My husband and I have the privilege of taking care of our granddaughter during the week when my daughter and son-in-law are at work. Of course I think she is the cutest baby in the whole wide world, but I usually keep those thoughts to myself.
Scandinavians (like me) dislike both over-sharing of personal information and bragging. Verbalizing that you think your granddaughter is the cutest kid on earth hits both of those buttons.
But one day last week she worked her way up onto the living room couch and was sitting, feet forward, rocking her baby, which on this occasion was a star spangled teddy bear; my husband couldn’t contain himself.
“She’s just so darn cute,” he said.
Since he initiated the topic, the Scandinavian rules of logic allowed me to comment.
"Do you think she’s really cute or do we just think so?”
He didn’t miss a beat. With the seriousness usually reserved for death and taxes he said, “She really is that cute.”
I’m still not sure. I’m far from an objective observer. Heck, I’d think she was cute if she was a mini-Sasquatch.
Which got me to thinking. (Which is almost always dangerous.)
I bet a mini-Sasquatch would, indeed, be cute. All babies are cute.
I’ve discovered this recently because of a change in television habits. My husband and I have switched channels from our regular news feed to shows that feature animals and zoos. It’s all in the name of education for our granddaughter, but we’ve learned some things along the way.
First off, zoos spend a fair amount of time and energy attempting to increase the size of their flocks, litters, gaggles, troops and packs. This entails a surprising amount of zoo sex — between the animals, not zookeepers.
Zoo sex can be downright dangerous, depending on the species. The female tarantula eats her male counterpart about 50% of the time after mating. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Danger aside, zoo personnel encourage animals to be fruitful and multiply in many creative and resourceful ways. Cheetah cubs don’t just come out of nowhere.
In the past weeks we’ve watched lots of baby animals being born at various zoos across the planet and they all have one thing in common: they are cute. All of them: joeys, foals, infants, calves, kits, cubs, chicks, pups, piglets, eaglets and just plain babies.
And we can probably agree there’s only one thing cuter than a koala bear and that’s a baby koala, which is a joey, by the way.
It’s the way nature intended.
Babies of every species are cute. (Except for maybe a couple that I won’t name for fear of persecution by blobfish and naked mole rat lovers worldwide.) They are created to be cute so their parents will give them the care they need.
The same goes for human babies. They are truly cute because they are truly needy. Which brings me back to grandbabies. They are the cutest of all. If you are a grandparent, you’ll know I’m speaking the truth.
Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists.