Thursday, October 18, 2007

Babies As Bumperstickers

I have a friend who once told me how much she hated walking through the Salt Lake City airport with her baby. It wasn't about the airport. It was the way people looked at her and assumed that because she was a young white woman with a baby she must also be a Mormon. Mormonism is a big topic for someone with no ribcage, so let's set that one aside. The point is, before you ever say word (in English or half-assed French), you'll speak volumes about whoever is holding you.

Humans are tribal. We constantly broadcast our affiliations. A Yankees hat says you like winners. A Che T-shirt says you like berets. A Sean Hannity bumpersticker says you're an asshat. Ditto with those barbed wire tattoos I warned you about. All these things cultivate a carefully assembled picture of how we want the world to see us.

And then you have a baby and it all goes down the drain. Whatever you were before doesn't matter. Suddenly, you're just the poor sap carrying a Blue's Clues backpack and pushing a stroller. It's what's inside the stroller that says everything. This is why you see babies with mohawks or crapping into Notre Dame diapers. Anything to try to get you guys on message.

Names are the obvious place to start. Between talking to a six year old and spending five hours in a police car yesterday (see what a full life I'm leading while I'm still free!) these are the names I came across: Presious, Tavory, Britney, Peyton, Skyler, and Ikea. You see what I'm saying? If we think it sends the right message about us, we'll name kids after strippers, misspelled words, or low cost Swedish furniture chains.

And you're not the only who gets a new name. Your prospective grandparents have opened discussions on how they want to be identified in the post-Bear era. Na-na, pop-pop, gam-gam? They all sound like foods for denture wearers to me, but who am I to judge. I'm thinking of going with something other than Dad myself. I'm sure it will be great the first time you call me Da-da, but how much better would it be if you called me Mr. President or Dr. Huxtable instead?

Nobody wants to be generic, not even your parents, even if that's how they'll always seem to you. And it if takes naming you Costco and making all your clothes out of grass to avoid the soul sucking SUV-driving-soccer-parent label, then Costco, prepare to wear lots of green. At least until you learn to dress yourself or file an injunction.

I should also mention that the news of your arrival is out. Lots of screaming, congratulations, etc. Several friends have attempted to reassure me that their own little Costcos are brewing and will arrive within days of you, so we'll have lots of support. It sounds good, but something tells me that none of them are going to wipe you butt or show you how to put a condom on a banana, so I'm guessing their support will be mostly moral, which everyone knows is the worst kind. For my money, your great grandmother had the best reaction, which was that she basically nodded, said she doesn't babysit, and went back to eating her dinner. I have a soft spot for people who hate babies. I'm thinking of building a shrine for the ones who can get away with saying it.

Novel - Procrastinating
Dunking - Hoping to find a program for just getting taller
French - Maybe we'll name you Jacques and you'll magically pick it up.

1 comment:

Amy said...

To be fair to my sweet grandmother, my father apparently had 9 months of severe colic. She and my g-dad had to sit up nightly, taking one-hour shifts to rock him or he would wail 24-7. No wonder she's not a fan of babies!


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