26 February 2008

Diagnosis: Ugly Baby Syndrome

In order to begin this episode of Dr. Combat I must start by describing Peawhistle as a baby. Every mother thinks their babies are beautiful. That's the only thing keeping the little screamers alive sometimes. Naturally, I thought Peawhistle was a beautiful baby myself. I wondered from time to time if it was just me, but then someone else would make a comment that reassured me that I wasn't the only one who found her attractive. From the start, I had people stop me and tell me that Peawhistle was the most beautiful baby they'd ever seen. The phrase "porcelain doll" came up about every other time in describing her (although I admit I've seen my fair share of ugly porcelain dolls, but I figured they weren't talking about those). And it wasn't just the old ladies who stopped to gawk, it was women with babies of their own telling me she was the prettiest baby they'd ever seen, it was children of all ages saying how beautiful she was, and even grown, manly men stopping me in the Commissary to say, "Now THAT'S a beautiful baby." Total strangers begged and begged me to let them hold her. I swore she was going to be kidnapped at any second, and I was prepared with my latest Karate Kid moves. Peanut gets his fair share of attention now; he is very popular wherever we go. But nothing like what Peawhistle got. Peawhistle, was in fact, a very pretty baby.

Dr. Combat disagreed. He never outright said, "Your baby is ugly and I hate her," but I have evidence, spanning three distinct events, proving that he didn't find her particularly easy on the eyes. I'll let my readers be the judges.

Exhibit A:
The day after I had given birth to Peawhistle, Dr. Combat, whom I had not seen for a week, popped his head in the room to wish me a hearty congratulations. After they moved me to the post-partum ward, he joined the nurses in the nursery to lend a hand and administer newborn examinations. As I was wheeling Peawhistle down the hallway in her cart to get some ice from the snackroom, I came upon Dr. Combat coming from the opposite direction. He smiled brightly and said, "Awww, let's see the baby!" He bent over her expectantly. He just stared at her. "So what's her name?" "[Peawhistle]." And then he just stared at me. He gave me a look that suggested, "You're one of those idiot parents who just makes up names, aren't you?" For the record, Peawhistle's name is centuries old, a Catholic saint's name, and not uncommon; and yet, there are still those who have never heard it before in their lives and are convinced I invented it (I had to explain to Peanut's nurse the other day--a Catholic no less--where the name originated. She only sparked with recognition after I pronounced it the way its country's origins do. Go figure.). Dr. Combat was one of these people. After all of that, the best he could muster was, "Congratulations." And he walked away. Hm.

Exhibit B:
The next time I saw Dr. Combat it was at least a couple of weeks after Peawhistle was born. I was coming into the hospital at all hours of the night for reasons I won't disgust you with. I picked him out immediately, as he was the only person talking up a storm to every nurse in the vicinity. After he assisted me and my issue, he asked how Peawhistle was doing. I told him that she still wasn't back up to her birth weight yet, mostly because she kept falling asleep while she was eating. He said, "Well, I would too. You're eating, you're warm and cozy, your mom's rocking you to sleep, she's singing to you...." Note: Peawhistle did not enjoy my singing. She typically responded with singing of her own, namely the kind that shatters your eardrums. I learned not to sing to Peawhistle. Attempting to add an alternative suggestion of my own, I instead inserted, "...and telling her she's cuter than all the other babies." He looked at me with a harsh "You wish," sort of look. Man, tough crowd.

Exhibit C:
I'll be the first to admit that fresh-out babies look strange as far as human beings go. But by around the second or third week they begin to look the way they're supposed to look: cute and babyish and stuff. After the last encounter with my unexpected visit to the hospital, Dr. Combat wanted to see me back for a follow-up in the clinic. I made an appointment a few weeks after that and brought the baby to the appointment in her carrier as I had yet to find a suitable babysitter for my young child. At the end of the visit he said very happily, "Now let's see this baby!" Peawhistle was looking her best. She was sleeping. And she was adorable. I waited for him to finally admit she was attractive on some level. He looked at her for a second, stretched a thin smile across his face, and flatly declared, "Cute." Ouch. The appointment was over and I left with my ugly baby.

Perhaps he couldn't help it. It's very possible that he was merely used to his own children, who likely were so gorgeous that no human could gaze upon them without falling into a coma. Perhaps he had higher expectations for my offspring, what with my being so particularly stunning myself. Perhaps he was momentarily possessed by baby-hatin' demons. On three separate occasions. Regardless of the reason, would it have killed him to lie? Did he think he would be barred from the AMA if he did?

