One of the most surprising things about the vacation I just took my wife and little Leonidas on, was the incessant remarks about how sweet and how cute Leonidas was. At first, this seemed to happen at a reasonable rate, but upon being accosted at least once at every stop we made, and told how cute and sweet he was, it started to be strange.
Now I know that some of the answer to this enigma is that Leonidas is undeniably, irrefutably, and objectively the most adorable baby in existence. Behold:I have seen many babies, and I am sorry to say that Leonidas makes most of them look like those toothy little aliens from Galaxy Quest. So that is probably part of it.
But I think that there must be some other reason. I think the rest of the reason (beyond Leonidas’ surpassing cuteness) is twofold. The first reason is that babies are rarer and rarer. It’s not as bad here as it is in Europe, but still there are barely enough children born for replacement. While this may be part of it, the birth rate has been around the same for quite a while. I suspect the major cause isn’t that fewer people are having babies, I suspect another reason. For that, I will tell an anecdote from our vacation.
We were in Mackinaw City in a pub-style restaurant and I was eating a massive quantity of ribs. Partway through my heroic effort to eat all the ribs (I failed) a relatively large family (3 children, Mom, Dad and grandparents) sat down a table right near us. Oh, how sweet, a whole family! The youngest child was a tiny little infant. Granted my perspective for baby size is skewed (Leonidas is a large baby), but I suspect the baby was only a few weeks old. Throughout their dinner, he would start to complain in his car-seat-stroller hybrid, and they would jam the pacifier into his mouth until he shut up. He whimpered and was sad all of dinner, and when they left I told my wife that I almost went over and said: “Alright! If no one else will cuddle and love the little baby, I will!”
I think what everyone was remarking upon about Leonidas was really how happy and cared for he was. You can tell a difference in babies like this: the sad, almost neglected babies that never leave their car-seats, never get held unless they are being fed, and certainly are never carried in the arms to a meal due to the inconveniance. They are ignored like old people. See, a long time ago we hid death and birth from ourselves by essentially putting those who are old into a nursing home with other old people rather than be inconvenienced, etc.
Now I think modern man does this not just for convenience but to assiduously avoid the unpleasant fact that life both begins and ends. And therefore it seems that this avoidance of birth and death is creeping inward so that older and older children and younger and younger ‘elderly’ are ignored more and more. All so that everyone can eat their lotuses and pretend that their lives have always been the same and will not end.
So I think the reason everyone was amazed at how cute and adorable and sweet Leonidas was (besides the obvious fact that he is objectively these things) that Leonidas is obviously loved. He sat on my lap or on his mother’s lap throughout dinners, we carried him around as much as we could (otherwise we used the stroller where he promptly slept…) and that is what struck so many people as different about Leonidas than the other babies they saw throughout their day. (And did I mention that he is adorable?)