Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Inter-blog Commentary : Golden age of babyhood

I am the youngest of my extended family. The "baby" they said. Being treated as such I developed some hearty resentments about never being the first to drive a car, or the first to travel, drink, get laid, etc etc. Being the first to graduate with a degree in Medieval Studies, the first to marry a pothead she found in a ditch in the English midlands, and the first to sit as a youth delegate in both the provincial and federal legislatures have done little to temper this resentment.

Among our friends we were, for a long while, the last ones in. Our daughter is the youngest from an officeful of pregnancies in '04. Our pregnancy was the last in the neighbourhood and in our circle of friends. As a mother, I found early on I was again at the receiving end of a LOT of baby treatment, largely in the form of advance notice about how things were going to be. One friend invariably informed me that where she was at any moment was HELL and I was at a "the golden age of babyhood", regardless of the fact that where I was at the moment corresponded to where she was the last time we had our 90 day lattes.

The exception to this has been my experience in the blogour-hood, you know that circle of blogs so neatly fleshed out in the delurker contest of last January. Within the blogour-hood we are housemates with an older child -- while a few notable exceptions must be made for the senior counsel of the sicker, the sitter and the morphmommymaker; plus, most senior advisor Granny. I enjoy looking at the words and work of everyone daily; tuning in to the things you are all doing with some confidence that I know whereof you speak. I try to react with the unconditional support I crave, and have been lucky to get from some quarters, as a parent.

Sometimes I stumble and fall into the my kid/your kid gutter. A short while ago I put my daughter through a blog-inspired activity and haven't really recovered, yet. I guess it took hold due to the image meme by GCC, but it hardly started there. No, I picked up on little comments here and there where kids of bloggers saw or met the kid of another blogger and had some adorable reaction. The covetousness kicked in! Is that it? Or was it actually that I am -- quite harmlessly -- at the moment baby crazy... and, the thought of sharing my delight in looking at the pics of all your kids with my daughter has been an until then unrealized pastime? More likely the first... really because it does all coincide with a period of great angst I have about the social needs of an 18 month old.

Did you know it is an inscrutable state of affairs? I believe I have now passed out of the golden age of babyhood .. and, what, into the stone age of daunting confusion..?

Of late MetroDad got me going with his talk of friendship and the hugs and kisses photos of Pea and June... With this latest friendly-children story I reflected on what transpired when I introduced our Girl Friday to everyone's children online. It did not go for us as described by y'all. She didn't laugh at silly faces or comment on toys. Instead with each picture e. grappled to identify and to place the children, to identify the known face in the shape of the unknown. Any resemblence she reckoned resulted in questioning looks to me joined with names of children she knows in real life. This is not entirely limited to digital representations. She can see a tall man, with glasses and grey hair and say 'gahmpah', asking for my dad. When p-man had a pink mug out last night instead of his standard beige caffine-stein, the voice came 'baba?'.. I guess my Mom always uses this mug? There are tears at the playground when a strange child crowds in but peals of laughter with a friend in daycare. It is a dizzing matrix of relationships and I feel out of my depth. Will it be for good or ill, my child's differentiation?

When she was very small we had an argument about crows. She knew in her home, in her life really, that there were these individuals and we were each someone.... me, Oma, Baba, Papa-man, Gahmpah, Gigi,.. Dexter and Filip... We went outside and there were many others. There was that crow there and he was everywhere. In keeping with his reputation he tricked her? I worked with her to explain how though every one is identical they are all individuals. Sometimes I think I was wrong doing this.

I know full well to classify is human, but the concept overall wigs me out. Not that I will give in to the 'deux ex machina' parenting; I don't think it's cause and effect. I just wonder what she does think? Sometimes the outward expressions show she is more uncomfortable than comfortable. But as advertised above, I am clueless.


Blogger Granny said...

Senior adviser huh? That's great - I've been called much worse.

Finally found your comment on L. and now realize you were kidding. Still a good idea though.

I kind of like we're all pink inside.

I worry about my girls - maybe unnecessarily.

9:34 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

I'd say her response to pictures of strangers is perfectly sound for her age. Children this age don't "do" abstract thinking. Classification is fun, though. Even funner is the inevitable over-generalization.

I can handle being "the sitter". Better than "the sicker". As I recall, the last line in my version is "Turn them out! Knaves, all three."

Knave? I can live with it...

10:55 a.m.  
Blogger L. said...

Thanks for another good reason to use to defend my position of not posting any photos on my blog.

This decision was initially rooted in laziness, but has now grown into something pathological.

Overgeneralization: photos just confuse everyone.

12:52 p.m.  
Blogger nonlineargirl said...

It seems like your gal's attempts to "place" the people she sees in the photos is a sign of advanced thinking.

My daughter (8 months old) can recognize some people in photos - especially herself - but is not yet advanced enough to really care if she knows the cute kid in the photo. Sounds like your daughter has figured out that images represent real people, so she's trying to connect the pictures to her mental list of real people. It is pretty cool.

4:53 p.m.  
Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

Your daughter is one special girl. I am in a similar place with you. I do not have any local parent friends and Archer has not socialized with any babies yet. I am trying, though. In the meantime, I look to all of you for friendship and support and it has meant a great deal to me.

Great post as usual.

10:15 p.m.  
Blogger Andrea said...

beautiful amazing child with an increadable mom and dad!!!
You are definitly doing something right.

I missed the whole showing my kid fellow bloger pics. hmm, she has tons of friends already. She also has this nasty habit of hugging everyone!!

3:24 a.m.  
Blogger stefanierj said...

D doesn't even seem to notice the cute pics of babies, which saddens me to no end. Doesn't he know he's supposed to share mommy's sick fascination for people she could not, if asked, pick out of a crowd of one?

3:44 a.m.  
Anonymous MetroDad said...

Mo-Wo...I don't know what I'd do without the advice of strangers from the internet. All of our friends and peers seem to have had kids at precisely the same time. There is no Counsel of Elders among us. God Bless Al Gore for inventing the internet.

11:11 a.m.  

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