Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I believe the children are our future.

Babies are fascinating creatures. Oh, sure, you could say that they're just miniature adults...but you would be misstating the case by a wide margin.

To begin with, there's that freakishly soft spot in the middle of their head. What's that all about? You'd think they'd have an extra-thick piece of skull there, so that it could thin out as they grow bigger. You'll understand that thick skulls on toddlers are an extra-good idea if you've ever watched how many times they slam their heads into just about anything they can reach.

Babies are also much more devious than adults, and in ways that adults would never think of. You never see an adult waiting until their primary caregiver is looking the other way and then dumping their lunch on the floor for the dog. You never have to change an adult's diaper twice in a row because they waited until after the first change to really do their business. Well, okay, I'll admit maybe you do. I've never changed an adult's diaper, but I bet you don't.

Babies also never lack self-confidence. They are the ruler of all they survey, period. If you don't like it, you'd better have earplugs, because they will tell you about it if they need to. You will be there at their beck and call whenever they feel like it's necessary, and woe to the feckless adult who disbelieves the baby's primacy in the order of things. They will grab you by the eardrums and make you understand your error at decibel levels that will shatter an ice cube.

Babies are also deeply interesting in other physical ways. Most babies can literally put their foot in their mouth. Many do it frequently. Most adults can only do it figuratively. Alas, many do it frequently. I know one baby who to all appearances has only one bone, that being her skull. I swear you can tie this girl in a square knot and as long as she's not hungry, it will simply earn you a delighted smile. While most babies, as I said, can put their foot in their mouth, she can do it from behind, if you lift her leg up backwards. I only did that once, and I immediately stopped because it felt acutely like child abuse. On most children, it certainly would have been. She took it in stride. Ah, nice to stretch that thigh muscle, it was getting a little tight.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of babies in particular and children in general is their effect on various adults. You can learn a lot about a person by how they react when they come into the presence of a baby, especially if the baby is interested in them. Some people get so tense it looks like they're about to go into seizures. Others seem to actually lose bodily integrity as their features melt into a grotesque smile/grimace/whatever and they begin to speak in tongues to the child. I always wondered why babies didn't get more scared when a grown woman (it's usually a woman) kneels down to their level, makes a contorted face and starts to babble uncontrollably at them. I'd be looking for my mom about that time. Er, unless the babbler is my mom. Then I'd probably just cry, and maybe look for a policeman.

The most interesting thing about babies? I think it's the fact that when they grow up, many of them will go to pieces at the sight of...babies. And the world goes round.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe what this country needs is a baby ruler! Brutal honesty and unconditional love!