Today I had yet another of the experiences that have peppered the past few months. I was looking at baby items (this time, baby books) and felt myself being driven to cynicism. Rather than chime in with “Oh, how perfect,” I could feel myself wanting to burst out with “Exhibit A of the fall of civilization.” Why do makers of children’s things try so hard to make things cute? I mean, we’re talking babies here; it shouldn’t be a hard sell!
Today’s example: baby books that are perhaps somewhat too helpful with their “prompts” for mommy and daddy to fill in their child’s firsts and special moments. Some of the books read like scripts: “When I rolled over on my own for the first time Mommy exclaimed __________________” and “When Daddy changed me for the first time he thought __________________.” For tired parents who need some help in making sure they don’t forget the story of their child, I completely understand the desire for a book that won’t let that happen. But there’s something about those blanks, forcing a feeling, and allotting only so much space for it (like 2nd grade homework) that makes me balk. And make up stories. So by the time I flipped to one that read “When Daddy learned I was going to be born he thought ________________,” I had to force myself to close the page before I finished the thought that began “How did that hap—?” And that, my friends, is the same book that sported the largest bow I’ve seen outside the car-giveaways on The Price Is Right.