“Ohhhh, no,” my friend said knowingly, looking on as she bounced her own baby on her knee. “Don’t Choose Beautifulehhhh-ver look at your face next to her face up close in a mirror. Goes for your hands, too.”

But it was too late for me. I stared up at the cheap plastic mirror hanging over me as I lay on a play mat with you, two months old or so. I stared the way people stare at a car wreck. “My God, it’s horrible!” I said. “Since when do I look like this?”

I have thought a little more than usual about beauty since you were born – but not because of the effects of pregnancy on my body. It’s more because of the sudden awareness of age and imperfection that comes with producing a tiny, utterly perfect being.  Next to your smooth toffee skin, I suddenly notice the years and beach trips painted on my own. I’d grown accustomed to my rough, perpetually cracked feet, but when I look at yours, with not a line, not a callus, I am awed. I don’t sit around contemplating this; I’m too busy working and cleaning and playing with Legos and enjoying myself and getting things done. It’s just been a shift in the background of my self-perception, so to speak.

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