Nov 8, 2010  •  In Baby, Claire, Parenting, Personal

The Cutest Baby in the World

J is convinced that Claire is the cutest baby in the world. “How can you look at her and not think that she’s the cutest baby ever? I dare you to show me a cuter baby!”

My parents and in-laws all agree with him and are always marveling over their grandchild.

And once again, I am the lone (reasonable?) voice in the crowd.

“You only think so because she’s your daughter/granddaughter,” I tell them. “I’m sure you would think differently if she were someone else’s kid.”

Uproar usually ensues.

I think Claire is an average-looking baby. Not too hideous (and you have to admit that there are some ugly-looking babies out there) and not too adorable.


Cheering on the Ravens yesterday

There are moments, of course, when she is cooing and looking around the world with her eyes sparkling that I find her absolutely darling. But there are also times when her nose is scrunched up, eyes narrowed and face bright red that I do not consider her looks any more special than your run-of-the-mill baby.

And now that she is starting to pack on the pounds — she is quite the little piggie and is constantly hungry — she is getting fat. Not baby-chubby, mind you, but triple-chin fat with arms and legs that rival those of the Michelin Man. And while J and the grandparents LOVE fat babies (and actually want her to get even fatter), I have never found fat babies that cute. Chubby babies, yes. But fat babies, no.

Surely I am not the only parent who feels this way. Are there any other parents out there who don’t believe their child is the cutest in the whole wide world?

40 Responses to “The Cutest Baby in the World”

  1. Kate says:

    I find this so funny and refreshing because my husband and I always talk about how realistic we'll be about our kids with each other regarding their beauty/smarts. Thanks for honesty :)

  2. Nadine says:

    My mom told me that when I was born she thought i wasn't very cute, and dad confirms this. Of course he says he thought I was the cutesy thing. When I look at my baby pictures I think I was average. I work with babies and yes there are some babies where you think "holy cow, that baby is CUTE!" And then there are those babies where I think, "oh goodness, I hope (s)he will get cute" (my friends daughter OMG! The poor girl…. We all hope she gets cuter)

    And I'm with younonthe chubby baby yes…. Fat baby… NO!

    Good luck on your journey through motherhood.

  3. annie says:

    i totally think claire is the cutest haha :)

  4. Donna says:

    I think that our son is pretty darn cute however, when my husband asked me to rank him, I said that he was a 7.5 out of 10 and that created a huge uproar. Sigh. Maybe it's because he looks more like my husband than me – haha?

  5. Becky says:

    I don't have children yet but I have to say that I absolutely love your honesty regarding this topic!!!

  6. Jane says:

    I just found out from my aunt that when she first saw me at the hospital, she was horrified at how ugly I was. Hopefully that's gone away…

    I personally think newborn babies are all not-so-cute. I don't understand how anyone thinks a red/purple out-of-proportion shut-eyed baby fresh from the womb is cute. I prefer puppies and kittens. But I'm sure babies get better-looking as they get older. But I guess as a parent, maybe you just don't care?

  7. I can't say I believed that about my nieces or nephews. They really were incredibly cute and good looking, even today.

    They kept getting stopped and complimented.. so it wasn't just a grandparent/aunt/family thing for us.

    Newborns are not that adorable. Wait until she gets to 1-year old. She's going to ramp up the cute factor I'm sure

    Makes me think of that Seinfeld episode with Elaine, George, Jerry and that ugly baby in the Hamptons.

  8. Mina says:

    my mom openly says that my sister was not a cute baby. so you're not alone, and thank you for the honesty!

  9. It's great to hear this refreshing viewpoint. We don't have kids yet, but I anticipate also being the lone voice of reason when we do :)

  10. I guess I just don't see the reason to have a "non-cutest" opinion in this case. Who wants more of a world where we discriminate on beauty and cuteness? I don't want anyone telling me I'm "average looking" … let alone my family members.
    I'm just seriously against continually perpetuating a society based on objective beauty, as if there ever was such a thing. Your family members have proven that theory wrong… why hold out on thinking it just might be true? What standards are you already pitting your daughter against that she isn't living up to? I just don't understand who benefits in this situation for judging, I just know who loses.
    (sorry… but this strikes a passionate chord for me)

  11. Geek in Heels says:

    @kimberly michelle — I guess it's a matter of opinion, because I would rather be called average-looking than be told that I'm pretty/cute when I'm not. I'm sorry if you took offense at this post, because it was not my intention to perpetuate society's ideals on beauty, nor am I holding my daughter up to a standard…I just don't think that she is the cutest baby in the world, and I do not agree with parents/grandparents telling children that they're the best at something when they are not. This does not mean that I love my child any less, or does it mean that I do not find her beautiful (after all, true beauty goes beyond outside appearance). This just points at my parenting style, that I want to be honest with my children as much as possible.

