A Baby

July 28, 2006

This little thing is my new nephew, born a couple of weeks back. The photo came to me with the following stream of consciousness:

These are the "newbie" pictures of Caleb. We have a bunch more, but they are in a slide show that I don't know how to turn into individual pictures. He's even cuter now! Ben- why isn't there a picture of this gorgeous baby on your web page?? I think he looks just like you! Caleb Lee Myers, born July 8, 2006 at 11:21pm, weighing 7lbs, 8oz, and at 22 inches long (Yes, he was almost two feet long!!)... Talk to you all soon! Love, Sarah & Neil

Sarah didn't get the newscast where they explained that due to lack of rain in Georgia, the exclamation point crop is seriously damaged this season. They asked that exclamation points be used sparingly until the current drought is alleviated.

So we're all very proud to have another kid in the family. Yet...

I have to be honest. All newborn babies look alike to me. Almost exactly alike. Race of the child doesn't seem to even make a difference. I've seen black babies who look just like this.

I think this is true for everyone, but it's just taboo to say so. And I'm guessing that lots of people withhold their opinion that the red, wrinkly things aren't all that cute. As with brides, you have to pretend that all babies are beautiful.

Since we all looked pretty much like this, it causes me no surprise to learn, "I think he looks just like you!" I think all uncles -- but particularly those of use who live in different cities -- get told this sort of thing in an attempt to endear the new kid to the new family.

Heck, my previous nephew got saddled with Benjamin as a middle name. Perhaps that was to bribe me into liking him when he was a wrinkly red prune, or perhaps I deserve a namesake because I'm a really cool guy. The fact that I like him now is because he's a great kid rather than the fact that he was named for a really neato grown up.

Let's call a spade a spade, and just for today, agree to admit the following rules of thumb.

Newborn babies:

Usually kind of ugly.

One year olds:

Have their own look and personality, and they are usually pretty cute by then.

Toddlers and Little Kids:

Almost always adorable.

Older kids:

Develop their own way. We all know someone who was an awkward kid that one year returned from Summer break as a beauty. Heck, we saw Marsha Brady facilitate such a change for a classmate in the course of one episode. Conversely, we've also known people who peaked in cuteness when they were six. It's part of what makes people interesting. No matter how you slice it, they ultimately turn into snotty teenagers. Sorry parents, there's nothing you can do about that.


They aren't all beautiful. Just check the wedding page in Sunday's paper. But when we're together in person, it's okay to pretend that they all are.