Today I received a baby announcement in the mail. I love announcements with pictures. Especially artistic newborn photography with babies wearing knitted hats or lying in tiny baskets. The announcement I received today was a single photograph of my friend’s new baby boy — wearing a tiny white hat and swaddled tightly in a blue blanket. Scripted font detailed his name, length of 19 inches and weight of 7 pounds, 8 ounces.
I smiled at the picture. He was a handsome little fellow. I left the picture on the counter, because I’m never sure what to do with the announcements after I’ve looked at them, especially when they are printed on heavy iridescent card stock. It seems rude to throw them away. I don’t have a refrigerator that is magnetic, so it was a card without a home. I decided that for now I would leave it on the kitchen counter, propped up against the backsplash.
As I walked through the kitchen later in the day, I thought more about the details included in baby announcements. How did we get in the habit of including length and weight? What is someone supposed to do with that information? Don’t get me wrong, it was on both of my girls’ birth announcements, but why is this the most pertinent information to include? If these facts were noteworthy, that would be interesting. A 15-pound baby? Write that weight down and underline it. A baby who is as tall as a toddler? That’s fascinating. But within a normal range? Eh.
A few days later I sent my friend a soft stuffed monkey from a local store. Why a monkey? I don’t know. The announcement had done nothing to help me find the perfect gift. For all I know, that monkey might already be in the trash can. “Ew, a monkey. He doesn’t like monkeys!” My friend might have said upon unwrapping the gift, “If only Alyssa would have sent him a onesie fit for a 19-inch, 7-pound, 8-ounce baby.”