October 31, 2014

Shake your Babymaker – Virtual Babies!

Okay I’ll admit it I don’t want kids, but I still have imaginary baby names in my head and I’m curious about what my baby would look like. Just not curious enough to find out for real. For the other childfree and curious there is a place for us, or rather several websites that will take pictures of you and your significant other and mix the virtual, visual DNA to create, TA-DA – a baby!

Luxland Babymaker has the tagline, What will your baby look like? And promises that it’s not like the other sites because it can see the future:

Have a lust for someone? Eager to see what your baby will look like? No need to wait nine months to see your baby’s face — BabyMaker will accurately produce a picture of your baby. Satisfy your curiosity and peek into the future!

There are even baby maker apps and celebrity baby maker sites in case you want to see what your baby would look like if Ashton Kutcher is the baby daddy. I hear he’s available!

I tried Makemebabies.comwith mixed results below:

It is very entertaining if you want to laugh some milk right out of your nose. Amazingly my baby looks just like the baby on the ad and nothing like me or my mate. Baby G even has blue eyes and blond hair which is genetically impossible! This is kind of addictive and I can totally see why the Duggar family is eagerly expecting their 20th real child. It’s fun to make babies! But I will stick to virtual kids.

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Pecking Order Debate

Over a million folks have watched this baby gibberish video.

Or else somebody working in the YouTube stats department has a twisted sense of humor.

In either case, don’t watch this video. Maybe a couple of seconds. That’s enough. If you watch the whole video, I’m guessing you have kids. And think this sort of stuff is funny. And beautiful. And you’re thinking I’m a misanthrope. A curmudgeon. Judge at will…

What’s funny about the video? Oddly red cheeks on one baby. Clown ambitions? Ostensibly the babies are twins, but Two Socks seems to be taller. Bigger. More assertive. More vocal. Funny is fast forwarding to their teenage years when little One Sock hits a growth spurt and leap frogs past Two Socks. Funny is the day that One Sock lifts Two Socks over his head at the end of the dock. In May. And flings his startled brother out into the still frigid Lake Champlain water bellowing, “That’s for the time you put my sock in the freezer and mom recorded the inane dance that followed and I blushed cherry bright and over a million people all around the world cooed over me in my soggy diaper!” That’s funny. Stay tuned. It could happen.

Dr. Suess Didn’t Have Kids

“You make ‘em. I’ll amuse ‘em.” – Dr. Seuss

Margaret Wise Brown, Maurice Sendack, Beatrix Potter, Louisa May Alcott and Dr. Suess didn’t have kids. And I’m adding myself to this esteemed list of childfree children’s book authors.

How is it possible that such clever icons of the children’s literary world had the ability to connect to kids across generations without having children of their own? How could they understand kids without raising them? Very simple, they were once kids, too. Perhaps because these childless adults never abandoned a child’s point of view, they held close to childhood memories and fantasies and magically preserved the imaginary realm of talking animals and invented words.  Would these authors have the same stories to tell if their priorities were feeding young mouths instead of young minds? Would late nights and diaper duty have sapped their creative energy and capacity to envision Sneeches, Wild Things and truffula trees?

Recently, I asked a parent friend of mine if she would have a pediatrician who didn’t have kids, or an ob/gyn who didn’t have kids, or even a teacher who didn’t have kids. Did it make a difference? She said it did in the case of the pediatrician, which caught me a bit until I realized that I required a doctor with an innie instead of an outie when it came to gynecological matters.

Jo Frost, TV’s SuperNanny, has reared plenty of kids but still isn’t a parent herself. So did this sharpen her skills or limit her adeptness? The SuperNanny has millions of television viewers each week and millions more buying her books on parenting and childrearing techniques.

Raffi, the superstar musical maestro of the preschool set, has sold over 8 million albums. He too is childfree. In these cases their expertise and success has nothing to do with being a progenitor.

Is it a coincidence that my favorite teachers were not parents? What was it that made them so attractive to me? Was it their dedication to children even if they didn’t have little ones at home? Was I a competent teacher even if I didn’t have offspring? Does having children really make a difference when you teach, entertain or care for children? Or is it possible that, just maybe, once you become a parent you stop living like a child?


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Rip, Laugh, Repeat

It’s all in the timing. After sharing the “Why no kids? Wino kids” video as a tongue-in-cheek debut post on the WNK website and the WNK Facebook page I stumbled upon this baby humor gut-buster. Actually, it’s one of three similarly goofy videos of babies laughing at ripped paper. Not that funny you say? No? Did you laugh? Thought so.

Actually, it’s not that funny. Not three videos-worth, and yet I watched all three. From beginning to end. And I laughed during all three videos. Kids are funny, even when it’s inane-how-can-this-still-make-you-laugh humor. Parents love this stuff. Love it.

“Did I show you the video of my kid laughing at ripped paper? Oh, you’ve got to see it again. It’s sooo funny!”

But after a while it isn’t. Not so much. Unless you’re a parent, perhaps.

See, for those of us who’ve sidestepped the baby, the paper ripping and the video virus, our interest diminishes with each new photo, video, anecdote. I’m sorry. I’m being honest. Really, I’m not a curmudgeon. I want to like the video of your child’s funniest home video. I really do. But after a while… I don’t. The funny wears thin. I’d love to discuss the book you just read, the mountain you just climbed, the sculpture you just created out of mud and ideas. I yearn to laugh and smile and joke about your most recent adventure in Central America, your latest boardroom SNAFU, the chocolate souffle you accidentally prepared with salt instead of sugar. I miss shooting the breeze about politics, windsurfing, fly fishing, heirloom tomatoes…

Do you follow me? Kids are funny. Videos of funny kids doing funny things are funny. But sometimes I miss the old you, the one I enjoyed spending time with before everything was baby, baby, baby.

(Hat tip to Brett Valls for curating this quirky content and Jane Friedman for spreading the love!)