We all make so many assumptions as a mean of simplifying our complex existences. Pirates, bad. Sunny days on the beach, good. Ice-cream, cold. Babies, cute.
Hold on a minute there, though. Babies, cute? Yeah, right. Oh sure, they eventually grow into cute enough toddlers after a point of time, when you get used to their faces. But honestly speaking, have you never experienced a twinge of true horror and the urge to leap backwards to safety, when a particularly revolting infant is stuck in your face, with the parent's proud accompanying 'And this is our little Chintoo!' or whatever the little creature's name is.
Hey, Baby-lovers out there - you may as well quit reading this post right now - that is, if you are really one of those who actually believe that all babies are cute and adorable. You might also be the type who goes about throwing daisies in the air during springtime, although this is not a judgement on you. But if you are normal, you will have to admit that not all babies are cute. It's a fact of life.
All puppies are cute - or at least, mostly. But not all babies.
The truth about most babies is that they are pasty, patchy-haired, overly pink, and their heads are too large for their bodies (which by the way, are freakishly tiny - especially those little fingers...brrrrr!). And their parents just do not seem to notice this fact - they are completely oblivious and in love with what they have done.
In the recent past, I have met some really ghastly-looking specimen. It goes like this: You peer into the crib, expecting to be charmed (in your usual naive, trusting manner). And then, you are rewarded with the sight of an unappealing onion-head with defiant eyes staring like the devil, right into your very soul. You start back involuntarily and hit your husband's nose with the back of your head. Your heart leaps into your throat and you suppress it somehow with a gulp. Without a moment's respite, you are then immediately faced with a beaming, expectant, adult face. It is at this point that you salvage the situation by finding your breath and exclaiming, perfectly honestly:
'My god! It looks just like YOU'.
You are then gently admonished by being told that THAT is the uncle and not the father, and secondly, the baby is not an 'It' but a 'he or she' - as the case may be. You decide it wisest not to argue these facts and move on, allowing others to gush dishonestly over the little beast.
Once you have left the room, you breathe a sigh of relief and start to talk to your husband about the terrible experience - you stop dead in your tracks when you realise that your husband is no longer with you, having omitted to follow you out the door. You head back and see everyone crowded around a delightful sight. Your husband appears truly enamoured by the child, tossing it in the air while it gurgles happily, establishing a special bond by making ridiculous faces that make the baby look good, and also appears to be in the process of teaching the baby its first words. Trust me to be married to the world's most natural Dad.
Either way, all hope is not lost when you see a really ugly baby. I know this because I have seen baby pictures of my friend Richa. Luckily, we have known each other only around 13 years and not before that. If I had met her as an infant, my little heart may not have survived it.
She was uuggh-ly. The old pictures were thankfully black-and-white so as to mask some of the true horror of her persona. It was the usual bright faced infant, head three times the size of the body, hair that began only at the top of her head, giving her the impression of a bad combover like Donald Trump's and wide, staring, round eyes - and for some reason, she would look straight at the camera every time, with this really puzzled expression that seemed to say 'D-uh! Is THIS expression scary enough? No? Let's try again!'
Anyway, the good news is that she is perfectly good-looking now. Except in photographs - the expression hasn't changed at all.
So the bottom line is: let's call a spade a spade, shall we? And if you can't say anything nice, just don't say anything. But quit lying through your teeth: the next time you see an ugly baby, just grin and say 'Ohhh...Can I get a picture of Chintoo?' (if the baby's name is Chintoo). Then take it home, compare it with your own early pictures and only then, decide if you have the right to feel superior.
But if I ever have a baby and it's ghastly, remember to just lie to me: because I'm the one who came up with the picture idea, and I will kill you.