By the way, your fetus has to be a competent poet
Saturday, May 9th, 2009
You’d think that here at Perfect Baby Handbook HQ on Montague Street, we’d know everything about baby-shower culture by now. We don’t (though we’re quite versed on the new Star Trek movie and can attest that the design of Old Spock’s parka is cool).
Take the “baby poem” tradition. Apparently, a short piece of verse—in some cases, supposedly written by the unborn baby herself—is read aloud at certain American showers. Here is a startling example, “penned” by a fetus with a precocious interest in makeup:
I’m sorry I couldn’t be here,
But I’m not quite ready yet,
I’m painting my eyes, hair, and cheeks,
And soon I’ll be all set!
Though you can find sample baby poems at several websites, check out the comprehensive, touching site maintained by Joanna Fuchs, half of a “married senior-citizen couple.” Here is a Fuchs classic, “Thank You for the Present,” written in the surrealist literary tradition:
Thank you for coming to my baby shower;
Thank you for the present.
That you were there is special to me;
Seeing you is always pleasant!
Note how the putative author (the fetus) plays with standard narrative reality by claiming he can see you through the walls of the womb, has seen you repeatedly, and invariably finds it pleasant. Very trippy, Ms. Fuchs! (For parents who might be wondering how to amplify their fetus’ voice, Ms. Fuchs clarifies, “Baby poems will be read by the parents, not the baby.”)
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