The Social Media Baby

Social Media Baby

Another time-honored part of parenting is showing the latest pictures of their son or daughter to friends, family and anyone else who look at them.  Bringing stacks of pictures to summer cookouts, Thanksgiving dinner and cornering coworkers in the company break room is part of the tradition.

It’s been this way throughout history—you can trace it back to the caveman.  The paintings on the Lascaux Cave walls were primitive baby pictures.  Visiting guests endured an hour or so of the latest images of Junior before settling down to a meal of sautéed wolf paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc.  White wine served with red meat—now that was primitive.

My parents were guilty too. Christmas Eve 1969. I'm the little guy on the right.
My parents were guilty too. Christmas Eve 1969. I’m the little guy on the right.

Pilgrims arriving at Plymouth Rock, brandished selfies and baby pictures taken aboard the Mayflower.  They shared them with members of the local tribes during the first Thanksgiving Dinner and a tradition was started.

Technology improved over the years, film was replaced by digital cameras and Al Gore invented the internet.  Then came the iPhone, turning everyone a photographer.  Before you can say selfie stick a new phenomenon was born—social media.

It started with MySpace, the social media equivalent of the cave painting.   Before long it was replaced by Facebook and Twitter.  Soon distant relatives and complete strangers were posting, tweeting and pinning the most intimate details of their lives with reckless abandon for all to see.

Talk about building a better mousetrap.  Facebook and Instagram gives users a virtual means of cornering family, friends and virtual friends, with the latest family pictures that are draining the storage from their iPhones.  It’s found a home for all those blurry, underexposed iPhone images of today’s lunch, the latest pictures of their dogs or cats, and their children’s everything.

I always said I’d never be one of those parents whipping out and showing off baby pictures to anyone within site, whether they wanted to see them or not, before I became a parent.  According to (multiple) family members that ship sailed long ago.  So far there’s been no intervention, yet    

Cristian is a Social Media Baby—he was born in the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/You Tube era.  His birth announcement was posted on Facebook and Twitter.  Since we have family and friends (real and virtual) all across the Americas and Europe, it was the best way to get the word out.  He’s had iPhones or digital cameras in his face literally since birth.   

Used for Cristian's Baby Announcement
The Image used for Cristian’s Baby Announcement

I’m a Stay at Home Dad who blogs—sites like Facebook and Twitter is essential for promoting I’m Not Grandpa.  Blog posts and social media posts are made with an eye towards not embarrassing the baby.  Cheesy pictures of him could have repercussions.  He’ll probably be taking care of me in my golden years and payback is a bitch.

Many fellow bloggers are careful regarding their children.   Pseudonyms replace their children’s names and some are careful regarding how much they share because you never know.

The flip side of the argument is this. Facebook has allowed me to keep distant relatives in Spain and not so distant ones on Long Island posted on all things Cristian.  Esther and I are amazed at how many follow our posts.  In November she took the baby to Puerto Rico, giving family members a chance to meet our newest addition.  She was surprised how many told her they checked their feeds daily looking for new pictures and updates.          

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The Revolving Door

Cristian with his Titi (Aunt) Neiqui
Cristian with his Titi (Aunt) Neiqui

Shortly after Cristian came home we were ready for the next part of the new-parent ritual—people stopping by to see the baby. This time-honored tradition once featured on a Seinfeld episode is required of all new parents.  Of all the experiences from finding out Esther was pregnant through present day, I dreaded this one most—more than hormones or changing my first drippy diaper.

Throughout Esther’s pregnancy, images of guests showing up in large groups taking turns riding my couch while taking selfies using my son as a prop before posting a Facebook update haunted me.  “Who’s next?”  Maybe my protective instinct kicked in a wee bit early. Who me?

After spending a week or so as tag-team parents, hosting guests provided a welcome change of pace.  Here are the highlights.

With niece Katie with her Baby cousin
With niece Katie with her Baby cousin

The Revolving Door-Visits started small—first it was grandparents stopping by to see the baby. Then a few college friends showed up after work.  Soon friends and relatives called for visits like they were making dinner reservations at a fine restaurant. “We have on opening on Thursday at 7:30.  How many will that be?”  Our lobby was like revolving door, I’d be walking two guests out as another group was arriving.  “Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop on the way out.”

Don’t Be Shy When People Ask What Can I Bring-Lamaze class taught me many things, breathing, pain management and that I reminded the instructor of her husband. Apparently he’s sarcastic too.  Finding that out cost me a look from Esther.  What I remember most was not being afraid to ask friends to bring dinner.  We ate well, home-cooked meals, Chinese, Filipino and Japanese food and lots of empanadas. Just a head’s up if you’re bringing Chinese food, I like the spicy mustard.

The Baby Whisperer-Every family has at least one.  The aunt or family friend found at family gatherings with a baby in her lap. Whether the baby is her grandchild or the neighbor’s child is irrelevant, the experience imparted from these Baby Yodas is priceless. “A diaper change he shall need.”  Need someone to give you a breather or keep your baby awake for extra hour call the Baby Whisperer.

Does this dress look like Esther or me?
Does this dress look like Esther or me?

He Looks Like-From his first sonogram our loved ones started playing the Who Does He Look Like Game.  Five months later, the game’s still on.  I’ve heard he looks like Esther with Frank’s skin color or his hair is the color Frank’s used to be to the distant aunt who sees my dad or her cousin etc. It’s kind of like “What Color is this Dress.”  To date my favorite has been the friend with no relation to either of us insisting he looks like her when he smiles.

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