You say the words as soon as those little rascals get pushed or pulled out – “You’re so beautiful!” Then, all the visitors to the hospital – “Oh, he/she’s so beautiful!” Before you know it, every relative, neighbor, and old lady at the grocery store sticking her face right up against your baby’s face are repeating those words. You’re convinced. It’s not just you. Everybody sees it. You have given birth to a masterpiece! Perfectly round face. Smooth, clear skin. Totally normal-sized features. Nothing like the baby those weird pregnancy dreams conjured images of, with the Kermit the Frog meets Keira Knightly smiling (you know what face I’m talking about) and a dash of something Star Trekkie. You feel relief. You feel proud! Somehow this beautiful child is a reflection of you. Okay, sometimes almost literally. They look exactly like you. Sometimes it’s just cuter on the kid though, folks. And sometimes it’s – okay, I’ll say it if nobody else will – it’s kinda creepy on the kid.
So if I notice something like that in children other than my own, that means other people aren’t necessarily looking at mine with rose-colored glasses. But, how would I know? I mean, I’ve been TOLD since the day they were born how beautiful they are! Why would anyone say that if it weren’t true? Because that’s what you do. You compliment someone’s child. You do it for the person, but you also want to feel a part of boosting that child’s self-confidence. That feels good. I’m weird, though (duh,right?). I really have to believe it to say it. I’m not hurting anybody if I don’t say anything, so why throw around the compliments if they’re not genuine. And most people don’t come right out and ask if you think their offspring are adorable, or not so much. So, we don’t know. We don’t care…..
Ahhh, but we do. Why? Well, you may be thinking , wow, this Tina person is really vain and obsessed with looks. The people who do know me well, or hell, have even seen me on one of the seven days of the week, are laughing at that idea, because I obviously, and sometimes to an extreme, should really do something about it level, don’t give a shit about my appearance. Also, Jackpot and I always said we’d much prefer our kids are funny above anything else. 🙂 Yet, we do still care how they appear to others. Because most of us have figured out by now that good-looking people have an edge. It starts at the toddler stage. They do something that drives you batty, but you look at that sweet face and it takes the anger and frustration you are feeling down a notch, or twelve. Everybody knows “kids are cute for a reason”. How many times have you said or heard that one? I now have such a deep understanding of that by kid #4. Actually, by #3, I was thinking, oh crap, they’re really cute,too. They’re going to be trouble. We know the advantage of their beauty as they act like little monsters. We know that if the looks follow along as they get older, the advantages can continue. Doesn’t mean they won’t have hardships, but I’m still sticking with the edge comment. We all want our children to have every advantage to get as far as they can in life. We want to see them work hard for anything they want to achieve, but we don’t necessarily want it to be harder than it has to be. Like if they were really ugly. Calm down, I know most of you have thought about this. If you haven’t, I hate to tell you – that is probably part of what is behind the relief you feel when you hear the coveted words proclaiming their beauty.
But, I think we’ve already established that others will lie to you, and you don’t have the ability to judge them yourself. We can’t just compare them to others, like with test scores and milestone charts for brains (I wouldn’t think of it!, but it could work), or athleticism (that’s usually fairly obvious after their first outdoor play date). So do we start asking people straight out? Who? Grandma and Grandpa? Nope. Any close relative is pretty much wearing that same pair of glasses you are. A close friend? You could trust them with your social security number, but now is not the time to trust their honesty. No friend is going to tell you your kid’s face is hit. A stranger? They might think they’re on a hidden camera show and you’re going to punch them if they answer wrong, so I don’t think you’ll have much luck there. Now, there’s always the drunk relative/friend idea. Everybody knows that one they have that this would work with. You also know their “sweet spot”. It’s when they get very friendly, and think they are doing you a huge favor by being honest with you about a few things. Consider this if you want the no-going-back truth, and then realize while they probably won’t remember the conversation, you’ll never forget what they had the nerve to answer. So, if you find yourself staring at your kids, trying to force yourself to see some ugly, just so you can feel for a second you are qualified to evaluate – stop. You are stuck never knowing.
Except – there’s the day your kid comes home and tells you that some punk at school made fun of how his ears were sticking out. As you comfort him and reiterate all you’ve discussed before on bullying (refraining from telling him next time respond with the first thing that pops in his head, because you happen to have noticed that he has an early developing talent for the come-back), you are thinking, “Question on the ears? Answered.” Yes, your babies will hit school age, and suddenly every fear about their physical perfection is realized. Mean kids will find the imperfections. Your questions will be answered at the expense of your sweet,innocent child’s feelings. What do you do? I wish I had the perfect advice to give, but I’m still trying to learn as I go. When my handsome boy came home upset about his ears, I told him how perfectly God made each person, to be exactly how they are, and that I think that’s amazing. So when Mommy is hating the unruly hair that she has, “I remember that just me was given this exact hair by God.” And usually if somebody makes fun of you for one thing, it’s because they’re jealous of something else you have. I told him in his case, it’s probably everything. 😉
My kids are so gorgeous I use them as the art in our home. No fancy paintings for us when we have them to showcase. That’s normal, right? Right! Because even if the unbelievable were true, and they weren’t over-the-top aesthetically pleasing, they are the most beautiful works of art I have ever gazed upon (and made,too!), and I love seeing them on my walls. And every time I can’t stop staring at them, and I tell them how perfect they are, I really mean it. That’s the truth.
Can you honestly say if you care what your kids look like?
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