to the camera.
Now, you're ready to practise with the cat.
Adjust your part of THAT comedy until you can do it.
Now, go have fun. Share the pictures.