being a baby

Kiddo4 has decided to become a baby.

Last month, a woman brought her newborn to rosary group. She was working hard to keep him happy, and after a while I took him so she could have a break. It’s the “new pair of arms” effect, something that frequently convinces new moms that other women know how to calm a baby whereas they cannot. (Baby X’s mom had three other babies, so she knew what was going on.)

The baby did calm down, but it took a lot of work to keep him that way. I did all the baby-moves that keep little ones calm and eventually had him propped in that natural-baby-seat you can make with your own legs, and he was looking right into my eyes, and because we were praying the rosary out loud, I baby-talked the Hail Mary. Thank Heaven Mary was a mom herself. She gets it.

Kiddo4 came to watch toward the end, and afterward, I did Baby Exercises. For those who’ve never held a newborn, that’s when you have the baby on his back and you move his legs, move his arms, clap his feet, whatever. No one breaks a sweat, but you’re “patterning” the full range of the baby’s motions. I did peek-a-boo, hiding behind his feet. All the goofy things you do with a human who can’t move or talk but knows how to scream.

This fascinated Kiddo4. “Did you do that with me when I was a baby?” Yes, all the time. So I showed him how to rub a baby’s tummy if the baby has gas, and how to pat the baby to make him burp, and all that good stuff. I handed Baby X back to his mom, Kiddo4 climbed right onto me. I said, “Were you having big jealous feelings?” and he said “oh, yes.”

(Glad he’s honest.)

Ever since then, Kiddo4 has wanted to be a baby. Not when it’s time to eat sushi, of course, but when I’m sitting at the computer, he must be a baby. He requires baby exercises. (That’s quite a trick, considering how long he is now.)  He must be held across my lap and snuggled. He must look at all his baby photos and point out in every one, “That’s baby me!” He’s four, but he requires back-patting. (And once, hilariously, he did burp.) He makes little baby sounds (“Aah!”) and expects me to imitate them.

I said, “I already did that with you. I had enough of that. You grew up, remember?”

Nope. He’s still a baby. Except for the sushi.


  1. Lorraine E. Castro

    I loved this post! Such universal issues! Maybe you can convince Kiddo4 not to want to be a baby by letting him do a few cool things and commenting that no baby could pull that off.

    1. philangelus

      Yeah, it hasn’t worked that way so far… Babies can’t eat sushi, babies can’t watch Star Trek, babies can’t go to preschool…. “I will eat my sushi and then be a baby.” Or, “I will be a baby at night and go to school and be big.”

      He’s onto us. 😉

      1. Lorraine E. Castro

        Then be thrilled he’s crafty beyond his years. It will take him far in life. He knows how to get what he needs. Beside, I bet he gets tired of playing baby eventually, especially if a peer calls him a “baby”.

        1. philangelus

          He’s definitely crafty. 🙂

          Last week at the library he was playing with an alphabet puzzle that didn’t have quite enough letters for his name. He picked up a capital P and turned it over, then used that for a D. I was seriously impressed he could do that. He’s only four.

          (He also heard that a kid was named “Owen” and said, “That spells ON.” Owen….O-N. He’s smart.)

  2. K8e

    😀 “Behold my future.” My two-year-old has decided that he doesn’t have to choose between being a big boy or a baby, too. He’s a baby at home and a big boy everywhere else.