  12. But… being "the best at something" is WAY DIFFERENT than being pretty/beautiful/cute. You have control over your ability to do things better… you can't change your appearance. I'm not in favor of cheering for poor performance or giving awards to everyone on the team for participating, but this has absolutely nothing to do with that.

    I just want to point out to you that it's not parenting style… it's your perception of beauty in this world. Just reflect on if you want to teach your daughter to see amazing beauty in everything that they love (like your husband and grandparents do), or to judge things by uncontrollable standards.

  13. Geek in Heels says:

    @kimberly michelle — The thing is, I do think she's beautiful. But the cutest baby in the world? Nope. I'm sorry, I just being 100% honest here. I WILL teach my daughter to see beauty in unexpected places, to see beauty in what most people will find grotesque, and to see beauty in the things that she loves. I just don't think she is THE cutest baby in the world, as my husband, his parents, and my parents do.

    As for parenting styles, I have to disagree with you on that too. Because there will always be someone better than you, prettier than you, smarter than you, etc. And sometimes, those measures can't be subjectively quantified. And I plan on teaching my children this, and that while I love them and find them beautiful, not everyone will. And that no, mommy does not find them perfect and amazing in every way, because as much as I love them, my love for them is still imperfect and mankind itself is imperfect (this is my personal and religious view). Additionally, I believe that the world is a cruel and unjust place and that my kids should learn that at an early age and learn to live with it (but I will always be supportive and be there to lend a helping hand if they need me). So if I prefer to be honest about this, then yes I believe that this is a matter of parenting style.

  14. Amber says:

    I have to agree with Kimberly here. There are DEFINITE differences between telling your child they're a genius and good at basketball (as a Coach's wife who sees this form of parenting daily) and telling your child they're cute. I mean, I wouldn't want to grow up with my family members telling me I'm "average" looking. It seems to me that's instilling in your child that they're average- if that- and that as their parent that's just how it is.

    A while ago I wrote this post: http://ow.ly/370bt And your comment was just saying how much you loved what I wrote. I wonder what has changed from the pregnant Jenny to the Mom Jenny. It seems you're a little bit colder now (for serious lack of a better word, my brain isn't working as well), and less excited about the wonders that babies are, maybe it could be from your miserable post-partum and all.

    I think that while I'm a bit of a sap when it comes to adoration of our babies, as I was different from you and adored Piper the second she was pulled out, I think the fact that our families, our husbands and friends think our children are gorgeous is wonderful. I wonder if it's your already acknowledged detachment between Claire and yourself that perhaps has you viewing her from this critical viewpoint. While I know you're beginning to bond more and more, no one will blame you for gushing about Claire, and how cute she is, you're her MOTHER and that's what we do. Those with kids don't understand as well as parents, while I'm sure they think they do, it's hard to know exactly HOW intense the bond between parents are, and that nature has made us this way- to protect our babies from everything, it keeps our vision rose-colored.

    Now, while I know Piper was far from the cutest baby when she was born, I thought so at the time. While I was a little self-conscious about her birthmarks, not for people thinking she wasn't cute but because I worried about what others would think of her, I was in love with my gorgeous girl. I still am. And I swear to God above, should any one of my friends or family have dared to utter anything about how average she was, I would have defended her with the fierceness of a Lioness, for NO ONE insults my cub. The fact that you're kind of insulting your own baby, as well as your husband's Daddy Love Opinion makes me sad, it appears you're slightly more resigned than you were pre-Claire.

    Claire is adorable.

  15. Amber says:

    And I see now, that you do think she's cute, so I know you're not just holding her up to a mirror and making barf noises, but I stand firm on wishing you would think she's the cutest in the world, just a little bit. :) That's the "My baby is cuter than every baby in the world" Mommy in me. Ha.

