The Elmyra complex takes its name from the Looney Tunes character, Elmyra Fudd, who has compulsion issues in her desire to ‘catch and cuddle’ all things cute. The symptoms for this complex are varied and can be present from birth, though some parents find that signs of the complex can manifest more slowly. Parents throughout the ages have tried to gain immunity from the complex yet none have been known to succeed. Some say the ‘putti factor’ is responsible for igniting symptoms even when the complex has been dormant for several years. Ultimately it is up to us as parents to recognise the symptoms, gush, and try not to become too loony.
Symptoms of the Elmyra Complex are different for each individual. Parents talk of an ‘overwhelming love’, ‘a pull’ or ‘a bond’ that inspires them to vocalise with ‘naws’ and ‘aws’ when they see something that might pass as ‘cute’. These indicators are paired with a desire to smell the cute thing, tickle its feet and to try to make it giggle or snort in order to satisfy the parent’s inner Elmyra. Many parents claim that the complex is present right from the moment of birth, though some parents find that signs of the complex can manifest more slowly. In a moment of distracted observation weeks or even months post birth, an affected parent may have a delayed onset of symptoms and experience an overwhelming feeling of fierce (and sometimes even tearful) love that seems to have come from nowhere.
Currently there is no known immunisation or cure for the Elmyra complex. Despite our best efforts, there have been no babies born that cannot be recognised as cute by at least one other person. The English language is littered with idioms that explain the potency of the Elmyra complex in affecting parents who, from an outsider’s perspective, might have been spared from calling their offspring ‘cute’. ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’, ‘A face only a mother can love’ and ‘Love is blind’ are among some of the most popular expressions we use to explain the seemingly unexplainable ‘hug-em-squeeze-em’ urges that the Elmyra Complex inflicts.
Many kinds of ‘cute’ can prompt the symptoms of the Elmyra Complex. Historically, the ‘putti factor’ is the leading trigger for igniting symptoms even when the complex might have been dormant for several years. Putti (pl, Italian ‘put-ee’ or singular putto) describes cherubic, often winged infants used primarily in religious paintings to add something to ‘aw’ and ‘naw’ at during boring sermons. Especially popular during the Boroque period, they also came to symbolise the omnipresence of god and thus the omnipresence of cuteness in babies. Typical attributes of putti that trigger the Elmyra complex are chubby arms and legs, little feet (especially if the toes are pointing), cheeky expressions, round cheeks, upwards-looking innocent gazes and perfectly smooth looking skin. Even though the putti factor is largely to blame for cuteness overload in infants it is worth noting that even pimply teenagers still cause some parents to be affected all over again.
There is no known immunity to the Elmyra Complex because there is no known cure for what we call ‘cute’.
Ultimately it is up to us as parents to recognise the symptoms of the Elmyra Complex, gush and try to move on. Each of us will suffer from different symptoms and inflict them on our babies without notice – even when our babies have grown into adults. We cannot escape it as it is part and parcel of becoming parents. None of us are immune because our love for our children is forever – and it is this unexplainable love which drives us all a bit loony.
This post was brought to you by the Outie Snuggle Shrug – our cutest product yet.