‘Unless, perhaps, she is your own daughter’
I’ll always remember my very first Big-Time Ad Biz TV commercial. It was for Q-Tips, and was called “Still My Baby.” I didn’t even try to find it on YouTube, not just because this was ages ago, but because it was a pretty awful commercial.
It featured this mom who has a baby on a changing table and a jealous preschooler sulking alongside. To mollify the older child, she asks her to “help” by handing her a Q-tips Swab. Then Mom reassures the child (a girl, natch) by thanking her and saying, “Such a big girl. But you’re still my baby.”
Of course, we sarcastic wags around the Ogilvy office ran with this idea. There were scores of “Still My Baby” riffs around the coffee machine. For a singles dating ad: “Got No Baby.” For a custody lawyer: “Not My Baby.” For a birth-control pill: “No More Baby.” For an adoption service: “Pick Your Baby.”
But back to My Baby.
Yes, believe it or not, my baby, AKA The Child, is thirty. Today is her Actual Birthday, in fact. Yes, thirty years ago today (at 6:30AM) I walked to New York Hospital (don’t be too impressed; it was only two blocks away) checked myself in (pausing to lean against the counter and pant a couple of times) and five hours later — The Child appeared.
I was very relieved. Not only did she have all her fingers and toes and a head that was surprisingly dent-free, I was no longer pregnant.
Don’t get me wrong; my pregnancy wasn’t so bad. True, I developed an aversion to strong smells. I had to watch “Dances with Wolves” by myself because the only two seats together in the movie theater were next to a woman chewing Juicy Fruit Gum. (To see how much I absolutely hate gum, even stinkless gum — if it exists — see “In Outer Space, No One Can Hear You Scrinch”)
But I was tired — tired of being pregnant. I wanted to be able to shave my legs and tie my shoes and wear something other than a stone-washed denim jumpsuit that was the only thing that fit and that I told the hospital to burn. I used to say that Mother Nature made pregnancy last nine months because she knew by then you were no longer afraid of giving birth — you wanted that baby out even if she came out your nostril.
I have spared you the sight of me in my one maternity outfit. And you shall be spared photos of The Child being produced. Doctor: “You don’t want your husband to take photos in the delivery room? Giving birth is perfectly natural!” Me: “Doctor, I can think of a few other ‘perfectly natural’ things that I refuse to be photographed doing.”
Anyway. This is supposed to be about The Child and her birthdays. Before writing this post, I searched for photos of her Childness celebrating. You know, blowing out birthday candles and such. But there were precious few. As in, basically, none. When she was a schoolgirl her birthday always fell smack-dab in the middle of Spring Break — and we were always away.
Oh, we would have a cake and presents and so forth, but since there wasn’t a party, photos are rather scarce. (See the photo at the top of this post for a rare birthday shot, complete with crown.)
So, Dear Child, here’s hoping that this year you can celebrate Big Time. It’s not every year that you turn thirty, for heaven’s sakes. Dig out that crown, pop open that bottle, blow out those candles and dig into that cake.
But always remember: You’re still my baby.
Amagansett, New York. March 2021
13 thoughts on ““Never trust anyone over thirty.””
I actually know the guy who coined that phrase, “don’t trust anyone over thirty” when he was a student at Berkley in the 60s. And he’s mentioned in the article in the New Yorker about the New Left. FWIW.
Love your blog.
sorry, I meant it’s “never trust anyone over thirty”
Soooo interesting, Deborah! Also interesting that when I googled the phrase I found info about your friend; some sources say “never,” and some quote him as saying “don’t.” Next time you see him you should set the record straight (!)
Oh! Forgot to say “thank you” to your lovely compliment! “Thank you!”
I will defiantly ask Jack next time I see him. That’s so cool I didn’t know he had a Wikipedia page about him. Nicest guy.
So cute! Happy b-day! Always feels like Mom’s b-day when it’s a kid’s b-day. I had similar feelings about giving birth–just so happy not to be pregnant any more. In fact, that’s what my husband put in the email out to friends: she’s just happy not to be pregnant anymore. Oh, and the babies are fine, too. Something like that! Great pics. We have few of the cake and candle variety because the lighting’s always so bad (or the photographer–usually me).
Thank you, Becca! So funny you should mention that about kids’ b’days feeling like mom’s. I feel much more “bonded” to my daughter’s — perhaps because I was doing so much of the work!
So adorbs, as the cool kids say. I remember near-30 (I was 29) sitting in my Ogilvy office talking to you, the Ad Goddess! You, in all your fashonista-ness. Your Child is beautiful!
What a lovely comment! Those were the days, my Gorgeous Friend. Those were the days! xoxo
You are a wonder. That last picture really got to me.
Thank you, dear Vee! It gets to me, too xoxo
Why, thank you, Mykal!