rushthatspeaks: (parenting)
[personal profile] rushthatspeaks
It's not that I spend more time with other babies, now that we have one, but I notice them more in public, I think, and also I can read them better. So I'm starting to develop a taxonomy of babies, though if I've missed anything major please do let me know.

The Omnibenevolent: this is Fox's type. They love everything. Everything. The universe, and being alive, and being awake, and you! Yes, you! They love you very, very much. They love you even if they have never met you. They love you so much that they will only cry for about thirty seconds if you hold them in an uncomfortable position and shove a giant needle into their leg, and then they will give you a look which says that they know you must have had a good reason to do this, because you are so wonderful, and they stop crying. (We do have a good reason, of course, but the automatic trust-- rather, the incapacity for anything other than utterly adoring trust-- is humbling to the point of being terrifying.) I hope Fox stays like this as they grow older. There's certainly a chance of it, as their mother is actually pretty darn omnibenevolent, though not in quite such a visible-to-everyone fashion.

Silently Judging You: At church, Fox has, not a playmate, because they are both too young for that, but another baby who is in proximity a lot. Although it is not quite her name, I think of her as Viola, because of Fox's real-life name, which makes that feel appropriate. Anyway, I have been in Viola's presence two or three times, and each time I was made aware by her facial expression that I was dressed too informally for the occasion, had dreadful manners, and was certainly living down to her expectations, but then it is so hard to find good help these days. She is about nine months. She is Silently Judging You.

Furious: I have a lot of sympathy for this type of baby, because they can't MOVE right and they can't DO WHAT THEY WANT TO DO and nobody LISTENS RIGHT and they are going to COMPLAIN until either they can DO THINGS or SOMEBODY FIXES IT. I mean, this is a set of things that really suck about being a baby, and about some kinds of problem it's going to be literally years before it gets better. I'm not sure if I'd say that it's fortunate or unfortunate for everyone concerned that the complaining, although sometimes it is dreadfully exhausting for anyone in a ten-block radius, is at other times distressingly ADORABLE.

Not Actually Present: They aren't convinced about this whole embodiment thing yet. They'll get back to you. You can kind of get their attention, sometimes, in a distant way, but they're probably astrally projecting from wherever it is they happen to come from, and we just aren't visible enough to them for them to really put in the effort, you know? As time goes by, they'll find things they care about enough to pay attention, but it can be a while-- sometimes until they're able to read, or digest chocolate, things like that.

Confused: What? Wait, what? What's going on around here again? Why did you...? None of this makes any sense! Ah, well. Might as well go along with it. They're sure they'd notice if something were actually wrong. It's just that... what? Why does nobody ever sufficiently explain anything?

Hail Fellow Well Met: They give the impression that up until a moment ago, they were Silently Judging You, but you have passed. Their attention is a gift, which they are bestowing upon you, because you are for some reason interesting... at least right now. But you'd better keep them amused. You come away with a vague sense of having been interviewed by a C-suite executive.

Date: 2017-05-10 06:19 am (UTC)
nineweaving: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nineweaving
I love this so much.

I just spent part of an afternoon with a Pioneer or Lunar Lander: what's this? what's this? They're not all perturbed when the cookie is unmade; what they were after was textures: friable and squishy.

The Fox has some of their clothes.


Date: 2017-05-10 07:33 am (UTC)
rosefox: Green books on library shelves. (Default)
From: [personal profile] rosefox
Kit started out as Omnibenevolent and is now more Hail Fellow Well Met with adults. A friend who hadn't been by in a while came over yesterday and exclaimed that Kit has so many more facial expressions than they did the last time she saw them. "Yes," X said, "most of them are side-eye." But they are really very tolerant and indulgent even when we make jokes that they don't think are funny. They are exceedingly good at the gently condescending smile.

With other babies, Kit is primarily Confused. Alas, by the time they figure out what the other baby wanted, the other baby has moved on to something else.

The two friend-babies who we hope will be Kit's friends are both 100% Omnibenevolent and I really want to get all three of them in one place together so they can all smile at one another and feel great about everything.

Another friend's daughter is so thoroughly Silently Judging You that I kind of want to hire her to write book reviews. She's only two years old but her opinions are clearly of really superior quality.

Date: 2017-05-10 08:18 am (UTC)
surpassingly: (Default)
From: [personal profile] surpassingly
I giggled a lot at this post, what excellent taxonomy!

My baby niece is definitely Hail Fellow Well Met. Whenever I spend time with her I feel I'm having to impress royalty.

Date: 2017-05-10 08:21 am (UTC)
much_of_a: Teacup and biscuit jigsaw puzzle (Default)
From: [personal profile] much_of_a
Not quite personality types, but:

One of ours was a Neutronium baby. Such are otherwise perfectly normal, but when picked up appear several times heavier than seems reasonable from their (again, perfectly normal) size. This never failed to astonish people.

The other had a Paddington[1] stare - we would be innocently sitting in a cafe or somesuch, and they would choose a random person to Look At. If that person had their back to us, one could see them getting gradually more uncomfortable, until they had to turn round to see who was staring at them.

[1] as in Paddington Bear, of course.

Date: 2017-05-10 09:38 am (UTC)
cahn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cahn
This is great. My older one was the Not Actually Present sort of baby, and my younger was/is Omnibenevolent, which is seven kinds of awesome. (As a toddler, he is now Mostly Benevolent, in that he is more likely to be shy around strangers (as a baby it was all good: strangers, family, everything), but once he has accepted you as part of his world -- not judged you, merely got to the point where he recognizes your face -- then you're clearly a friend :)

My sister's baby was the Furious type. It was adorable for short periods of time such as would be spent by an aunt. It was rather extremely exhausting for my sister. Fortunately, once she became able to DO ALL THE THINGS like walk and talk and play with Play-Doh, she became much less furious and more manageable.

Date: 2017-05-10 10:39 am (UTC)
mrissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrissa
My goddaughter was born skeptical. I had met her elder brother, my godson, when he was 17 months, and he had this amazing skeptical expression. "I wonder when that developed, it's so great!" I thought on the day I met him. When I met her she was 20 hours old, and I had my answer: instantaneously. Silently Judging Skeptical baby from birth. (When I noted this Stella said, oh yes, when they handed her to Mike to wash off, she was not sure he knew what he was doing.)

She was not silently judging you harshly. It was not that you were completely not the thing and my God what were you even thinking with the way you handled that situation. It was more...oh...well, I suppose that's a way a person could...oh dear, if that's the best you could do with...yes, all right, let's all get on with your plan and see how it turns out for all of us, but...rather. Hmm. Rather.

She has turned into the most actively encouraging person I know of any age. I am privately convinced that this is not a personality change, because "nobody quite knows what they're doing on this planet" and "everybody could use a little boost to do their best" are not even remotely mutually exclusive. I am looking forward to going glass fusing with her on Sunday because whatever it is that I do with my piece, she will certainly have positive feedback for parts of the process. And she will encourage the crap out of my dad, which I cannot wait for.

Date: 2017-05-10 10:40 am (UTC)
mrissa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrissa
(Also until you got to the bit about their mom being an Omnibenevolent, I had not processed this but it is true as far as I have observed, and it made me laugh.)

Date: 2017-05-10 11:26 am (UTC)
kore: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kore
This is amazing.

I dunno what kind I parents always said I was pretty happy and quiet and easygoing, smiled a lot, but then when their backs were turned I'd zip off and do something naughty I'd been repeatedly told not to do, like eat the heads (just the heads) off my mom's flowers or ripping flocked wallpaper off the wall. (I maintain ripping flocked wallpaper off the wall is still a very reasonable response to it.) I'd also sit in my playpen with an assortment of toys and sing and talk to them very quietly but all the time. I think I was probably mostly Not All There.

My partner, otoh, was pure Omnibenevolent. Wonderful world, beautiful people!

Date: 2017-05-10 12:26 pm (UTC)
watersword: Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann from the epilogue of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, & the word "elizabeth" (Elizabeth: grownup)
From: [personal profile] watersword
This is a good post and you should feel good about it.

Date: 2017-05-10 12:48 pm (UTC)
asakiyume: created by the ninja girl (Default)
From: [personal profile] asakiyume
Your taxonomy is excellent--I'm especially fond of the three following "Silently Judging You"

When they were very little (under nine months), I had the impression that my first child had come from a Better Place and was very unhappy to be here on Earth with us, whereas my second child had come from a Worse Place and was beside themself with delight to be here. (The third one impressed me with their amazing tranquility and equanimity, and since their name means something like that, I was very pleased not to have named them something like--well, Furious, for instance. The fourth was close to omnibenevolent, though nothing springing from my loins could ever be 100 percent benevolent.)

