Sunday, February 26, 2017

Remarkably Cute

As a culture, we seem to find children appealing from birth through about age nine. Then their enchanting qualities seem to fly with them into a Bermuda Triangle for children. There is very little word coming from parents about the kids, very little word coming from the kids themselves, and very few of us asking their parents about them during this time.  
Image: Teece Aronin

This is typically true until they start actually achieving something beyond the usual infant-toddler milestones. This happens at around age 17 when they emerge from the Triangle with a free ride to Stanford, inclusion as an alternate on the US Olympic Swim Team, or some other accomplishment guaranteed to save their parents thousands or land them on television for reasons having nothing to do with drug busts or car thefts.   

Nine-and-a-half seems to be the cutoff for cuteness unless you have to be around the child, in which case you probably continue to find him cute, just not cute enough to comment on to anyone outside the family. Then of course, once he becomes a full-blown teen, he's not cute at all until the accomplishments phase kicks in at which time he is once again golden. 

Grandparents on the other hand, talk about grandchildren prior to the wee ones' conceptions. I doubt that even their own deaths shut up proud grandparents for long. I'm imagining my mother in Heaven, chatting up the other angels over cards, and regaling them with stories about her grandson starting driver's ed, and her granddaughter's riding lessons.  
"She's learning - I forget what they call it - English style; that's it - you know, where they ride the horse and only have the reins to hang on with? I don't know how she does it, but she has me on extra angel duty, let me tell you. If she fell it would be the second death of me. And of course, once Jon starts driving, I'll be watching one or the other of them all the time."

I'm not sure why children seem less "remarkable" - literally - once they approach their tween years. It might have something to do with adolescents becoming sullen and anesthetized delinquents - temporarily. 

But whatever it is, we parents see them safely into the Triangle, cross our fingers and hope like hell, then greet them when they come out the other side.