2011 was a pretty fun year for me. My kid exited his fourth trimester (the first three months of his life, from mid-September to mid-December) and emerged as a little human being, with a personality, expressions, lots of incoherent babbling and, eventually, the ability to walk and say a variety of words.
Watching that emerging personality and continued discovery of new information and abilities goes a long way towards mitigating what can otherwise be a tough stage of parenting. Because babies are dumb. Not because they’re stupid, just because they don’t know anything yet. And they are the opposite of independent. Like, “citizens of North Korea” opposite. They need us for everything.
They’re cute for a reason.
We know that babies can’t eat or walk or do any of that big stuff by themselves. But it’s more than that; they can’t do ANYTHING by themselves. They can’t even sit down by themselves. I mean, they can, they just refuse to. If you don’t sit with them, or god forbid you turn away from them, they will go BERSERK on your ass. It’s insane. And it’s loud.
Also, as they are trying to become less dumb, they experiment. And you are their subject.
It can be incredibly frustrating to deal with your baby’s constant exploration of your limits, especially since he is too young to be disciplined or to even understand the concept of discipline (no matter how often you scream at him in your Arnold Schwarzenegger voice). Their exploration usually involves laughing at you as they do things they know you don’t want them to.
The first few years are tough. Strike that; I’m not even up to years yet. The first year and some change is tough. Which is obviously why God made babies so cute. Because if my baby weren’t cute holy shit would I not tolerate any of his crap. He’d already be off at military school.
You think I’m changing the dirty diaper of some monstrous slug that haunts my dreams? No. But I’ll gladly get shit on my hands in order to keep my adorable little bumblebee fresh and clean. You think I’m gonna let a hideous goblin-child scream in my face while I only want to feed him? No. But I’ll certainly give my innocent, round-faced cherub a pass because it’s not his fault he doesn’t understand I’m only trying to save his life. You think I’m gonna sit there and watch some bucktoothed, big-eared troll of an infant pull things off the table and the shelf or throw my cellphone or my ipod or the TV remote or my laptop violently to the ground? No. But I’ll happily allow my gorgeous, darling, angelic little heartthrob of an infant to learn and explore, no matter the cost!
Babies are cute for a reason. A biological one. If my kid looked like a nightmare, I’m not sure I’d ever enter his room at all, let alone go in there in the middle of the night to pick him up and cuddle him. I’ve already discussed how he freaks me out; if he looked like something out of H.R. Giger’s nightmares, I’d be the one in need of a diaper.
Evolution or God or Xenu or whatever is responsible for granting us the gift of life, it ain’t no fool like your baby. It knows ugly is not a winning strategy. Sure, you can be ugly later when you have other things to recommend you, like a big brain or a big personality or a big throwing arm or a big penis. As an infant? If you don’t show something quick, you’re liable to get tossed out with the bathwater. And let me tell you, these first 16 months or so give you lots of reasons to recycle.
So they’re born cute for a reason: They’re born cute so you’ll forgive their flaws, and they’re born cute so that when they turn deadly it’s already too late: you have a teenager.
Game over, man. Game over.