And even asleep hath he smote his Auntie


And another one strikes the dust. Visiting Auntie Rache joins her ma, who was smote a good two weeks ago at the birth.

Q: What’s almost as dear to a fresh parent’s eyes as the sight of the wee babe peacefully sleeping?

A: The sight of the wee babe peacefully sleeping while being bathed in love by smitten fambily and friends.

And smite them the sleeping babies do. It is a wonderful thing to witness, this imperative of biology. Stephen Jay Gould’s classic essay, “A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse,” uses the evolution of Mickey Mouse (from menacing, rat-like critter to adorable cutie-pie) as a means to illustrate this elemental mamalian response to the features of a baby. Konrad Lorenz, by way of SJ Gould:

In one of his most famous articles, Konrad Lorenz argues that humans use the characteristic differences in form between babies and adults as important behavioral cues. He believes that features of juvenility trigger “”innate releasing mechanisms” for affection and nurturing in adult humans. When we see a living creature with babyish features, we feel an automatic surge of disarming tenderness. The adaptive value of this response can scarcely be questioned, for we must nurture our babies. Lorenz, by the way, lists among his releasers the very features of babyhood that Disney affixed progressively to Mickey: “a relatively large head, predominance of the brain capsule, large and low-lying eyes, bulging cheek region, short and thick extremities, a springy elastic consistency, and clumsy movements.”

Yep, that would be our peanut. Large head, predominant brain capsule, bulging cheeck region, springy elastic consistency and all.

I will now conclude this brief ditty by brazenly citing Wikipedia, even after such erudite critiques of it as have been found last year in The New Yorker and earlier this week on The Colbert Report. Herewith, their pop-synopsis of “cuteness.”

I’m no snob. No, indeed, I myself am quite heartened by the fact that Wikipedia is so porous and populist a resource: it gives me every confidence that I need wait only a few more hours before they approve and post one of my recent baby pics as a replacement for that puppy they have hogging up all that pixel space as an illustration of “cuteness.” I’ve been hitting “refresh” on that page for hours, and to no avail, but will not lose hope. I’m sure it’s just a little coding snag or something.

6 thoughts on “And even asleep hath he smote his Auntie”

  1. shalom, bubbalah.

    your son is healthy, perfect, exquisite. the photos are fabulous!

    many things draw me to your blog. it’s a great read! (I think I’ve said this before, so if it’s redundant, sorry.) the most endearing thing about your blog is the way you love your wife and children. it is so lovely and honest, refreshing. I know very few people who can love so completely.

    I just might have to resolve my fear of intimacy. though, “foi” and I are so tight at this point, it could be like losing an appendage. kidding-ish.

    mazel tov!
    katie-

  2. Oh thank you thank you and toda both. Compliments, in my book, can be neither redundant nor repetitive. Likewise with gratitude, so thank you.

    Katie, I sez you’re not losing an appendage, you’re gaining a father-in-law. Or what have you. I sez , and damn the torpedoes. Oh, sure, what you stand to lose ratchets up an obnoxious amount. But I think regardless of how long the object of affection remains in our lives, all the love we’ve loved stays in the bloodstream, kinda like THC. Only more long-lasting. I sez life-long. It gets easier and easier every time, and before long you’re frickin’ Leo Buscaglia and you’re hugging shrubs and mailboxes and the UPS gal/guy! Which, if s/he’s burly and shy and you go for those types, ain’t bad! FOI begone!

    And virgotex, thank you for saying Hi, and adding to the research on digital smittery. At this rate only a few more data points will bring us into statistically significant sampling group numbers.

  3. I was married for 5 minutes.

    Better than married IN 5 minutes, says the recently divorcee’d lesbian

    and LesbianDad, oddly enough I took my first-ever statistics class this year, as a ‘get my feet’ wet possible re-entry for a long-delayed master’s. Anyhoo, it was for statistics for master’s level social sciences and it was taught by a delightful man whose real passion was the politics of dance and dance and political thought. Sooooo, my extremely scant statistical expertise skews toward the fuzzy and less precise to begin with. Thus, I feel highly qualified to conduct a modest field study on the effects of digital smittery.

    I love the peanut’s hair in this picture- I don’t know if it’s actually that reddish or it’s a trick of the light but that little patch of red anchors the whole shot, I think- it’s the bottom of a triangle with the two heads and two hands at the top. Lovely composition.

  4. Many, many thanks, virgotex, for the props on the picture. His little patch of red is indeed his current hair color — kinda auburnish, actually — and his sis had that same color when she was a newborn, too. I liked the linked chain they all made here, and the light. Composition is such a delightful matter of serendipity and then later editing, since there are always some kind of ten to twenty — sometimes 74! — pictures taken for any one that’s salvagable. But anyway thank you.

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