Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Cuteness Counts


One of my favorite commercials shows an adorable baby laughing and playing while a woman’s voiceover says, “When my kids were small, I just wanted to eat them up.” The image then changes to a laughing toddler dropping a large bunch of keys into a toilet, and the voiceover continues, “Sometimes, I wish I had.” This commercial is the story of my life.

My kids, like most kids, are a constant mixture of cuteness and trouble. Luckily for them, their cuteness has saved their lives on many occasions. I sincerely believe that cuteness is an evolved survival tactic. Think about it: When your toddler finds a sharpie and writes all over your computer monitor, you’re ready to kill him – but then when you see how cute he looks with his self-inflicted sharpie mustache, you relent and allow him to live.

This morning was a prime example of life-saving cuteness on the part of my daughter. For some reason, for the past few weeks she’s been waking up several times a night, wailing. Last night was the absolute height of bad sleep: she woke up every hour between 11:30PM and 4:30AM, screaming. Which meant that I woke up every hour between 11:30PM and 4:30AM, feeling like screaming. But after she got back to sleep that last time, she slept through until 7:30AM, and when she did wake up, she happily (and adorably) cooed and played and giggled in her crib for nearly an hour before she finally yelled to get up. Had she woken up making yet another pouty face and wailing crankily, I’d have treated her much differently that I did after seeing her beaming and waving to me while babbling cheerfully. Because she’s cute, I greeted her with a hug and a kiss instead of crabbily and wordlessly pulling her out of her crib for breakfast. Her cuteness got her much better treatment than she would have gotten otherwise.

Is it fair? Maybe not. But then, is it fair that I would have treated her less lovingly because she had a hard time sleeping last night? If my husband treated me badly every time I had a sleepless night, we would have a much less successful marriage. So maybe cuteness is just God’s way of evening the odds for a child who can’t help crying when she needs something that she can’t express, a child who isn’t intentionally naughty but whose curiosity sometimes leads to things getting broken.

And I hate to cut this entry short, but I hear some suspicious noises coming from the playroom. Let’s hope the kids are being especially cute!



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