Have you ever seen a baby? A lot of them are disturbingly ugly. But you can’t tell new parents that their baby makes you want to self-spay-and-or-neuter. Besides, even if the baby is super cute, you don’t want to objectify a baby, that’s weird. But how do you compliment a baby that is basically just a chubby, squirming drool machine?
“You created that! You’re like a human 3d printer!” But that’s more like complimenting the parent. Which is fine because the baby doesn’t understand words yet. You can tell a baby to stop pooping its pants and you know what? It won’t because babies don’t know words.
“This creature doesn’t smell like poop.” Again, since babies can’t change themselves, it’s more a compliment for the parent. You disagree!?! Give a dirty baby some body wash and a loofa, come back an hour later, that baby’ll still stink. Damn stinky baby. Clean yo’ self, dirty baby!
“Your baby farts half as much as my dad and they both wear a diaper. But my dad is just lazy.” More of a look into my family life than a compliment for the baby, yet it works. Seriously, though, can someone talk to my dad and let him know that his experiment is super weird and he should just go to the bathroom or dig a hole in the backyard?
“What an amazing being. She/he contains all the hope and love and optimism contained in your and my vision of the future. Truly a spectacular and inspiring bundle of potential.” That one was just sincere. How do you like that? This bald expression of candor makes me uncomfortable, I’ll tell you that.
“Pretty sure this baby will cure cancer. I just have a feeling. I’m not saying it’s up to you to ensure this baby gets into a magnate school–despite my not knowing what the hell that means–but it would be a tragedy to humanity if this child didn’t at least figure out global warming solutions.” No pressure, new, sleep-deprived parent.
“Thank you for displaying your baby for me. Before I tell you anything about said baby, would you mind allowing me to spend some significant hours with your child so that I may form a more informed opinion of this brand new creature and base my compliment on a nuanced knowledge of this thing and its foibles.” If you don’t get arrested, this might be the nicest thing because, despite how creepily I worded it, you are offering to babysit for free.
However you decide to address a couple’s new sleep-deprivator, I dare you and defy you to compliment a baby on anything other than its appearance. Good luck.Your suggestions are welcomed.
It’s all about inflection. You can go “Ohhh! It’s a baaaaaay-bie!” and people will think you’re saying “what a cutie patootie perfect little baby!” even if it looks like a monster.
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I agree with Gia. It’s all in how you say it. A few years back, one of my wife’s cousins had a kid & when she met up with them for the first time since it happened she ran up to them, totally excited to see the freshly delivered mini-human. The mother handed her the baby & she looked at it & went, “Oh my goooooosh!!!” in her cutest, sing-songiest voice. After that came the obligatory rehashing of the delivery. When we were walking away, though, she said to me, “Oh… my… gosh… Vinny, I took one look at that thing & almost dropped it.”
That was like reading a mini-play. I pictured everyone and staged it and enjoyed every minute of it. So great.
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There’s a saying that all newborn babies look like Winston Churchill and it’s true. The only thing (usually) missing is the cigar.
I’m not sure who I’m more insulted for, the babies or Churchill. Probably the babies of various, non-anglo ethnicities.
I just love when people compliment a baby’s intelligence. Like it’s some kind of infant prodigy because it’s already drooling at a third grade level.
My solution? I don’t associate with people that have babies. I have better things to do than spend a 4 hour long dinner party talking about a gurgling lump of flesh that doesn’t even understand what’s going on.
They’re also lousy fighters. I bet I could take on a whole day care center.
Not pre-K. I’m talking 0-2 years old. Let’s not get crazy. I’m tough, not stupid.
Okay, would you rather fight 100 duck sized babies or one horse sized baby? I think that’s the game, right?
All babies are ugly as fuck. Just don’t say that in mixed company, such as the dad and mom of that fugly little house ape.
I won’t tell you the “compliments” I give to ugly babies because someone might catch me online.
If you knew my husbands family you would have seen some ugly babies, so I have been met with the challenge to say something nice when you look at the baby and think damn that kid is ugly, usually I would say something like how lucky they must feel to have a new baby and that I hope they baby was a good sleeper and other such dribble and yes I have been known to outright lie and say what a cute baby they had because you can’t say damn you have a ugly baby
Excellent post, this is always good information to have. I knew someone who used the word “stunning!” for all compliments. Then he’d turn around and say “I”m stunned, because it looks like shit!” You can use that one, free of charge.
I have learnt over the years to avoid babies. . . . they are rubbish at conversation and have a distorted view of politics based on the very occasional encounter with a smiling politician. . . I try to avoid them too.
Just stalked your blog a bit and read this again, still so funny!
The parents have to take some responsibility for taking the pressure off during these introductions. I always introduce my toddler as the “Agent of Satan.” I find it provides a more meaningful and honest dialogue.
PS. Forgive the lateness of my reply, I just found your blog.