Coming to the next episode, baby no. 2 who has been extremely shy and unfriendly till date suddenly decided that her social skills needed improvement. When a 10 month old wants to broaden her horizons beyond mommy, there is bound to be trouble.
With baby no. 2 trying to reach out to anyone and everyone in sight, a few valuable lessons were learnt. The world suddenly seemed divided into two kinds of people. One, who adore babies and do not try to hide it, the other kind, not so fond of babies but try not to show it.
Behavioral analysis has never been my subject of study or expertise but when presented with 50 minutes of idle time, an infant and those two kinds of people, all in the same room, scrutiny seemed inevitable.
Baby no. 1 started with a dance class. Not a serious kind of dance but the types where girls giggle and hop and jump and learn a few moves. I fail to understand the significance of classes these days where kids are so young, not only do they have to be dropped and picked up but also be accompanied by an adult during the duration of the class. More like a punishment for the adult. Sure, I love to watch my daughter do stuff, learn new things and dance with a couple of other kids but not every Wednesday and not for nearly an hour and definitely not with a restless baby in tow eager to try out a few moves herself.
So while the girls all take position with their teacher, the parents, mostly moms are provided with chairs to sit and watch from a little higher up. I take my place between two other moms, one of who warmed up to baby no.2 instantly. For her part, the baby needed no further encouragement. She cooed and grinned and even offered the friendly lady her pacifier, now that was a huge step! Me, I was happier than the baby herself. Someone else entertaining the baby is always a huge relief, even if for a short while. After sometime, baby turned direction and set off to conquer the attention of another person sitting on the chair a little away. Using the same tactics, baby no.2 started cooing and calling out with a smile guaranteed to melt any heart (ok, that’s the mother in me speaking). Unfortunately the object of her affection had better things to do. She was intently watching the dance floor where her son or daughter must be participating and baby no. 2 was a distraction. She smiled back once and continued watching, a clear dismissal. Baby no.2 was in mood to accept rejection. She called out again, first in soft tones and then louder, demanding attention. My effort to calm the baby with a pacifier resulted in it flying, landing on an empty chair.
By now I was embarrassed and angry. Embarrassed to be the mother of this ill mannered child (wait, do infants know a thing about manners?) and angry at myself for not being able to keep her quiet (lack of control!). Another important lesson learnt. The concept of a controlling mom, simply a myth.
I had always thought it was impossible to ignore a baby in either case smiling or screaming. That sweet lady did prove me wrong. She just sat at her place ignoring all advances by baby no.2. To her credit, she didn’t appear to be irritated. Wisely, I stepped out of the class to amuse baby no. 2 with friendlier things in view like the green trees and a flying bird.
We drove back home humming songs on the radio, me and my princess while baby no.2 gazed away into nowhere out of her car seat. Was she sad at being ignored, I wondered. Nah, I said to myself, the remarkable thing about being a baby is all you need is your mommy. She is your world, everything else almost nonexistent. And someday when she is old enough I will tell her, the same goes for mommy too. (hope Dad isn’t reading this!).