Makes Me Sigh, Mildly Amusing


“He’s cuter than he used to be.”

This was a comment that I overheard recently at a family gathering. When I realized the speaker was referring to my son, I laughed involuntarily. Not a belly laugh, but a sniff of disbelief as though I were trying to expel a gnat from my nose. Cuter than he used to be! Absurd.

Her words seeped into the spongy part of my brain that processes and analyzes. I was surprised when I started to feel a little indignant. What exactly did she mean by that? That Sean wasn’t cute to start with but was just now approaching entry level cute? She was obviously unaware that the nurse in the delivery room had pronounced him “too cute” at birth. Too cute — too, as in unbearably cute, a level of cuteness that could not be tolerated, criminally cute. A professional nurse would not lie about something as serious as that.

It was the first time that it had ever occurred to me that there might be someone on the earth who didn’t see Sean as I do – that someone might actually think that he is not cute, but just average, just so-so. I was astonished.

As conversations about cousins, weather and jobs rose and fell and floated around the room, I held the expression of someone who was listening intently. I nodded and said things like “Is that right? You don’t say” all while diagramming those six words in my head. Cuter than he used to be.

What if she were right? What if I was mistaken and Sean wasn’t catalog cover cute? I kneaded this idea like a cat atop a velvet pillow. Silently, purposefully, obsessively pushing, pushing. Would it be so bad if my kid wasn’t cute or would it just be bad that I was so blind?

As I pondered these things, I recalled that it was just the other day that Antique Daddy and I were looking through some early photos of Sean and we both agreed, and even laughed about how deluded we were. We didn’t remember him looking so goofy. We didn’t remember that his head looked like a big bald happy toothless bowling ball attached to drunken rag doll body. We thought he was too cute. And to us he was too cute – so stunningly and unbearably cute that we could little else but sit around and look at him and sigh.

It turns out that he is cuter than he used to be. And I am even more blindly in love with him than I used to be.

24 thoughts on “Cuter

  1. Your writing gets even better. I hope the slower frequency of posts means you are working on something to be published. It is always a pleasure to read your work, and I would love to see it in paper and type.

  2. His big bald bowling bally sister lived here. Girlie didn’t get hair until age two! I think we are meant to see our children as the cutest things on earth while they are young and sucking the very life out of us. (So we don’t give them away!) Kidding!

  3. while I’m glad you got such a great post out of someone’s BIG MOUTH, I would say to just let it go… that is, until you get another great post

  4. I’ve had the same thoughts about my son. Or I’ll look back and think, “why didn’t anyone tell me he needed a haircut?”

  5. You know what, though? I think kids do get cuter as they get older. I mean of course babies are cute, but once they start walking and especially talking, whole new worlds of possible cuteness open up.

  6. The absurdity. That she would even suggest…


    My neighbor told me yesterday that my sweet little princess would have a rude awakening when she started kindergarten. What was THAT supposed to mean?

  7. People are stupid. Someone once told me that my son finally grew into his eyes. I still don’t like her.

    Let me just say that I don’t know what Sean looked like before, but he is definitely adorable now. I don’t for the record think all children are cute, but I do have the sense to keep my mouth shut if I don’t.

  8. The nurses in the hospital where my eldest was born took pictures of the babies for use in birth announcements. You had to pay for them, of course, but still, a nice service.

    I looked at the picture they’d taken of my BEAUTIFUL baby girl, and recoiled. “Ugh, no! It makes her look like a slug with eyeballs.”

    Looking back over the intervening years, I have to wonder: maybe that was what she DID look like her first couple of days! Maybe the photgraph showed me what my maternal eyes couldn’t see?

    Don’t know, don’t care. She’s gorgeous now!

  9. We had the same experience. We thought our daughter was the most beautiful baby ever, and that Gerber should be after us for a picture. And other people fed into this belief system by telling us things like that. But when we look back at the thousand or so pictures, she looked just like a normal sweet baby and nothing extraordinarily special (if we’re honest). But now? Of course, she is the most beautiful child in the universe.

  10. Aw, I’m sure he was adorable. Who is that critical of babies? But I know what you mean – I spent the first year of my son’s life practically hyperventalating over his GREAT AND AMAZING BEAUTY and looking back on his pictures now, I see a pumpkin-headed hairy squatty little baby. Of great and amazing beauty.
    I LOVE your blog! You are so funny!

  11. It doesn’t matter what other people think. Your child will always hold that special place in your heart. I was looking at my nephews the other day and trying to remember what they looked liked when they were wee ones. The grow up so fast!

  12. My friend who gave birth on Monday said, “She gets cuter everyday.” It’s true. It’s part of the growing on you process.

    Like a marriage is, I love my husband more everyday. I can’t wait until he’s like the old holey sock I reach for first thing in the morning because the holes, they perfectly match the warm spots on my foot. 🙂

  13. Jennster is right. They loose all the “cute” by about 8. Now, I still think Jonathan is a good-looking boy, but cute does not really fit anymore.

  14. LOL if she had never made that remark you wouldn’t have had the chance to look back and reflect on cute he really IS.
    I had a friend tell me before how homely her new born was, but she says look at him now… and he is soooo handsome.
    Ill bet your son is adorable.

  15. Don’t believe them. I know cute.
    One Wife (exquisite)
    Two daughters (beautiful)
    Two Grandchildren (gorgeous)
    makes me an expert. Sean is cute.
    Believe me. I’m a photographer.

  16. This cracked me up. Before the birth of our first child, Donn and I, with our very-average looks, worried a little bit about how we would feel if our child wasn’t cute. We were beyond amazed when we gave birth to the cutest child in the entire history of the planet! And I’m not kidding! We took him home, and Donn (a photographer) took some gorgeous black-and-white pictures of our darling. We proudly sent them off to the inlaws. And couldn’t believe, were reeling-in-disbelief shocked, when my father-in-law said, “He’s the ugliest baby in Upper Darby!” It was so horrible. We scratched our head, worried about his eyesight.
    But you know what? When the child was about 5, we happened across those old photos and he sure was a scrawny little newborn with a too-big head.
    He was still the cutest on the planet though. Still is, in fact, although he now shares that title with his brother and sister.

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