I’ve been spending more time on Facebook since I started working from home. Without staff meetings or chance hallway encounters, I must content myself with finding out whether George Will has finally become a fan of Glee. Sure, I could do without knowing that my cousin just grew a bell pepper shaped like Vincent Price on Farmville, Hollywood Squares Edition. But at least that interaction doesn’t require me to buy a $4 latte and listen to the Deputy Director of Strategic Obfuscation talk about his condo renovation. It’s a good deal.
Each day that I open Facebook, entire lives are bared before me. My high school classmate’s dog soiled her couch. Law school friend has discovered the world’s best marinara sauce. A former colleague really, really doesn’t like it when you spill crude oil on pelicans.
And for the 2186th day since Facebook started keeping records, the world’s babies have done absolutely nothing.
Don’t believe me? Go look for yourself, if you can stand to. Their parents have carefully documented this wealth of nothingness and posted millions of photos of it on Facebook. Daily. Sometimes twice daily.
Jamie Parker wrote: “Ethan at 4.5 weeks! “
4 people like this.
Julie Gubelman Oh my god, it seems like yesterday!
Heather McGee SUCH a great age!
Jamie Parker wrote: “Ethan’s play date with Lucy, 4.75 weeks!”
6 people like this.
Melissa Green Treasure these days while they last!
Mark Johnson Say hi to Steve for me.
Jamie Parker wrote: “SO many diapers, sooooo little sleep….”
2 people like this.
Julie Gubelman OMG, LOL, ROFLMAO.
Melissa Green Why not get Steve to change ‘em ha ha ha
Jamie Parker wrote: “Another beautiful day with my Ethan.”
5 people like this.
Heather McGee Love a happy Mama!
Estelle Parker Thanks for the update honey
Melissa Sternfelder Just 36 weeks until my little one arrives. Can’t wait!
Adequate Parent oh my fucking god, please stop.
Make it stop. Ladies (and adorable homosexual daddies, plus Jason Ferguson of Santa Barbara CA, who has in his four months of parental leave burned out three Olympus digital memory cards and two laptop mother boards), hear me well: your baby is not interesting. Your baby is doing exactly what every baby in the history of babies (including mine) did at that age: nothing.
Imagine your photos with anyone else in them: would you send me a picture of yourself lying on a recliner? How about your husband in the bath (please don’t send me a picture of him in the bath)? If I don’t want to see you sitting, why would I want to see your kid? Is your baby even doing something different today than yesterday, and is that even visible in the picture? Did you first bathe him at two months nine weeks? Have you been laboring under the illusion that you were the first person ever to put a baby on a blanket on their living room floor and take a picture?
You answered “no,” yet you posted 2000 pictures and 317 “updates” that weren’t updates at all. What’s wrong with you?
“Olivia age six months, with Great Grandma”
Except that you are so brain-addled from sleep deprivation that you even fucked up the caption, you ninny. The caption should read: “Lillian Goldfarb, age 92, with her 5th great grandchild.”
Let’s dissect this picture to understand what makes it better than the other 536 that Olivia’s parents posted on Facebook.
Olivia: Just got a second tooth!
Grandma: Grew and lost baby teeth, grew adult teeth, lost one when Olivia’s mother, age 3, head-butted her. Loyal Poli-Grip user since 1997.
Olivia: 80th percentile for height.
Grandma: Remembers Great Depression.
Olivia: Just started rice cereal!
Grandma: First woman in her family to graduate from high school.
Olivia: Did she just say “dada?” Oh my god, Jim, rewind it!!!
Grandma: During WWII, served at stateside army hospital, reading to wounded soldiers through the night to distract them from the pain.
Olivia: Looks just like Daddy.
Grandma: Put Daddy’s Daddy through college.
Olivia: Loooooves it when we read to her.
Grandma: Edited community newspaper for 15 years.
Olivia: Everywhere we go, she gets the biggest smiles!
Grandma: Everywhere we go, she gets us a handicapped parking space.
You’ve got a pacifier, Olivia. So suck it. Cute as you are, you are still Grandma’s bitch.
I’ve always wondered what all of the fuss over babies is about. They are deep wells of potential, but potential doesn’t photograph well. Your child might be a genius, but you can’t tell.
Meanwhile there’s your Grandma, waiting for you to call. She ran the family business when her own father took ill. She sat next to your father at the kitchen table every night, getting him through Algebra I. Three children, nine grandchildren, and 12 great grandchildren later, she has outlived her life expectancy at birth by three decades, and made 24 new births possible. She voted for FDR.
Adequate Parent “Grandma gave a five-minute speech at her birthday party.”
2 people like this.
Larry Levine how was New Jersey?
Lori Brown She’s a miracle, isn’t she?
Yeah, she is.
The jury’s still out on Ethan and Olivia.
Maybe it’s my own existential battle with motherhood that makes me feel this way. If babies are magnificent and Grandmas are good for a couple of greeting cards per year, why bother to achieve? If rolling over is worth broadcasting but walking down the aisle for your youngest grandson’s wedding is not, may we realistically hope to be cherished for life?
As a woman, I wonder whether my daughter will be considered my most significant contribution, and whether she is herself on a collision course with “less than.” If she outlives her contemporaries, will adoring descendants gather around her at family events, or will they gingerly lay a great grandchild on her lap, take a picture, and then transfer the infant to its next pedestal and move on? What if my daughter is a doctor, an astronaut, a teacher, a mountain climber, a Marine, a head of state, or — best of all for my selfish purposes– a plumber? Will she get demoted when her child is born? I hate to imagine it.
Don’t get me wrong– I like babies. In fact, I’m pretty good with them. They always fall asleep on me. I’ve often wondered whether my lack of reverence settles them down. Pedestals are not, in my experience, great places to nap. I hold them, safe in the cradle of my realism, perched on very low stakes. They are pleasant when they sleep that way. Peaceful, soft, sweet-smelling, and utterly unremarkable.
 I can still say that; still a civil rights lawyer; am about to remind the DC Bar that I’m on inactive status (like Mt. Etna!) so they don’t disbar me for non-payment of dues, at which point I would become unable to make any crass jokes outside of my own bathroom. For now, according to the DC and Maryland Rules of Professional Conduct – or is it Code? Code or Rules? That’s significant I think—I think I heard in law school that it’s significant. Okay two bar associations say I am exempt from the rules of propriety because I do things for my community, so there. I’m pretty sure it’s Rules. Not Code. Oh for god’s sake, go back to the body of the article already.
 Yes, I mean yours.
 No she doesn’t. If Daddy looked like Olivia, Mommy wouldn’t make any more babies with Daddy.
 Probably not.