Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Life Skills for the Almost 30 - Praising Babies

At this age, there is a greater probability that a single Almost-30 would be surrounded by other Almost-30 friends who are pregnant or who have given birth to wonderful bundles of joy. Last year, in my own 6 degrees of separation network, there must’ve been at least a dozen friends and acquaintances who were visited by the stork. Happy for them -- and a little envious of them -- I am. I honestly could understand their delight, anticipation and excitement. Then they start posting videos and pictures of sonograms, 2-day old pics, 3-day old pics, 4-day-old pics, (….), first haircut, first solid food tasting, first Lady Gaga song… you get the picture, right? Much as I love babies, I could only empathize for so long with someone I last saw 12 years ago during high school graduation. Then comes the ubiquitous question, “My bebe is so CUTE/GUWAPO/GANDA, noh?”

Well, but of course! All babies are beautiful. I am the first to testify to that. But beauty has different sub-sets, we all know that as well, don’t we? So you, who were raised before the Anti-Corporal Punishment law and were “disciplined” by kneeling on monggo seeds in a bilao for lying to someone, now face a moral dilemma: To lie or not to lie?

What I learned: LIE.

Lie through gritted teeth if you have to. Bite the bullet and say something—anything--- nice. If the baby has a Cabbage Patch Kid nose, comment on the full-fringed eyelashes. If the baby boy is strapped to his crib because his ears are so big he might flap ‘em in his sleep and fly away like Dumbo, tell the parents you have never seen such beautiful, adorable feet in your entire life. If the baby girl has alien E.T. eyes, say she’s so sweet it reminds you of M&M’s. And if you made a double take cos you thought it was the family pet pug lying inside the cot, you declare that you have never seen a more serene baby, and oh, see that, a smile!

But before you crucify me for telling, in what my opinion is, the truth, let us focus on what it would take to lie to a parent point blank. You have to take the question and improvise. You have to look at something unpretty and find a redeeming grace. Don't invent new characteristics and praise a non-existent strong jaw. Just find the strengths and work with that. To ace the skill of praising babies, you have to re-learn how to look at things and see the way we used to: with wonder, with gratitude, with joy.

When we learn to praise babies for the miracle they simply are, what could stop us from recognizing beauty in the ordinary in our everyday lives? Praising babies is merely the intermediate level exercise for the bigger thing: finding magic in the mundane. This skill will save your life in the long run.

And someday, when I have my own babies, and my gene skipped (aherm, aherm) and they are absolutely horrendous looking? If you’re really my friend, you will lie to me too.

An interesting Post Script:

Writing this made me conscious about the probability of having pretty babies. So I did one of those online morph thingies which predicts how your baby will look like. I tried to see how my David will look if I end up with one of these hot guys:
Matt Bomer
 Ian Somerhalder

Ian Meimban

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:56 PM

    the second baby almost looks like suri cruise