I have a baby that looks exactly like my husband. The American Academy of Pediatrics refers to this condition as “Daddy Face,” or DF for short. It is not treatable and may cause spontaneous conversation topics and excessive cuteness. A friend recently asked me what it was like to endure 10 months of barfy pregnancy, 29 hours of labor, and three hours of pushing for a creature that was, essentially, a smaller, wrinklier version of my father-in-law. I told her that, honestly, it was nice to have another lawyer in the family.
After a couple of days, the baby slowly started to morph into the mirror image of my husband. It was impressive to see the stern countenance that took him 30 years to master come so naturally to a three-day-old. The only part of her that didn’t look like him was her beautiful red hair, which was the result of the volcanic eruption of a dormant Ginger Gene. Currently, at nine months, she has grown even more into his adorable little twin. People stop us on the street to note the resemblance. While I was grocery shopping alone with the baby, our cashier said “It’s Valerie: The baby that looks just like her daddy!” Apparently my husband had taken her to the same grocery store the day before.
Personally, it took a while to see the uncanny resemblance. Despite being physically attached for endless hours, it was hard for me to register what she actually looked like. It was hard to soak in her facial features when I spent all day looking at the top of her head, which was usually covered in cookie crumbs. Even today, I enjoy looking at her from across the room to get an actual sense of who she is.
So, back to my friend’s question: I’m not quite sure about how to answer, mostly because I truly don’t care very much. Thankfully, I love my husband and the way he looks very much, so I consider my daughter just an extension of that warm and fuzzy feeling. I hope that they continue to share this connection as she gets older, because Nate is a really great person and I want her to absorb as many of his finer qualities as possible. Of course, if I did not care for Valerie’s father at all, things would be different. Instead of writing a blog post about Daddy Face, I would most certainly be writing an unsubtle Craigslist post inquiring after a hitman. (To kill Nate! Not the baby! Are you sick?!!)
Secondly, there are some pretty fabulous adoptive parents out there who never encounter the critical, life-altering “issue” of who the baby looks like and they seem to manage just fine. Finally, I must say that it has been nice to avoid the genetic probing that takes place among family and friends when they see a new baby: “It’s the Christenberry Nose with a Rutherford forehead!” For us, everyone takes a look at our child and just says “Ah. The Nate Everything” and then moves on to the next topic. Except for my poor mother who still scours Valerie’s toenails looking for some trace of our family.
I was definitely expecting our daughter to look like Nate given the anthropological fact that most baby girls look like their fathers. This happens so that the dumb dumb caveman dad could take one look at his baby and say “look like me. Me take care of thing that remind me of me. Because me is very important to… me” all while the cavewoman rolls her eyes, yanks out the placenta, and does all the work anyway.
Luckily, my daughter and I get to share lots of other things that are way more fun than the same face:
We both think the dog is the most entertaining thing in the room. Always.
We both enjoy eating string cheese off her high chair tray.
We both have eyeballs.
We both keep our arms up in the air for some reason. (This observation was contributed by Nate)
We both like to squeeze the dog until he is uncomfortable and decides to move.
So, there’s hope! Any other Daddy Facers out there?