A friend recently told me that the twins are really starting to “get some individuality,” “flesh themselves out,” and “actually look cute.” I had to work to squelch the slight — okay, more than slight — offense that I felt myself taking. Before I became a dad, I barely paid attention to whether any particular baby that I happened to run across was “cute.” I didn’t think one infant was any cuter than any of the others, really. They were just babies…with cue ball heads, sometimes with weird, scraggly hair, drool-covered mouths, a random splotch here or there, a nose that could almost always use another wipe, mixture of generally foreign, often downright off-putting, smells if you got too close. Fingers? Now, any baby’s fingers were a different matter. They were fascinating even before I became a dad…so tiny but so much “older” looking, often with miniature nails. Stopping to ponder the fingers, that I could get behind…but the rest of them just kind of smacked of…”baby”…generic “baby”…until of course, I had my own kids, and a pair of parental goggles apparently flipped over my eyes. I suddenly thought everything about Cory and Fisher was “fleshed out” and “individual” and “cute” from minute one.
I should still be close enough to remember a time without those goggles, though. So, it was appropriate that I squelch any slight that I was feeling, right? I should be able to remember and understand her (childless) perspective. Right, squelch.
She then went on to characterize Cory and Fisher as — for the first six months of their lives — “bug-eyed premies.” Bug-eyed premies? Bug-eyed? Did she just…bug-eyed? Them’s fightin’…squelch, squelch. “You know, with oversized heads and eyes, just looking like little aliens lying there…” Okay. All right. B*tch, I don’t know where you get off suddenly characterizing my kids as visitors from Mars when you just walked in here with that haircut and that…you’d better back the… Squelch. Squelch.
Later that evening, I scroll through the pictures of them throughout their first six months. Did they have bug eyes? Had they looked like little green “men”? Could I just not see it anymore, blinded by these weird parent-colored glasses? In trying to look at their pictures with a distanced eye, I can catch glimpses of what she meant, but those glimpses of “bug-eyed premies” click so quickly away, and I just see Cory or Fisher, whatever they look like to me — whatever they mean to me — in my head. There must be some truth there in what she says, but it is hard for me to see.
Maybe when they are five or six, I will look back at these pictures and blanch, better able to see that only a parent could have appreciated their personality, uniqueness, and beauty at the time, but, I guess that’s what their parents are for right now…to see personality, uniqueness, and beauty where others see blobs that need to flesh out, with alien heads and bug eyes.