Date: 2017-05-10 04:21 pm (UTC)
ethelmay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ethelmay
One of mine had an expression from birth that my husband identified as, "Oh, crap, not this universe again!" The Silently Judging one fits her reasonably well. Not sure what to call her twin sister, who was more of a mix. (They're fraternal, and though they tended to have similar reserved expressions when confronting outsiders, had and of course have very different personalities.)

My niece was the Furious one, and hated being a baby. She got much nicer about the time she could crawl, and not much later she was walking (eight months, IIRC), then climbing everything, etc. So after that she was busy and difficult to watch, but nearly always cheerful. Her parents coped in part by putting an old mattress in the living room on which she jumped for several hours a day.

My youngest was more or less of the Omnibenevolent type, at least for his first six months or so. I can only remember two times in that half-year that he ever cried for more than ten minutes (the night he came home from the hospital, and the night after his first set of shots). He also smiled at everyone (that became more or less permanent). I thought he would end up the life of the party, like one of my uncles, but in fact he's more of a loner, though everyone likes him.

Date: 2017-05-10 01:14 pm (UTC)
thistleingrey: (Default)
From: [personal profile] thistleingrey
Yes--this not only is amusing but rings true to me.
My child has been Silently Judging You since about three months old. A friend from grad school called it out, perhaps partly because the friend had identified a kindred spirit. :P In my kid's case it has developed into watching to see that things are fair.

Date: 2017-05-10 02:56 pm (UTC)
umadoshi: (riceball love (snowgarden))
From: [personal profile] umadoshi
This is wonderful. *^^*

Date: 2017-05-10 03:42 pm (UTC)
larryhammer: a low-fidelity picture of a man, label: "some guy" (Default)
From: [personal profile] larryhammer
I recognize all those types.

We didn't meet TBD till 15 months, but I strongly suspect they were the Silently Judging type. Certainly, their response to new people and situations has been to watch and wait, since meeting.

Date: 2017-05-10 03:48 pm (UTC)
sartorias: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sartorias
There is the I Shall Rule the World baby, who is content as long as all eyes and attention is on them. The moment the phone rings, or the big humans go off to do something else, it's time for the red alert, four-alarm bellow "You Shall Return and Worship Me!"

Then there is Stealth Kid. This baby smiles gently, and as soon as all attention is otherwhere, will crawl, or side roll, or somehow get at those yummy, fascinating things that they keep being pulled away from. Like those wonderful plug things in the wall, or the cabinet of mysteries, or the front door . . .

And I nearly forgot the Talker. This baby (my first) babbles constantly. Coos, sings, never stops talking. Will even avoid hassling with human words because they are so clumsy and slow, until, oh, about two years, then overnight out come the sentences. And then they really let 'er rip.
Edited Date: 2017-05-10 03:50 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-05-10 04:59 pm (UTC)
ithiliana: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ithiliana
Fantastic post. I recognize them all even in my childfree state. I like interacting with babies from afar in public spaces like grocery store lines and such.

Date: 2017-05-10 08:00 pm (UTC)
roadrunnertwice: Vesta Tilley, Victorian drag king (Default)
From: [personal profile] roadrunnertwice
This post is very good.

Date: 2017-05-11 12:52 am (UTC)
skygiants: the Ninth Doctor leaning smugly back against the wall (ayup)
From: [personal profile] skygiants
Silently Judging You babies are my favorite babies to encounter on public transit because their dubious expressions make me laugh every time.

Date: 2017-05-11 02:31 am (UTC)
ethelmay: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ethelmay
It's really fun watching them fall asleep. "Oh, yeah? Oh, yeah? Oh ... yeah ..." *eyes close* *head tilt* *mouth open*

Date: 2017-05-11 03:32 am (UTC)
rachelmanija: (My brother and my mother?!)
From: [personal profile] rachelmanija
According to my parents, I was Silently Amused By You. Possibly that's a version of Hail Fellow Well Met.

Date: 2017-06-03 04:54 pm (UTC)
tiamat360: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tiamat360
i'm sorry we didn't get a chance to meet up last weekend :(. turns out it was crazy full of reunion activities and family things, and we didn't see anyone outside of those except for the few people we literally ran into on the street. i'm sure we'll be out in boston at *some* point, and kids are more fun to interact with each other when they're older anyway :D.

also, p. sure Verity is Hail Fellow Well Met. she's got some serious judgement face going on, but when she's in a good mood and knows you she will give you the biggest smiles and giggles :D :D. also her looks when we're putting her in the car seat are pure "do you actually know what you're doing here?"


rushthatspeaks: (Default)

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