I make no secret of my love for all things small and cute. Babies come at the top of my cuteness list but as with many other people, anything small kinda gets me. Kittens, foals, puppies, lion cubs, chicks, ducklings, calves, baby elephants…if it’s a baby, I love it. Even baby alligators, piglets and baby vultures are cute to me despite having no love for them when they are fully grown. This love is so bad (or good) that I am in love with Baby Oleg. Yes, the one from comparethemarket.com adverts.
So here is the formula for making me fall in love with you no matter how pretty or sweet you are in reality. First you have to be small, the smaller the better. Preterm babies, chicks, puppies and kittens. All tiny when born and soooo cute. Not that baby elephants, calves and foals are not cute. They are too because they are tiny in comparison to their mamas. Then it’s how young you are. The fresher the baby is, the harder it tugs on my heartstrings so as a paediatrician I am in baby heaven because when foetuses are in trouble during labour, I get called in first and I get to be the first person that handles the new-born. The best part of my job. Even the slimy stuff that covers them is cute to me. The best bit though is wiping them dry and rubbing them down and most of them will open their eyes and stare hard at you as they try to work out what is happening to them. That first look always gets me.
This brings me neatly to my biggest raison d’etre when it comes to babies. Their eyes. I do not know what it is exactly about the eyes but I go gaga over babies’ eyes. When they open their eyes as wide as they will stretch and focus in on your face short-sightedly, I simply melt. I think it is because their irises (the coloured bits) take up most of the visible eye and their pupils tend to dilate as they try and fail to focus properly. And the expression is always one of wonder and surprise. I think it is a combination of the size of the iris, the focussed way they stare at you and the expression that gets me every time. Honestly, if anyone could produce that combination on demand, I would probably fall in love with them. Love the eyes!
There are other things that make me love them apart from the eyes and small-ness. I love the skin on a new-born – the soft almost velvety skin that makes you want to take a little nip to see if they taste as sweet as they feel. I love how simple their lives are comparatively. They just want to eat, wee, poo and sleep. How simple is that?! I love their wriggle – the little involuntary movements that is their way of communicating what they want as previously mentioned. I love the way they are totally dependent on the person that takes care of their needs, usually mum but actually whoever sorts them out regularly. I love that they are blank canvases with the largest capacity for learning and growth and that you as their parent are all-knowing as far as the baby cares. I love the sounds that they make; the cooing, the happy chortle and eventually their laugh. I even love their cry and I will hasten to say that as a paediatrician I know their cry is not always cute but I am not talking about abnormal persistent crying. I am talking about the healthy pre-term who starts out not making the smallest town to when they learn to cry and it comes out like a kitten mewling at you. OMG! That is surely one of the cutest things in the world.
All in all, I will confess that I love babies and I am not ashamed to say it. I love how small they are, their eyes, their smell, their skin, their wriggle and the cute sounds they make. What is not to love I ask you? I cannot wait to have one of mine!