“He’s staring at me.”
It was happening again. DD sat on the sofa, beer glass held mid-air, and pulled a nervous grin.
“Why do babies always stare at me?” he repeated.
“I don’t know,” I said, and shuffled across the floor closer to baby E, who had stopped playing ever since we turned up in his parents’ living room. His blue, blue eyes were fixed on DD, his mouth shaped in a tiny ‘O’, and the creases above his round, round cheeks didn’t move.
“Maybe they’re fascinated by my glasses,” DD said. “Or maybe they’re looking at me and thinking, ‘what the fuck is that?'”
When DD first met baby E, there had been a cosmic realignment in his world. It was one day soon after we first got to Beijing, when I was still in my sulking phase, I opted out of going with DD to meet up with a colleague and his young family who had also recently arrived. When he came back, I stayed stretched out on the bed pretending not to care.
“Hallo. Guess what,” he said.
“What,” I said.
“That baby is the cutest baby I’ve ever seen.”
“What?” I sat up, the sulking having suddenly evaporated. “Say that again?”
“That little E is seriously the cutest baby I’ve ever seen.”
“Oh my God.”
Until that moment, all his life, DD had refused to abide by one of nature’s great laws, commonly known as “All Babies are Cute”. On meeting a baby he generally got flustered, then worried that they could “smell his fear”. He found some of them intriguing, some endearing, and once they got a bit older he found them great partners to play trains with, even though they wouldn’t follow the rules. But never, ever had he commented unprompted that a baby was cute. And now, here it was in tiny flesh and blood, a baby who had not only tickled DD’s cute bone but had actually inspired him to use a superlative, without any caveats or pseudo-scientific apology. It was a beautiful moment.
“Well, why don’t we just steal that one?” I said.
What fascinates DD more than anything about babies, is how much they accomplish in a day, a question he asks himself every night, causing him to fret and fuss as he sinks deeper into the sofa in front of the TV. A few years ago, when we stayed at his friend’s house, we sat watching his baby daughter who sat watching plastic shapes dangling in the air.
“It’s alright being a baby, innit,” DD observed. “I mean, it’s an easy life. What do they do all day?”
“Well fella,” his friend said. “Today, she learned to see. What did you do?”
DD was impressed. From that day on, he reconsidered his evaluation of a baby’s daily achievements, and now whenever we meet one he says, “Being a baby is like being on an acid trip. One day they wake up and they can see depth, and they’re like ‘woh’, and can’t sleep for a bit.”
Not nearly as dramatic or revolutionary, DD’s day nevertheless plods steadily along, today as it did yesterday, under the quizzical stare of cute baby E.
Copyright © 2014 followingdrdippy