It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Parental Blindness?

Some children are pretty criers. Their enormous round eyes well up with tears, the lower lip pops out and sweetly trembles. Without being clutching and clinging, they are the very picture of pathos, and you just want to scoop right up and make it all better. Okay, me being me, depending on the reason for the tears, I might laugh at them instead, but you get the drift. Some kids are just so damned appealing when they cry.

And some kid? Some kids, there is no way around it, are not pretty criers. Their eyes go red, their face goes blotchy, their mouth goes square, and the snot and drool flow as liberally as the tears. Snot and drool which get smeared on your clothing as they cling and scratch, scrambling up your body. Of course I respond to their tears, just as I would to the Gerber baby’s tears, but appealing? Not so much.

As far as I can make out, their parents are oblivious. To them, their child’s tears are sweetly adorable. But who knows? If you were to watch me with the less-than-adorable child, you wouldn’t know that, deep down inside, part of me is going, “Ew. Can you just swallow all that drool, please??” So maybe the parents are having a layered response, doing the right parenting thing even as they think less worthy thoughts.

I dunno. How would I find out? Can you picture that conversation? “So, your kid’s really pretty gross when she cries, isn’t she? How do you deal with that?”



My own kids? They were all pretty criers.

Sez me.

But now I wonder. I don’t have any videos of them crying. Maybe they were all horribly unappealing criers. Maybe they grossed people out left, right, and centre. Maybe they were blotchy and whiny and snotty and drooly and just overall ‘bleah, ew, step back from my shirt, kid’ … to anyone else but their besotted mummy. Maybe mother love protects our children, and prevents us from seeing what is obvious to the rest of the world.

I think I’m pretty objective about my kids, all in all… but of course, you can’t be 100% objective.

When my eldest was a mere day or two old, I was presented with a passport-sized photo of my new baby girl. It was the practice of that hospital to take a picture of the babies, so that the parents could put them in birth announcements if they liked.

I looked at the picture in dismay. “They can’t be serious!” I thought. “Put THAT in a birth announcement?” When I described it to the grandparents a week or so later, I said, “They made her look like a slug with eyeballs!” And we all leaned over the cradle and agreed that our preshush sweetums did NOT look like a slug with eyeballs, oh no, she didn’t!!!

But now I wonder… It’s just possible that, 24 hours after her birth, she was not the beautiful girl she grew to be. Maybe, 24 hours after her birth, that picture was an accurate representation of my sweet daughter. Maybe, 24 hours after birth, the picture made her look like a slug with eyeballs… because she looked like a slug with eyeballs.

So I wonder about the generous blindness mother nature gives parents (and grandparents).

What do you think? Do you know any kids who are just, well, kind of ugly criers? And do their parents know it?

September 27, 2011 Posted by | eeewww, parents | , , , , | 14 Comments