with Lynne and Leslie

BWA: Babies With Attitudes

by SweetMidlife

Straight out of Maryland

Crazy little baby named Alex

From the gang called “People named Childress”

Hi! Lynne here! No, my child is not starting a rap group, although I think that would be hilarious. And it would be funnier than that French kid from the 90’s who rapped about it being hard to be a baby. Because that song is no one’s friend. No, I was inspired to write the little rhyme above (sorry, Ice Cube) after realizing something about my my baby and me. See, I have a really pleasant kid. He smiles, and he laughs, and he hugs, and he talks to people in his 11 month-old language, and he grins and shows his 6 current teeth and he is generally a happy boy. Except when he isn’t.  There are times when he doesn’t feel like smiling or saying hi to people, even when they’re people that he says hi to every week.  Which is normal, because we all feel like that. It’s just that at his age, he feels his feelings. I’m not talking about when he throws baby tantrums, like when I won’t allow him to jam his baby spoon down his throat, or let him play with the remote control. Those little tantrums are not good, but are chances for me to teach him the best ways NOT to deal with disappointment.  No, what I am talking about are times when he is simply tired, or just doesn’t feel like smiling.  Which makes sense. But I feel like people want to see Happy Alex, and they say things like, “Aww, he usually smiles for me” or, “So, you aren’t going to say hi today?”, and they do little dances to make him smile, which is sweet,  and he is looking at them like he isn’t amused, and they feel bad, and I feel guilty. And I make excuses for him, like he just woke up, or he’s tired, or hungry, so that people don’t feel better about the baby not smiling at them.  And I didn’t realize how slightly off this was until I saw a friend of mine with his wonderful 1 year-old at a group function.  People were smiling at him, but he wasn’t as smiley as he usually was. And my friend said what I usually do, that he was tired,  which he actually was. After he had been put down for a nap, I asked the Dad if he often felt that he had to explain his baby’s moods to people, and he said that he did.  That’s when I realized that the feeling bad is something that I have taken on myself, because I want people to feel good around my kid, because they love him, and I don’t want to have the grumpy kid. So I decided this: I will encourage my son to be a polite, pleasant person who speaks back when spoken to, who is respectful, who doesn’t throw tantrums when he doesn’t get his way, and is someone that people want to be around. Some of these lessons are things that he will fully get as he grows, but some of them can be modeled now in how his parents behave towards him and other people.  But for now, if he is tired, I will let him be tired, but not rude. If he doesn’t want to wave right then, that’s okay. He’s a baby.  A really happy pleasant baby who doesn’t want to or know how to  be “on” all of the time. And that is quite alright. I don’t want to, either.  But I am an adult, and I know that I should speak back to people. But he doesn’t. Because he is a baby. And that’s more than good. That’s who he is, and I am gonna let him be just that.


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