Equality in Cuteness

This perspective is difficult to admit, even to myself. But maybe I’m just getting old and that’s the way my point of view naturally shifts. Maybe I’ve studied and contemplated the Buddhist approach to reality long enough that my world view must inevitably shift to see things in a whole new light. Maybe my husband’s tendency toward the curmudgeonly has rubbed off.

The latest leap came yesterday as I was surfing blogs. I ran across page after page of mommies cooing about their kids in the sweetest way. These parents are so excited about their new little bundle and they want to chronicle every tiny moment, share every second with the entire world. Up until yesterday it warmed my heart to see other people appreciating the magic that is parenthood.

But yesterday, as I scrolled past the umpteenth photo of edible baby toes, the epiphany came: All Baby Toes Are Equally Cute.

This is an innocuous enough admission, until we begin to examine where this observation will lead: Your Child’s Adorable Toes are Not a New Revelation.

Can a person get bored with baby toes? Has my heart grizzled to the point where I am no longer wooed by such an amazing manifestation of life’s gloriousness?

I know that for the rest of my life, whenever baby toes are in my immediate vicinity, I will always take advantage of the opportunity to appreciate them, whether they are attached to my own child’s foot or the foot of a stranger’s baby.

But is this what I am wasting so much time in front of a monitor for, to witness the minutiae of another parent’s trip? Is this why we enter the online universe, to obsessively chronicle each step of the journey? Are we not trying to get to a different place, a “What Does It All Mean” Big Picture?

I know — harsh, dude. Not trying to be a buzz kill. Like I say, maybe it’s age. I remember wanting to freeze every second in an immortal record, to share the awe-inspiring experience of a new being. I remember being so deeply inside the connection with a newborn that the whole rest of the world became fuzzy and pointless.

And as a new parent, that’s exactly where you’re supposed to be.

But after having many, many of those experiences, and observing that others register a similar experience, I feel done with the newbie exclamations of intensely personal awestruck amazement.

Maybe I am just ready to take this fact of, yes, we as parents are incredibly lucky to be part of such a wonderful thing, and see what’s up around the bend. To witness the larger implications of the extreme adorableness of baby toes such as these:

I guess where I’m going with this new perspective is to remind these parents, enamored with the bits of flesh and bone that grip the plush carpet in their nice home (because aren’t most of us bloggers the privileged people who can afford to have a digital camera, computer, internet connection, and the time and energy to use them?) that they need to do more than swoon and take pictures.

When they encounter a rude teenage boy, they need to remember that his toes were once as cute as their own little tyke’s. When they are stuck in line with a cashier who is having such a hard day she can’t keep it together enough to be friendly or helpful, they must keep in mind that her child’s toes are just as edible as their own child’s. When they must deal with an old person driving too slowly down the road, they must appreciate that this person’s DNA is likely the blueprint for an entire clan’s worth of adorable digits.

Go beyond the rules, social guidelines, habitual rage and narrow perspective that we all get caught in and base your worldly participation in baby-toe-cuteness, because you as an aware parent know personally, on a visceral level, that it leads you to a new place beyond labels and the limiting pettiness of social conformity.

Take your awestruck gooeyness and make it count.

6 responses to “Equality in Cuteness

  1. I love your writing Elena. Keep writing! This is good stuff.

  2. Thanks Tatiana! If the words keep comin’, I’ll keep sharin’… (my dare to the universe!)

  3. I love your thoughts on this. The job of mothering can be so all-consuming that we develop a sort of tunnel-vision that makes it hard to see past the cuteness of our own baby-toes. I believe this same tunnel-vision is what can keep us from recognizing the common ground we all share as mothers and drive us to participate in the dreaded mommy wars. Our children are all darn cute, and we’re all overflowing with love for them, even as that cuteness and that love motivates us to do things that may seem strange to others!

  4. Agree.

    When I was working in foster care, I would constantly remind people who complained about the children’s behaviours, that they were all “born perfect”.

    • Thanks for your comment, Narelle. Working closely with children in the community seems to be a situation in which this concept of equality would be especially important to be mindful of… and yet difficult to maintain!

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