The following was syndicated from The Pepper Dolores for The Fatherly Forum, a community of parents and influencers with insights about work, family, and life. If you’d like to join the Forum, drop us a line at [email protected].
Some people act like crazy motherf–kers around babies. Wait, that’s not how I wanted to start. Let me try again.
People behave in silly ways around babies. They goo, they gah, they bah bah bah. Give me the most serious person in the world and when they see a baby watch them screw their face into expressions that would rival Jerry Lewis. It’s instinct. Like breathing.
I know this for a fact because my wife and I have a 3-month-old baby girl in our possession. That makes her sound like a weapon. I guess she is in some ways. Our newborn is a WMD on our sanity.
However, all she has to do is smile once every 24 hours, and we melt like butter on a windowsill on a hot, summer day. I think Tennessee Williams wrote that. The point is she’s ours. We made her all by ourselves. We didn’t even have to ask our parents for help.
Some people who visit our storage unit (aka our NYC apartment) to meet our baby are too enthusiastic. They stick their face in her face and make a soundtrack of weird, loud noises and stretch their mouths like taffy. The over the top performance incites laughter from the little one.
My wife and I say things like, “Aw, you made her laugh” or “She likes you” or “You look like a real asshole right now.”
Her laughs turn to blood-curdling screams shortly after the guests leave.
Think about how you’d like it if someone you didn’t know was a raving lunatic 3 inches from your face.
Imagine you’re sitting in your home chilling out in your favorite bouncy chair. You’ve just finished eating 2 full breast’s worth of milk and are feeling pretty damn good. Relaxed. You might even take a nap. So what if it’s the middle of the day. You’ve got nowhere to be.
A stranger bursts in screeching like a hyena on acid. Before you have a chance to put your pants on, she gets up in your grill.
She’s flapping her lips with her index finger. She’s making bird noises. She’s crossing her eyes. She’s wagging her tongue. If this lady were out on streets, the white coats would throw her into the back of a van and drive her up to Bellevue.
Then as quickly as she entered your life, poof, she’s gone. Like Kaiser Soze. You’re left trying to put the pieces together.
“Where she’d come from? More importantly, where’d she go? I liked the attention at first, but not a huge fan of how she invaded my personal space. Now she’s gone. What’s on the other side of that door? Is a pit? An abyss? Is she endlessly plummeting as I lie here drooling? Are we all endlessly plummeting? And who am I really? Oh Jesus, is she dead? She was so full of life and now she’s dead!”
This unraveling of logical thought causes the baby to become inconsolable.
We think that babies can’t process what’s going on, but in my opinion babies are over processing. Their imaginations run wild and unrestrained like a naked darkwad at Burning Man. I had to look that up, but I’m pretty confident it’s a sound metaphor.
So to anyone coming over to meet my new baby or any new baby for that matter, just chill out. Say hello, smile, introduce yourself. Do some light miming. Think about how you’d like it if someone you didn’t know was a raving lunatic 3 inches from your face. Put yourself in the baby’s shoes.
Not that you can fit into baby shoes, but you know what I mean.
Gabe Capone is a writer, comedian, and goofball. He writes for The Pepper Dolores.