Monday, July 13, 2009

Ready, Set, Dough OR Bringing up baby

Just when I think I have been in enough awkward situations for one lifetime, life goes and puts me into a totally new, totally awkward situation.

It wasn’t even the most awkward thing that has ever happened to me. It probably wasn’t any more awkward than, say, meeting your girlfriend’s parents or sharing a seat on the city bus with someone wearing a tin foil hat who talks to you about his attempts to contact “The Mothership.” It was just totally new genre of awkwardness. Awkwardness has genres, you know, like movies.

I’m in training for my job as a social worker, and many social workers are touchy feely people who like to talk about feelings. They also love anything new age or organic. Anyway, at the beginning of class our instructor gave my classmates and I little containers of Play Doh and asked us each to make a “baby.” Then we had to name it. Then we had to mingle with each other and tell each other about our “babies.”

If someone had walked by and asked, “What are you guys doing in there?” we would’ve had to reply, “Making babies.”

I can’t even remember the point of the activity. All I remember was that some people will overacheive at everything they do. These people were super proud of their Play Doh babies and had obviously put a lot of work into them. Some were talking about their babies like they were real. One woman actually said to me, “Look at my clay baby! His name is Rupert. Isn’t he cute?” What do you say to that? “Yeah, he looks like you”? It was so surreal.

Having to look at someone’s Play Doh baby and fake compliment it was a lot like looking at someone’s real baby and have to fake compliment it. Awkward.

The fact of the matter is that I’ve seen some weird looking babies in my day. But don’t worry, if you have a weird looking baby, you won’t know it because you have parent eyes. Everyone thinks their baby is the cutest. Evolution made it happen that way so that people are motivated to protect their young. If parents were capable of realizing their baby was ugly, they may be less apt to protect them from predators.

Even animals that are ugly in their adult form can be cute when they are babies. A person’s best chance at being “cute” is when they are a baby, so an ugly baby is kind of out of luck.

I’ve seen weird looking kids with OK looking parents and I’m not sure how it happens. I guess the baby got all of the weirdest parts from each parent.

But don’t worry. If you want to show me your baby I won’t lie to you. If it’s a cute baby I will say, “What a cute baby!” If it’s an ugly baby I will say, “What a… baby.”

Or maybe I won’t say anything.

PS - Speaking of babies, my sister is having her baby boy next month and she and her husband aren't coming up with any good names. Please feel free to leave a name suggestion in a comment.