A few weeks ago I went to a baby birthday party. The kiddo turned 1 and it was time to celebrate (frankly, I always think this is more of a celebration for the euphoric and relieved parents that they have kept a child alive for a year).
When I got to the party I saw my friend holding the little man. So I walked over and turned to him and said “Happy birthday, buddy!”
To which my friend replied. “Do you think this is Layton?”
And I froze because I actually had at that moment when I said the words thought “he looks a bit different” but then the next thought was, it’s a baby and it’s been a few months. They change a lot so…”
In fact, she was not holding her son but rather a friend’s five-month-old son.
Just a brief aside here. I know that every baby is a precious little snowflake and looks like its parents and no one else. And I am sorry. Particularly because the next thing I said, in like a stunned I’m so embarrassed I have no response kind of way was, “All babies look the same to me.” Because when you have just said happy birthday to a child you’ve never met before (probably?) there’s no graceful way to get out of the situation.
But I’m friends with this woman for a reason. So she didn’t burst into tears or accuse me of being awful. She laughed. And then she said “This guy’s five months old. He’s not one.” Which was her way of saying “I’m not even remotely sure how you could have confused these two infants.”
And again, in my defense, I’m really bad with estimating things. (A jar of jellybeans and how many are in it? 12. Because I don’t know. And honestly, I also don’t care.) If you tell me your kid is big for his age I will believe you even if he’s a peanut. Because I have no barometer for success on these things.
Then, this past week, a friend of mine asked me if I would “house sit and take care of Sadie for the weekend”. And my first thought was “I can’t believe you’d leave your daughter (who is like six months old (maybe?)) for the weekend! AND WITH ME?? ARE YOU INSANE??”
And then I remembered her daughter’s name is Madison.
Her dog’s name is Sadie.
So I’m writing this to inform you that I’m a really excellent friend like 50% of the time. But when it comes to your kid. I’m just sorry in advance.
I have this problem with my own family too, by the way. My sister asked me if my nephew wasn’t “the cutest kid in the world” and I paused. Because, honestly how would I know? I defer you to the earlier incident wherein I said “all babies look the same”. And, also, he’s not on a can of Gerber’s baby food. Which is the recognized mark of success, right? And then I said “sure”, because this is not something worth fighting over. But my sister knew I wasn’t convinced.
So now there’s a suspicion growing that I do not have the proper all consuming love for my nephew that I should. Which, again, I’m sorry.
I don’t have a really good defense here. I’m just really bad at babies.