It's all about taking pride in how cute your kids are, even though you didn't really have much to do with it. It's not like you spent months training them to make adorable expressions and strike charming poses and gambol about like carefree fawns (and if you did, that's not cute at all, it's just creepy). All you did is have the foresight to procreate with someone whose genetic material combines in a pleasing way with your own. Or if you adopted, I guess you just got lucky.
I realized this when we took the girls to a special Halloween event at a bookstore on Saturday, and the sight of them careening around in their homemade (in a Vietnamese sweatshop) costumes caused seemingly reasonable adults to clutch their chests and gasp with delight.
The reactions they got made me feel awesome. About myself. Look what I (and my wife, of course) had created! Who cares about my jowls and my chemo-hair? I have cute children, and that proves that I was once hot. In fact, having one or more of them near me mitigates most of the flaws in both my appearance and my personality.
I had already been aware of this phenomenon to some extent in everyday encounters with people; but crank up the cuteness to eleven with wings and headgear, and the returns are increased manyfold. It almost makes you understand why people get their children involved in pageanting*.
Once we had gotten a taste for parading the costumed children around in public, we took every opportunity to do more of it. Yesterday morning we took them to our local farmers' market in their costumes, where the effect was heightened by the bucolic setting. There was really no reason to let them linger at the flower vendor's tent for more than a few seconds, as they would have been just as content to poke around in a trash pile. No reason, that is, except for the gratification of hearing passersby cry out, "Oh my goodness! It's a little ladybug in the flowers! *Gasp* And a bumble bee too!"
That's right, lady. Pretty mind-blowing, no? And you never would have guessed I had it in me to sire even one, would you? I have got it going on.
And though the rush you experience from snarfing down three Nestle Crunch bars and a box of Nerds while your wife's back is turned is sweet indeed, it hardly compares to the life-affirming experience of absorbing perfect strangers' adulation of your loin-fruit.
*Despite what your fancy dictionaries might tell you, "pageant" can be and is used as a verb. I was going to provide a link to one of the first sites that comes up when you Google "pageanting," but I didn't have the heart. It made me sad and I didn't want to come off as an elitist a-hole. But don't let me stop you from looking it up if it makes you feel good to laugh at people whose passions you find distasteful.