Sunday, October 26, 2008


Ramona is beautiful. This is, understandably, not the most objective statement I have ever typed. And yet I think it is hard to deny. She has a big smile and huge blue eyes. But also a sparkly personality--she flirts and waves and grins at everyone she meets.

I am aware that people pay attention to babies. I am a baby gawker myself--I stop and make faces, admire their outfit, make an ass of myself. But we can't go anywhere without people tripping all over themselves to talk to Ramona. At the Y, when we go for her swim lessons, everyone comes to admire her. The other baby in her class only gets attention from his mother and the teacher. I have lost count of how many people stop me to tell me she should be in commercials. How many people emailed me Gap's Baby Model contest demanding that I enter her.

She clearly loves the attention and, for now, I think it is good for her to interact with so many people. And who wouldn't enjoy having their baby be almost universally admired (GOD, could I sound like even more of an asshole)?

I do worry. See, I was that cute baby before (though I don't know that I ever got so much attention). But I outgrew those looks and became a completely ordinary person. Since, my husband is just on the handsome side of normal and I am the plain side of normal I doubt that Ramona will grow into some sort of raving beauty. The world is kind to those who are especially beautiful--but I can't help but think that her being just plain normal isn't a bad thing either.

What I do worry about, probably prematurely, is that she is admired so much for her looks. That she will be sad when that attention is gone, but also be more upset than is healthy. I want my daughter to know that she is beautiful but I hope that she grows up and realizes that it really isn't that important. I don't want her to value looks above everything else. I don't want her self-esteem to crash down around her ankles during the awkward years to come.
There is also the gender issue. Would everyone focus so much on her appearance if she were a boy (probably)? I am ridiculously careful about complementing her skills (you sat up so SO LONG without falling down, you got stuck under the coffee table again but you DO IT SO WELL) instead of just her prettiness. It's like this ridiculous circle of stupid. But I can't help worrying about it. I have to admit that I am worried that she will be this beautiful child and grow into a less than gorgeous adult and WOW. Self esteem crush.
I am sure she will be fine. We all will be. And one day she will morph into a plain little girl. And I will still tell her she is the most beautiful girl in the world.


Frank said...

She is a cutie.

eeek said...

I was the baby/child that regularly received free stuff from strangers until I was about 11, which is around the time that puberty set in and then it didn't matter because everyone is stupid to pre-teens and teens. Enjoy the compliments and kindness from others and know your daughter is beautiful and she always will be in her own way.

Linda said...

Ah, obsessing about the issues early on.

I know what you mean. You want to do the best job to make sure your child values herself inside and out, but for some reason, it is hard not to fall into the trap of defining them based on their cuteness. Maybe it's because our kids are THAT cute? Ok, probably not helping much here... heh