January 4th, 2011


thou shalt not call the to baby like a dog

So I had to talk with both marc and plan_survive last week about why some extended family members were bugging me with how they treated the baby.

The issue is that sometimes Josie would be focused in on a book or toy or her feet or whatever, but they'd want her to look up at them. Look at a camera, or at a certain present, whatever. So they'd clap, stomp, hit the table, snap at her, yell her name... that sort of thing.

Fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

I couldn't put into words why I hated it so much, it just seemed weird. Some kind of mommy instinct I had was against it, I wanted to stand up and say, "Yeah hi my kid is not a puppy, please do not snap your fingers at her. If you want her to look at the big present you'll just have to call her name like you would a normal person. Or better yet, wait. I promise she will get tired of this first little one very soon, she's not reading War and Peace here, okay?"

I think I got the problem narrowed down to two things:

First, I'm a person who likes to focus. If I'm inspired and working on a project, it doesn't matter if it's sewing or programming or reading or whatever... you'd better not bother me. I've had to deal with this, of course. For instance, being a mom, I get bothered a lot, because the baby only plays by herself on the floor for ten minutes or so before wanting someone to hang out with. So I don't get to write lj entries in one sitting anymore like I used to, and that's okay.

I've also had to make adjustments at work because you have to treat coworkers nicely. It doesn't matter if your headphones are on, you're working on a poster-size block diagram that describes a system in perfect zen harmony, and they interrupt you to ask where we keep blank routing sheets. You have to be nice. Mean people aren't known for having great careers.

Second, I think focus is just a healthy thing. Certainly healthy for a baby. It's taken us a long time to get to a place where she can sit on the floor for ten minutes and eat a duck or something... I think it would be confusing for her for us to send a message that we don't want her to stay on task. There seem to be a lot of problems with kids and attention these days, and I'd like to do what I can so my child is good at focusing in when necessary.

Marc admitted it bugged him a little too and that was nice, I felt good and validated. And I'll even admit, when I want to take a picture of Josie, I sometimes call her name. But I'm going to draw the line at anyone doing much past that. Do not yell "hey" and snap at my kid. I've made an official parenting decision that it's not cool.