A friend recently did a face swap with his baby and shared the results on facebook. You know: his face on his baby’s face, and vice versa. Reader, it was as disturbing as it sounds. And as tempting as it was to try this with my own baby, I held myself back.
When my boy was born he looked like he belonged to my husband’s side of the family which thankfully, he did. I was a hairy, dark baby and my husband a bald, pale one. We got a bald, skinny, pale baby and I thought he was gorgeous. So in love was I that I thought his forceps scar made him look like Ziggy Stardust. Oh, really. Having my own baby to fall in love with put paid to my theory that mums who had ugly babies were just pretending to think they were cute. Surely, I thought, they could see it was a bit squinty? A bit wax granddad? In a word: No. There is no way this has ever happened in the history of the world of people having babies. Ever.
Since all new mums think their babies are beautiful all we really need in the looks department is for our newborns to look a bit like us. But it doesn’t happen, does it? All babies looks like the dad and it’s a bummer. You’ve just given birth, nobody gives a shit about the state of your vagina and all people want to do is tell you how much the baby looks like the daddy. It’s one of life’s great chafing moments.
When the baby does start looking like you it is great. But with it comes the risk that you find out what you really look like. Imagine, for instance, that you have a weird or notable feature and that the baby has this too. Maybe you didn’t know it was that weird or notable, or had chosen to forget. Well your nearest and dearest are going to flag it up to you whenever they get the chance. As are strangers. Think about it. That baby at the library with the crazy big drug eyes? Look at its mum. You see what I mean? One friend’s mother in law loves to point out how big her grandson’s mouth is. “It’s so big! His mouth’s so big! Just like yours! God your mouth is so big! Just, WOW!” And on it goes, apparently.
I don’t need to face swap to see my own unfortunate little face peeking out from my own kid’s face. He has my tendency to sit with his mouth open, catching flies; he has my tiny mouth, my husband’s monkey feet (sorry, hon) and also his translucent, worrying paleness. Sometimes I look at him so much that these things are hard to find, but then other times it just jumps out at me, askance. He’ll look up from some puzzling task like putting a lid back onto a yoghurt pot and there I am. It’s me. Looking back at me. Scream!