Valentine's Day is upon us, and for this year's holiday column, I thought I'd stray from my usual analysis of "A Mother's Love" (volumes one, two, and three!). Sure, it's still totally weird the way parents occasionally describe their relationship to their son or daughter, but we can focus on that subject again another time. I promise.
Instead, today I wanted to take a more simplistic view of the holiday that famously and commercially celebrates love. Love comes in many forms, but the geometric symbol most representative of it is a heart -- and oh, how parents are enraptured by this shape once they have a baby. Not that people don't already discover heart shapes in everyday things, but for parents, discovering a heart shape as it relates to their child amounts to absolute elation. Perhaps their baby accidentally left a heart-shaped imprint on a steamed up window? Or a teeny tiny confetti heart made its way into a diaper filled with diarrhea? Or the sign of true love came in the form of a heart-shaped placenta resembling shark meat when the baby was born? Whatever the discovery, parents are always overjoyed by the extra "love" that surrounds them and their baby when a heart enters the picture.
So in honor of the holiday and its love-filled sentiments, let's check out some examples of various heart-shaped tokens of affection. This Valentine's Day, I can't think of anyone I'd rather curl up on the couch with than random parents on Facebook.
1. Heart Hands
Maternity heart hands have been around for a while, but the ones we typically see involve a partner's hands forming a heart over the pregnant woman's belly. Some people, however, would rather not wait that long to make heart hands. Some people activate a pee stick, wait for the little blue lines to show up, and boom! Instant heart hands status!
I don't know what to say about pictures like this except that it's a very interesting choice of avatar. Is this like a placeholder until a woman's belly has grown big enough to not need the pee stick to emphasize the "pregnant" part? It definitely gets the message across, assuming that message is, "Check it out! You can't tell yet, but this pee stick says I'm WITH CHILD!"
2. Stained With Love
Next time you're not sure what to get your loved one for Valentine's Day, consider pissing the bed in the shape of a heart. It may be wet, but it's warm, and if you're lucky, it'll stain the sheets forever. Now's that's love!
As an aside, how weird is it that I received the above submission as well as the one below from August 2013? FYI, this contest took place on the Merriam-Wester dictionary website, and the objective was to submit a photo to illustrate the concept of "serendipity":
I didn't realize that a pee spot in the shape of a heart was something a person might describe as "serendipitous," but then again, I'm not a mom. Also, who the hell is judging contests on Merriam-Webster.com?!
3. Heart-Shaped Boogie
You'd think I'd be prepared for a picture of a heart-shaped booger after reading about Jaime-Lynn's affinity for picking her son's nose with a bobby pin, or after having unpleasant mental flashes of April and her extra long fake nails, but I really wasn't.
GROSS. Eww. I know we all have boogers, and most of us aren't fortunate enough to have dried nasal mucous in the shape of starbursts or hexagons or whatever, but this is nasty. This image should not be posted on Facebook. It should be posted on a weird fetish site for people who get off on booger shapes, because that's who can actually appreciate it. Well, weird booger fetishists and moms like Jaime-Lynn and April. Seriously, what kind of person stares at whatever came out of her baby's nose long enough to notice it's a "heart shape," much less reach for a camera to snap a close-up to post on Facebook? Maybe Jamie-Lynn should get into scrapbooking.
4. Umbilical Cord Love
Umbilical cords have been fashioned into hearts for so long now, I'm almost ready for the fad to get taken up a notch. Umbilical cord barretts, umbilical cord mustaches on sticks, umbilical cord key rings... You get the idea. But in the meantime, we've just got images like the above (along with all of these, ughhh), which have become standard post-birth Facebook fodder. This image in particular is quite striking because it resembles one of those "curated" aerial photographs of objets on Instagram. Except instead of cute vases with wildflowers siting next to handmade jewelry dishes and a stack of vintage teacups, we have a 6-pound newborn baby, a stretchy cord in the shape of a heart, and a hunk of dark red organ meat. Totes Pinterest-worthy when you add the clipart bunting.
My new favorite expression is "the all-knowing gatekeeper placenta." Here I've been thinking all this time that the gatekeeper had something to do with Zuul, when it's actually just a fancy term for a placenta! And get a load of that umbilical cord art! Nothing says "love" like a bunch of Wharton's jelly smushed and molded into the word "love." Here's a closer perspective, so you can really feel the tender vibes:
No need to dip this fossilized prenatal nutrition delivery system in gold or coat it in several layers of paint. It's perfect as it is, unadorned and raw. All it needs now is a frame.
5. Mom's Gold Star
This is a cross between a disgusting example that I might criticize on STFU, Parents, and a hilarious ode to Valentine's Day, baby style. When most people say, "Ugh, Valentine's Day literally makes me feel like barfing," they don't say it with real authority. At least, not compared to this baby, who really, TRULY feels like barfing. But the main reason this picture gets a Gold Star is because the parents took the image and ran with it. They didn't leave the caption something cheesy like "We're just grateful to have this sweet little man in our lives this Valentine's Day!", because they knew they had an opportunity to mock the holiday instead. And they did a pretty good job of it, too. Well-played, John and Jenny. You two lovebirds made a baby out of love, and then that baby vomited all over Valentine's Day. Your work here is done.