I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
September 12, 2011
After Punky was born (and…well… after her smooshed newborn face had straightened out a bit and she’d lost that loathsome infant acne), I couldn’t wait to show her off to the world.
My new baby was the most adorable creature that had ever graced this earth, and she had the designer (via consignment, BUT STILL) wardrobe and tiny, handmade hairbows to prove it. I remember showing her off in every possible situation during those first few years, from the grocery to the library, so proud of my baby that I could pop. I also remember glancing around surreptitiously to see what kind of impact the World’s Most Beautiful Baby was having on the mere mortals surrounding her. Those who ooh’ed and ahh’ed appropriately received a beatific (if somewhat smug) smile from me in return. Those who didn’t–
They got the stink eye.
Any new mother can relate to how I felt. We show off our firstborn children with the same mooney-eyed pride that an overnight multi-millionaire exhibits when he takes his first Ferrari out for a spin. It doesn’t matter if the kid has jug ears or eleven toes– a new mom finds nothing more beautiful in this world than her baby, and she fully expects everyone else to agree with her assessment. And so when I see these moms fussing over their babies in restaurants or at the mall, I try to cut them some slack, even if their angelic little cherubs are busy screeching like apes in heat or noisily pooping their diapers. I fully remember those days when my child could do no wrong. That time is precious, and it really does pass all too quickly.
Or at least, it should.
The problem is that while for most of us, the newness inevitably wears off around the second or third year and we realize with a start that the universe actually doesn’t exist simply to pay homage to our impossibly beautiful butterlumps, a few moms and dads out there STILL persist in the belief that their children are in fact rosy little demigods, placed here on this earth for all to honor and revere.
No one thinks your kid is cute but you.
Of course I’m not insinuating that you in particular, dear reader, are one of the offenders.
Unless you’re the dad who was shopping at Kroger last weekend and blocking the entire aisle with his cart while he tended to his fighting four and six-year-old daughters seated in the front. It wasn’t so much that he was helping them — We’ve all faced the humiliation of trying to calm down our kids while inconveniencing others.
No, it was the way he smiled indulgently as they shrieked like hyenas and looked at everyone around him as if to say, “Are these sonic barrier-busting gremlins not the MOST FREAKIN’ ADORABLE CREATURES YOU HAVE EVER SEEN IN YOUR LIFE?”
No, sir, they were not. MOVE YOUR CART.
I know you’ve seen these parents. They’re the ones grinning like idiots as their kids throw pudding in Applebees. The ones snickering appreciatively at their child’s astonishing cleverness each of the 50 times he shouts something out during the movie. The ones who think it’s just hilarious when their kid pushes your kid down during a pee wee soccer game and the ref doesn’t see it.
Not cute, parents. NOT. CUTE.
“I love children,” a mom friend said to me once. “As long as they’re mine.” I’ve learned over time to assume that most people feel this way. And while I really do believe that my children are the most precious, most intelligent, most worthy of cheek-pinching moppets to ever call Tennessee home, I’m trying to remember that to the casual observer, they probably just look like very ordinary, slightly grubby ticking time bombs, prone to erupting into a screaming fit at any minute.
I want to raise my kids to convince them otherwise– and on those occasions that they manage to do just that, and a stranger comments on it…
Don’t be surprised if a tidal wave of pent-up pride comes roaring out of my heart, in the form of an ear-to-ear grin and a heartfelt, “I know.”
It’s the best I can do.