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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Baby or Alien?

Yesterday at the gym I was forced to decide between reading Golf Digest or Fit Pregnancy while I was using the eliptical machine (a good break from running); They really need to introduce some variety in their magazines. So, I chose Fit Pregnancy because I might one day be pregnant and I can't really picture myself one day interested in golf -- but I better not bet on it. From my selection I learned all kinds of things: tricks for getting a good's night's sleep in the third trimester, appropriate and necessary forms of exercise, as well as some methods for child rearing. But the most interesting article, and frankly the funniest, was one that was meant to reassure expecting parents in case their baby looks a little bit like an alien.

Personally, I have always said that newborns look like aliens. I mean, they have misshappen heads, their skin is often red and blotchy, or it can even be very white and be peeling off in papery flakes, their eyeballs are huge when compared to the rest of their proportions (quick Trivial Pursuit knowledge: a human's eyes are always the same size, but your other features: nose, ears, lips, etc, grow and change over time), sometimes they have big bushy heads of hair, sometimes they have no hair at all. Let's face it, it would take a parent to love some of these kids. But apparently new parents are sometimes freaked out by these alien-like characteristics too, so the article was meant to soothe them and let them know that their baby is not an alien.

But I think there should have been a follow up article on how to actually spot an alien posing as your baby, so in my alien experience I went ahead and devised a few tell-tale signs of alien-as-baby features to keep an eye out for.

Spit up is, of course, normal, but if they spit up a green mucus and that has a rubbery texture, be suspicious. If they have a tail, particularly if the tail is prehensil, watch out -- could be an alien. Strangely translucent skin is sometimes normal on a baby, but if he or she has a light purple tint or glows at night, especially after having been exposed to a florescent bulb, be aware. And lastly, keep a look out for fangs or other sharp teeth or claws. Real human babies should not have teeth when they are born and their fingernails are very soft and delicate, but if they have teeth, particularly if they have sharp teeth, you might want to notify the authorities right away. You don't want to lay what you think is your precious baby down for a nap and wake later to find he or she gnawing away at your leg. That will probably make it much harder to run for the phone.

But all in all, an alien should be easy to distinguish from a human baby, but you can be thrown off: they smell similiar, sound alike (those strange gurgles can easily be alien language), and often look alike, but by being properly informed and appropriately vigilant you can tell them apart. You'd hate to be responsible for introducing an alien to Earth.

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