  16. I see. I just disagree whole heartedly and realize that now. And I think I'll stay away from commenting and reading on this subject, knowing this viewpoint, in the future.

  17. Geek in Heels says:

    @Amber — I remember that post, and I remember what I meant by my comment: I loved your honesty. And I am being honest with this post (and these comments) as well.

    I have ALWAYS known that I will never believe my children to be the most beautiful, most amazing people. I have always known that I will be as honest with them as possible, that I will have a "The world is a tough place; suck it up. But if you need my help, I will help you" attitude in regards to parenting. And I have always known that I will never gush about my kids. And when I do praise them or brag about them, it will be because of something I truly believe is warranted, and not for having learned the ABCs, or because I feel they are the cutest in the world. And I personally do not see anything wrong with being average…that is, after all, where most people lie, no?

    This is not a result of my feeling detached from Claire, nor am I insulting my husband and our parents (I'm happy they feel that way). And I do not look down on mothers who do feel that their children are the most beautiful, most darling things in the world — they are entitled to their opinions and because they are the parents, I respect that. Again, I see this as a difference in parenting styles.

  18. Geek in Heels says:

    @kimberly michelle — Agree to disagree! Thanks for voicing your opinions, even if they were different from mine.

  19. Amber says:

    I see, Jenny. Maybe it would be best if I stayed away a bit then, as my "I want all babies to know they're perfect" gene is killing me. :)

  20. Geek in Heels says:

    @Amber — Sorry if I sound defensive, and sorry I made you and Kim feel like you need to stay away. I think I really am in the minority in feeling this way as a mother (and again, I always knew I would be like this) and sometimes I get a bit sick of people making me feel like I don't love my daughter as much, or that something must be wrong with me (because I have gotten this from others before today). Again, I really do think it is different parenting styles, and I thank you guys for respecting that.

  21. Kate says:

    Amber and Kim – I agree wholeheartedly with the both of you. Thank you for being the voice for baby Claire! And it's a shame you feel that you need to refrain from being involved now.

  22. Sophie says:

    There's a Vietnamese proverb, in loose translation, says "To the nose, its own shit doesn't stink." So as long as you don't think your baby is ugly, it's okay for you to think she is average looking. However, I think Claire is adorable! =)

  23. Can we all give the new mommy a little break? Feel what you need to feel now…it may or may not change in the future. For what it is worth, when Little G was screaming his head off while stuffed into his swaddle I would look at him and think he looked like Robin William's head on a stick.

  24. jay says:

    I really appreciate Jenny's opinion and comments here because it resonates so much with what I believe. I, too, strongly believe that praise should be reserved for praiseworthy accomplishments and that too much praise or flattery may, who knows, lead to a sense of entitlement or brattiness that will be difficult to fix in the future. While the love for one's child may not know boundaries, the world's love for a child will have boundaries — sometimes, really unfair boundaries. I personally think that the best way to prepare their hearts for the sometimes cruel disappointments of this world is to give them confidence in their strengths and awareness of their weaknesses. And of course, the sanctuary of a parent's love. But this is merely one opinion of mothering in an ocean of opinions.

    I should note: like Jenny, I am also Korean, and perhaps this difference is somewhate attributable to culture. Praises were hard-won in my childhood while criticisms came fast and easy. Did it suck to get a sense that I was mediocre, normal, average? Sure. Was it true at the time? At the time AND in hindsight, YES. But you better believe that when it mattered to me, I used those criticisms to catapult me into trying harder. I'm pretty sure that I'm a dime a dozen according to the world, whereas the Freddy Mercurys, the Gisele Bundchens, the Yo Yo Mas of the world are a much rarer breed. But isn't that okay? Because my love for my child doesn't hinge on how many superlatives she is — it's just because she's mine.

  25. vir says:

    Wow, did not expect to find such a discussion on this post!

    You know, I think a lot of it comes down to what you mean by "cute." Cute meaning a measure of outward prettiness (which I honestly do think can be objective, to a certain degree)? Or cute meaning being adorable, which I think every baby can indeed be, especially to their parents? If the first, then I would say that no, my baby is not the absolute "cutest in the world" — but that doesn't mean my precious baby K isn't absolutely perfect and beautiful to me, just the way she is! If the latter definition, then of COURSE I think she's the cutest in the world, because I know her best, her little quirks and habits, and I love every little one!

