I’ve made it very clear to any who know me that I think babies are, for the most part, pretty darn ugly. Well, I think I should clarify, since the term “baby” usually applies to any human from about newborn to 1-2 years. No, I think “toddlers” are for the most part adorable, it’s newborns that I think are rather unattractive. I was all nervous about seeing my neice for the first time, wondering if I should tell a small white lie and say “awww how cute!” to affirm that I really was excited about her presence and didn’t wish to offend the parents (whom I would have to see at family funcitons for the rest of our collective lives…) or if I should just be blunt and tell them I was happy for them but I thought their daughter resembled a mutated squash. I don’t like lying, so you can imagine how I agonized on the three hour drive to the hospital.
My niece? Super cute. I was dumbfounded (and very relieved). Did she still resemble a wrinkled mutated alien squash? Yup. But she was (and is) precious. I finally “get” all those pictures of babies that people obsess over. Now, I think she became a thousand times cuter at about 2 months, when she just seemed to have a little more form and shape to her tiny unproportional body (well, maybe not so tiny in her case…) and now she’s just pretty much too cute to adequately describe with words. This has made me realize that when I talk about “ugly babies” I really mean “newborns”. In Emma’s favor, she was a c-section baby (no squished head) and was of substantial size (no 6 pound premie), but also, most importantly, I had a huge vested interest in her existence as I am her Aunt and godmother. She probably could’ve had a pumpkin stem growing out one ear and I honestly would’ve thought her adorable.
Long story short: other newborns? Still ugly. If I do a little side step in my mind and try to look at newborn pictures from the family’s point of view I can scrape up a pretty genuine sounding “aww she/he’s cute”. Some of them really are so ugly they’re sortof endearing, but mostly I wait until they’ve fleshed out and “normalized’ a bit before I start laying on the praise.
Now, here comes the fun part. If I ever have kids, and go picture crazy like a good parent should, I think I’ll take pictures of him/her next to ugly mutated looking squash. Forget trying to make him/her cute by masking the alien look with pastel colors and cutesy animal prints, piled up with flowers and stuffed animals. Nope, it’ll be stunted, dirt spattered veggies for my little darling. I don’t mean the vibrant orange pumpkin patches, I might take pictures next to a bag of potatoes just to prove a point. Any children I have, of course, will all be the epitome of cute, but maybe someone subjected to my plastering those pictures all over every available webspace will get a kick out of how much my little cutie-wootey resembles lumpy vegetables.