Mixed thoughts on this video. On the one hand, it’s pretty cute, and let’s face it — the only thing a newborn is actually good for (as far as social media is concerned) is looking cute. Cute newborns are rare, so if these babies truly are twins, it makes them even more of a novelty. However, as I continued watching I came to realize that the peaceful soundtrack does not match up with the actual content of the video.
These babies aren’t hugging; they’re being pressed into each other and grow increasingly uncomfortable as the video progresses. Whenever the ‘nates attempt to reposition themselves, the ominous pair of hands holding the two presses them even more firmly together. At 1:13, they begin to grow restless. One look at their faces is enough to know that these babies are getting fussy, despite the ultra-calming “babies in nature” track playing in the background. Mere seconds later, they attempt to push away from one another, only the hands are holding them firmly in place.
I finally started to get uncomfortable around 1:40, when the hands slowly begin to rotate the head and neck of the baby on the left as if to pose it, only the owner of the hands does not seem quite certain how they ought to pose the baby’s head. I feel as if I’m watching a sculptor at work, only they are using living baby flesh instead of clay.
The hands finally opt for smooshing the heads of these two neonates together and then rotating the head of the one on the right to make it look as if it is kissing its sibling. This baby keeps resisting, and the one on the left lets out a few good cries (at 2:15) before starting to kick. The handling gets even more rough at this point, and you can see just how hard they are being held at 2:22, when the thumb of the left hand digs into Lefty’s fleshy little cheek. The babies are now visibly struggling to break free from a missionary-like position. (So much for “can’t stop hugging.”)
Just as the struggle begins to get interesting, the camera cuts away (2:26), and we’re back to peaceful-looking babies being pressed together… for all of ten seconds. Now it’s Righty’s turn to show distress, and the hands do this really impressive smoosh-and-snatch move to get those babies the hell out of that bath:
STEP ONE: Establish firm grip on babies’ heads and necks.
STEP TWO: Smoosh & hold.
STEP THREE: Pressing both babies firmly together, lift as if they were a single unit.
STEP FOUR: Whoa, now! Careful not to drop! (There’s a mid-lift cut at 2:43.)
STEP FIVE: Set down upon towel. Choose the baby whose cries of pain are most pleasing to your ears and bend back a limb of choice until you hear it snap. Then, cover and dry, once again treating babies as a single unit.
Lefty is apparently a boy, by the way. And something just tells me that Righty — whose leg appears to be broken by the handler exactly two seconds before the video *conveniently* comes to an end — to be a girl. The more I watch of this now-viral video, the more ludicrous it seems. Look, I totally get the urge to exploit neonates. They’re vulnerable, they’re not actually people, and they’re not even very interesting. The consciousness of a newborn (or a young infant) is completely reflexive, governed by primitive instincts which are shed as the mind forms. They’re essentially fetuses outside of the womb. Plus, they shit and scream and eat, and then they shit and scream some more. Your job is to look after them — feed them and change them and sometimes even poop for them. They owe you for their continued existence, so why shouldn’t you come up with fun and creative ways to exploit them for fun (or even profit)?
But there’s a line you just don’t cross, and it seems to me that the French nurse who made this video (and apparently owns some sort of “infant spa” in France) seems to be dancing right up against it. The sight of these two naked babies being forcibly held together makes my skin crawl. The sexes of these babies are irrelevant (since neonates are gender and sexuality-free anyway), yet I’d argue that the manner in which they are being treated is indeed borderline sexual.
It’s one thing to bathe babies together. It’s something else entirely to smear their bodies together and simulate affectionate gestures like hugging and kissing and who knows what else. True, the babies are oblivious to what is actually be done to them; all they’re aware of is their own acute distress — if even that much. But suppose these weren’t newborns being held and rubbed together. Suppose this were being done with older babies, or with one older baby and its newborn sibling. Suppose neither of these babies were siblings. Would it still be cute and innocent fun then? The manner of this simulated encounter makes me wonder if this “spa nurse” (or the parents) has some sort of an infant fetish.
And to allege that they would have behaved this way in the womb is highly inaccurate. These twins were clearly not monoamniotic, so the only flesh-to-flesh contact they might have had in the womb would have come from their umbilical cords touching/tangling together — if that much even counts.
Do I think what’s being done to these babies is wrong? Of course not; their parents clearly sanctioned it, which is the only factor that should to be taken into account in dealing with neonates. (They’re essentially just fetuses anyway.) But I certainly do find this creepy, and the video is just ten times worse. Odds are these babies will survive their infancy, see this video, and wish they hadn’t.