Chewed on by a Baby

Yesterday I went to a baby shower where there was a baby. She showed me how she can pull herself up and lower herself back down. She squished my belly and she chewed on my fingers.

I think babies like me because I’m easy to see and soft. I have dark eyebrows and blue eyes, so there’s contrast. And I have a very expressive face, so, again, there’s stuff going on to look at.

But here’s the thing. I was driving home from the shower thinking about how obvious it was that the baby thought I was awesome. This looks like a good finger to chew on. This looks like a good lap to climb in. And I realized, I don’t think I ever otherwise experience my body as good.

I’m trying really hard to just have neutral feelings about it, so that I can live in the world without constant despair. But I so rarely feel like this is great.

And you can’t argue with a baby or question its judgement, because they’re not really developed enough to have discernment or wrong opinions. If a baby experiences your body as pleasant, well, in some inarguable way, your body is pleasant. A baby isn’t out here trying to improve your self esteem.

I would like to be able to hold onto that.

One thought on “Chewed on by a Baby

  1. She has a purer, less adulterated notion of a good and pleasant body than any adult who grew up in America. Believing her and hanging onto that belief makes profound sense.

    Babies like my high-contrast face and toddlers run to be near me, but that eagerness to touch me that you’re describing isn’t there. She found you repeatedly delightful in a tactile sense.

    What do your animals say? I try to listen to my cat on these matters. For example, it was beaten into me as a child that my feet are ugly and gross, so boyfriends who said I had pretty feet just plain weirded me out. But my cat insists nearly daily that my feet are wonderful things worthy of love and care, so I try to believe her and put more lotion on them and be less patient of shoes that hurt them and so on. She lavishes care on her own pretty feet and clearly thinks mine deserve the same.

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