Cue the epiphany.
As I was laying in bed, I began thinking about pheromones. I decided that children must secrete specialized pheromones. I looked up the definition of pheromone the next morning just to make sure I had it right: "A pheromone is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species."
I'm pretty sure children secrete love-me pheromones. These love-me pheromones trigger a love and loyalty response in nearby adults. The pheromones act most powerfully on the parents of that child, a little less powerfully on grandparents and aunts and uncles and less powerfully on friends of the parents, and so forth. According to my observations, blood relation plays no part in the effectiveness of these pheromones. Neither my niece nor my nephews have any blood relation to me.
So, the more closely we as adults are related to a child, the more powerfully their pheromones act on us. We love them more and are more loyal to them because of these pheromones.
You can take the quiz below to see if my pheromone hypothesis is correct.
Pheromone Hypothesis Test
1. In the picture below, you would describe the little boy as:
a. Kind of cute.
b. Really cute.
c. So adorable that you would give your left arm to spend an afternoon with him.
2. In the picture below, you would describe the little girl pictured as:
a. A little peanut.
b. An adorable little peanut.
c. Such an adorable peanut that peanuts are now your favorite food.
3. In the picture below, the infant pictured is:
a. Your typical one-month-old.
b. Your typical one-month-old but a little sweeter than average.
c. Such a delightfully sweet one-month-old that you want to adopt eight one-month-olds in the next week.
To score your pheromone hypothesis quiz:
Give yourself one point for every letter (a) you circled.
Give yourself two points for every letter (b) you circled.
Give yourself three points for every letter (c) you circled.
If your score was:
7-9 - You are probably a close relation of the three children pictured.
5-6 - You probably have some connection to the children pictured but not a close connection.
3-4 - You are probably not related to the children pictured even though you do think they're pretty cute.
And here are just a few more pictures of these three little sweethearts. You'll have to forgive the overload of pictures. It's the pheromones at work: