Not a Baby

Not a Baby

Originally uploaded by kjda

In June, I was at the pool and kept hearing, I thought, Rory crying.
Again and again I’d look and see … An angry baby, about a year old,
making the noise Rory makes when she cries, exactly. And not the noise
she makes when she really cries–the noise she makes when she fake
cries because she’s angry, or needs attention, or is outraged at the
general un fairness of life.

I decided we didn’t need a crying baby around here, so I started
calling her out on it. Don’t make a noise like a baby, I said, every
time, even when I tried to correct whatever was wrong. Wyatt, don’t
poke Rory. Rory, don’t make a noise like a baby.
It seemed to work.
Then last night, we visited friends with a delicious toddler, and all
night I kept hearing Rory’s other refrain, a long, drawn out,
infuriated NOOOOOOO!!!!!

So now we’re working on that. So and so is a baby, I say. You are not
a baby, and you can talk in words.

It probably won’t be an easy fix…I know this is attention getting
stuff, and obviously it works, and has for years. It works because it
SOUNDS like a genuine cry of pain or sorrow or gut wrenching honest
fury. The thing is not, and that’s what’s difficult about it. None of
the others are capable of the genuine, instinctive sounds that a
wordless baby or struggling toddler makes on demand. You can tell,
easily, what’s fake with them,or even what’s just not a very big deal.
But with Rory I can’t, and it’s a problem both because it’s deeply
annoying, and because of the whole wolf issue. I never know what’s
real for her and what’s not.

I suppose you could make an argument that it’s all real, that for her,
everytime she needs her mommy is a genuine crisis . I have trouble
buying that, because it’s just so constant. Four or five times, every
half hour, that alarm goes off. In the playroom, brushing her teeth,
in the car. The more we answer it, the more it happens. We exhaust

I think it’s more like a behavior that never went away, even though,
age wise, it should have left long ago. A vestige, I guess. Just one
of those things.

We’ll live.

KJ Dell’Antonia
sent from my iPhone

One Response to “Not a Baby”

  1. Lisen says:

    Maybe she is destined to bea really good actor. We’ve decided that Ali should be a tele-novella actress if we can bring back some of her spanish before her first audition.