For an example of how it's supposed to be done, here's how my 6-week post-partum conversation went with my OB after Peanut was born. After she requested a peek at him, I removed the blanket over him so she could see him.
OB: *gasp* "ABBY! You didn't tell me you made such gorgeous babies!"
Me: "I thought that went without saying."
OB: "He is so perfect, so beautiful."
Me: "But then, every baby's cute, right?"
OB: "No way. I've seen some ugly babies in my time."
Me: "And what do you say to their mothers?"
OB: "'Oh, how precious!'"

See, even if she was lying, she was convincing enough that I'd never know it. One thing's for certain: Dr. Combat is not a good actor. It's just as well he's otherwise occupied during the day or he'd starve.


Benteti5 said...

Maybe Dr. Combat has a secret crush on you and by declaring his true feelings about your kid would be like stabbing himself. Ya think? I don't quite get number 2 being a hit, though. What I always thought was funny were the comments that I had such cute kids and they couldn't believe it, like someone looking like myself could have offspring that looked so much cuter, not that I'm a bulldog, but you get the idea. Dr. C didn't think she was really ugly or he would have something like "oh, she has cute...earlobes, or I love her cry, or my, what great looking gums."
That baby you put on your blog looks like the kid of my version of Dr. C.

Ryann said...

You know, I'm getting so used to reading Peawhistle that I had to stop and really think about your daughter's name!

The doc is off his rocker. I remember your daughter and she was breathtaking as a baby. Even more beautiful now!

Abby said...

I honestly think that was as tactful as he was capable of being. Why would he feign excitement over seeing her and then allow such an anticlimactic response? And you'd agree that exhibit B was a hit against her if 1) you'd seen his expression and 2) then combined that with the evidence from before--he was not remembering good times, that much is certain.

The ugly baby photo is actually Rowan Atkinson morphed onto some baby's body. It cracked me up. I wonder if he was an ugly baby. I guess it doesn't matter when you're worth $200,000,000. But yes, he could be his baby, if your approximate visual representation is to be held as accurate.

Abby said...

Many thanks, Ryann! And I would certainly hope you would be familiar with her name for several reasons. :)

Janie said...

Sounds like he just socially rides the short bus. I remember offending a nurse in the hospital with my first. She told me she was expecting - I tongue in cheek, told her congrats but that I was very sorry her baby wouldn't be the cutest in the world because I had just given birth to that one - in fact the world may be completely out of cuteness after mine. She didn't get it - and never spoke to me anymore.

Benteti5 said...

Somehow I don't imagine Rowan being considered cute at any point. 200 mil, that's crazy.

Abby said...

Talk about riding the social short bus--how stupid does that woman have to be not to know you were only kidding? Or perhaps she is just easily offended? I'll have to post about someone I offended at church--too long to tell it here.

$200 million: that's what funny will get you these days.

Benteti5 said...

I can be funny, where do I sign up to get a piece of that pie. Let's not make a list of people we offend at church. holy cow, I think one gets added every week, at least.

Abby said...

This was a big one though. So I'm adding sister, I'm adding.

And apparently you have to be funny AND ugly. And possibly British to get that kind of cash.

Stephanie B said...

I love the "baby hatin' demons" line. That was awesome. I have a friend that thinks ALL newborns are cute. I can't understand that. She thought my kids were cute, but I thought they were a little bird-like.

Misty D. said...

Remember when my sister didn't talk to me for about a year because I told her that her new born was fugly?

Wait: we weren't friends then, but I am certain I've told you about it.

So, with you being the sister I always wanted but never had, you can be certain I'd tell you if PW was fugly. Would I demand pictures if she were make-you-cry-ugly? Isn't my opinion the only one which counts?

Abby said...

Bird-like. Heh heh.

No, you never did tell me you told your sister she had fugly kids. That makes me feel so much better. For the record, Peanut is usually cute, but he can look weird on occasion. Peawhistle always looked cute.

Stephanie B said...

I just saw the picture. PW was adorable. I love the cheeks.

Abby said...

Me too! It's fun to compare that photo with the Christmas photo of her from my second post. Other than the hair, she pretty much looks the same. :)