    I just think the phrase is kind of loaded, which is why I would never use it outside of a conversation between me and J. When people publicly say their baby is the "cutest in the world" like it's a blanket statement, then by definition they're saying their baby is cuter than mine (which I would most likely not agree with, right? Haha!). From a purely logical standpoint, there must exist other babies in the world who are just as cute or cuter, if only in their parents' eyes, so why even express it in that way? If every mom thinks her baby is the "cutest in the world" and they are all right, doesn't that make them all wrong by definition?

    I dunno, it's not something I've ever really dwelled on. My baby is precious and beautiful and perfect to me — regardless of if I say she's the "cutest baby in the world" or not.

  26. Nani says:

    I have been a regular (albeit silent) reader of this blog for awhile now, and have never truly felt the need to comment until now. But seriously, this post actually makes me quite upset.

    How do you think your daughter would feel if she ever stumbles upon this blog post when she’s older? Do you not think it will break her heart knowing that her mother dedicated an ENTIRE post on how she thought her daughter was “not too hideous” compared to other ugly babies out there? You mentioned “I would rather be told that I’m average-looking than be told that I’m pretty/cute when I’m not.” If it is indeed in line with your own personal standards (and not “society’s idea of beauty”) then I feel very sad for you. It is sad to know you have such low self-esteem.

    Last year, we all mourned and supported you through your miscarriage. But now you have a beautiful blessing right in front of you! Treasure her! With so many women struggling to even get pregnant, it baffles me you can think about something so trivial. I don’t mean to judge you, but Jenny please be a little more considerate of your daughter’s feelings. Right now your “honesty” sounds extremely cruel.

  27. Geek in Heels says:

    @Nani — What makes you think I treasure my daughter any less? This was a post on how I do not believe she is the cutest in the entire world, not about how unattractive I believe her to be. (And once again, I must repeat once again that I find NOTHING wrong with being average — in looks, achievements, etc — because most people are average!) This is my honest opinion, and I choose to be honest with my daughter. And I would love her the same even if she were any more or less attractive, even if she were horribly disfigured.

  28. Wow. I've got to say, kind of surprised by how riled up people are getting about this. It's funny how readers will champion honesty until you say something they don't like.
    I've always kind of seen your blog as an accurate portrayal of how you feel, day to day, and I appreciate the fact that you write that way. I wish I could be as open about how I feel on my own blog. For what it's worth, I didn't read this post as a condemnation of Claire's looks and I find it funny that saying you found her average looking was taken almost as harshly as you saying you found her ugly might be.
    Though I am not a mother myself, I have been keeping up with your parenting posts and though I have found some written in a darker tone than others, perhaps because I know you reasonably well, I've been able to weigh them against other things I know about you to see the big picture . . . and I should think that when she's old enough to read all the things you've written in context, Claire will see that too. This is how you felt on one specific day of your child's life. Who's to say you might not feel differently tomorrow . . . and if you don't, well those are your own personal feelings and you're entitled to them.
    Since people have gone off on rants here in the comments about things they feel passionate about, let me get a little ranty here too. I really don't like it when women shame other women about not feeling "the correct feelings" or moms who shame other moms for not being "the right kind of mom." Be fair to your fellow ladies and moms out there, and let's all stop this mean girl behaviour, shall we?
    P.S. For the record, I think Claire is cute, but a little anecdote: When my husband was a baby, he looked like a fat little Winston Churchill with three chins and swath of dark black hair. He was, in short, not very cute. But as he aged, he grew out of his Churchillness and into a hot young man. So maybe sometimes, it's good to start out average looking and then evolve into a stunner. ;)

  29. Amanda says:

    Ditto one hundred percent what girlonthepark said.

    But I have to say that Claire's pretty wicked cute!

  30. I apologize if my comments come off as "mean girl" and accusing someone of being a "bad mommy." That's the last thing in the world my words meant to evoke and re-reading them I don't see that at all. I just wanted to question what good it does to see less amazing beauty in the world.
    Jenny's reply assures me that she holds "average" in the highest regard above all else, so I see that we look at the world in very different ways. That's why I'll refrain from reading/commenting in this regard in the future… because past experience has taught me that there is no communication bridge between those two worlds.

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