“Your baby is so, so, so….. what a nice outfit!”

Departing from my usual Senior Day tradition, I went to the grocery this morning. Next to the frozen peas I saw the ugliest baby I have ever seen in my entire life. I mean, the sweet child required a double take to make sure that he was, in fact, a baby human. Bafflingly, the woman pushing him in the buggy was, without a doubt, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen… in this part of the country.

Before you mothers or other sensitive souls jump all over my case for this, let’s get something straight.

I’m sure the baby has a wonderful personality.

I kid, I kid. Nowhere in that little anecdote did I say that I was a peach, especially not this morning. I was wearing my early-morning grocery uniform of yoga pants and a long-sleeved tee. Normal enough, you might say, but it wasn’t until I looked in my rearview while backing out of my parking space to come home that I noticed that I had toothpaste foam dried to the side of my cheek.

And all over the front of my shirt.

It’s fine. I have no room to judge.

Though this child looked frighteningly like, well, the baby from Dinosaurs, I am certain beyond the pale that this baby will grow up to be a studmuffin of the highest order, complete with a full head of hair and all of his natural teeth, both well into adulthood.

My mama read The Ugly Duckling to me. I know how this works.

There does seem to be a pattern, however. I was an adorable baby. I can say it. It’s science. But then I went through what averaged out to be a 16 year-long awkward phase wherein I vacillated between looking like a tiny, tiny Rosie O’Donnell or the goth version of a character from Fraggle Rock. I came out of it, I suppose, but Carter didn’t know what I looked like throughout my childhood until we were married.

Hook ’em. Reel ’em in. Throw ’em in the live well from which there is no escape. Then show them the pictures of you looking like, well, like this:

Yea, call me the Dowager Lady Shawn Hunter, Teen Heartthrob. As a matter of fact, put that on my business cards. (“But I’m a girl! I’m a girl! So what if I have a bowl cut and like plaid! I need love, too!”)

I’m over it. I promise. Well, I’m trying to be. The T-Boz haircut, on the other hand? *shudder*

We take for granted, however, that all babies will be adorable, simply because they are babies. You can blame the kittens and puppies of the world for screwing them over like this. No, really – they’ve screwed up the curve.

The ugly baby is a real thing. Even in the celebrity biodome, ugly babies can be found. This story about Emily Blunt (wife of “Jim, from The Office,” as my husband knows him) made me laugh out loud at the same time it made me thankful that I speak Southern.

“I remember when we were in the recovery room … and this nurse came in – her name was Mabel, another great old lady name. She had this fantastic, crazy weave and she said, ‘Damn, your baby is so cute!’ And I went, ‘Oh, thank you,” Blunt, 31, recalls.

“She went, ‘Damn, she’s awesome, she’s so cute.’ And I went, ‘Mabel, I think you say that to everyone,’ and she went, ‘No, I don’t … when I know a baby’s ugly, I say, “You had a baby!”‘ I was like, ‘Those poor parents must know.’” [People Magazine]

“You had a baby!”

That right there, friends, is why I’m so glad to be fluent in Southern. For instance, if I have an ugly baby and someone says, “How precious!,” I’m gonna slap them right in the mouth, blaming the hormones all the way.

The same holds true for the following: “What an adorable little outfit!”,  “Have you figured out who it looks more like?”, “What a face!”, and, of course, “You had a baby!”

Slaps. Slaps for all of them.

I may or may not have gone home and immediately told my mother that I saw the ugliest baby in the world at the store. I also may or may not have told my husband, sister, and best friend about it, too. But I did save a bird’s nest and promised God I’d do more volunteering. Because Karma. (I’m honest, not stupid.)

But I would never, ever, ever breathe a word about it to that sweet mama. Tact matters, my friends. I am a lady, after all.

Though I am not, it seems, enough of a lady to refrain from writing about this on this blog. In case you or the Karma Police come after me, however, let me remind you that I predicted that this child’s ugly babyhood is just a phase and that he will grow up to be a modern Robert Redford while I, for my sins, will likely grow a fantastic mustache.

My mama read the Ugly Duckling to me. I know how it ended:

And then, the ugly duckling grew into a beautiful, majestic swan. She moved to Quebec with a handsome Canadian Goose and, together, they ruled the city’s largest pond with grace and fairness all their days.

As for the ducks who taunted the ugly ducking, they grew embarrassing amounts of lady facial hair and, despite their best efforts to make lemons into lemonade, were denied entry into the county fair’s fantastic mustache competition.

And that, sweet children, is why you should never bully.


  1. Up here we say “s/he’s so sweet!!”

  2. My sister in-law had two of the ugliest babies I have ever seen but of course I couldn’t tell her I thought she had ugly babies, we just lied……………..lol

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