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Smile at me! I’m a Happy Baby

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder's son

Today I took my son to the library. I mean I tried, but he fell asleep on the way. So instead we took a walk along the lakefront. He woke up awhile later and started to cry. He has been up late a lot lately. Growth spurt I suppose most would say. He has been cranky and pulling new stunts like push- ups and pulling himself up on the table. So naturally I gave him the boob to calm him down. He quickly lightened up and we headed into a café.

I spread my coat on the floor and we sat down. I knew he would want to pull himself up so I sat next to a chair. I looked around at the people. Four women with laptops and ear buds. No one looked up. I knew not look too hard or except a greeting. It’s just how we are, as humans, as social creatures. We go about our business, we know other people are around, but we pretend they are not. Everyone knows everyone is pretending, but we just follow the rules and mind our own business.

Everyone, but Jack. Jack doesn’t know any of this nonsense. Jack quickly pulled himself up on the chair and looked around. He stared at the ladies. He started to yell. “Aaaahhh! Ooooo! Geeee!” No one looked. He continued with his story. I told him it was very interesting and I wanted to hear more. He yelled at the ladies louder. No one looked. These ladies were not being rude in the least. They were simply going about their business in a public place. Blocking out the noises, aware of our presence, but abiding by societal norms.

I couldn’t help but fall in love with my son. Again. He has no idea that there are rules or norms. He was convinced that any moment these ladies would look up and give him a big smile. Because that is what happens all the other times he tells stories. And because he is human and a social creature by nature, but not yet shaped by the norms of our society. It reminded me of how innocent and pure Jack is. It made me happy to know that in a random situation he expected a positive interaction. He expected smiles and laughter.

As I basked in the happiness at my son’s new life I slowly realized that from here on out he will undergo a long socialization process. A bumpy road filled with highs of love and lows of sadness, rules, judgment and prejudice. May Jack’s life be filled with more highs than lows. May his life be filled with smiling faces and laughter at his awesome stories.

Abby Theuring, MSW

Comments

  1. I love this post and feel the same way about my son. He will yell at, stare at, or smile at anyone he sees and I just love him for that. As a parent, you always hope for positive interactions for your children but you know that this will not always be the case. Just the thought of it is heartbreaking. That’s why it’s so important to give him that at home…so he knows he always has a soft place to fall and people who will always smile back at him 🙂

  2. i feel the same way when i am out with sylvia. it gives me hope for society when the big, tough, mean looking guy cracks and gives her a wave or two. babies are the coolest.

  3. This is so true..I feel so bad for my 17 mo wen his 14 yr old half brother ignores him..I try to explain that he’s a baby and to atleast acknowledge him. Then I remember it must b hard on him too to have to share his father and I.

  4. I have never been very social and do more than my fair share of pretending people aren’t there, but, for me, it didn’t apply to kids. I always notice them and if they wave or smile at me, I do it right back. I can’t help it. I’ve even gotten dirty looks from mothers for it. But I don’t engage the kids. I simply respond in kind and go about my business. When my daughter was about 18 months old, she would get upset when people ignored her so I can’t bring myself to ignore other kids. I just explained to her that some people say hi back and some don’t and that’s okay. She’s three now and only talks to cashiers now. Over time, she has learned that they’re usually the only ones that talk back.

  5. Love this! So true my 2yr old had such a blast when ever we go out in public. Every person we pass she says “hello!” With a huge smile on her face. Most ppl are so taken back it takes them a second to respond. Most greet her back with a smile and a “hi” sometimes a compliment on her hair, smile or shoes. She loves all people. Old, young any race or background. The pureness of it all melts my heart. We are all born to accept and love all other humans. Children are proff of that.

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