Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Babies don't be knowing nothin'

One of those things you think-you-know before you become a parent is that babies are "innocent" and "full of wonder." What nobody tells you is that this is code for "babies don't know shit."

Take Isaac. He's doing pretty well for just under 3 months. He is beginning to make baby talk with differing inflection. He will put his hands on his bottle, and he has begun to notice things around him, like the dog and NCAA Basketball on television. But he still doesn't really know much of anything. A short list of things babies don't really know out of the gate:

Cause and Effect
Think about this. How much of your life is based in some way on the premise "If I want X to happen, I need to do Y." Starting a car means turning a key. Clean butts require wiping. Itches need to be scratched. Babies have NO IDEA ABOUT THIS.

Softness and Hardness
Some things are soft. Some things are not. When did you learn this? It wasn't in the womb, where everything is a soft, warm soul-hug. Isaac is all about soft things right now.  But that's because hard things, such as plastic, are still new. Isaac was all about sucking on a chilled rubber teething toy yesterday. Oh, that's another thing!

Babies have NO IDEA ABOUT TEETH! Think about that. And what's worse is that discovering teeth is a painful process, at a time in which your only way to deal with pain is by howling hysterically. You're mean, universe.

Object Permanence
Part of why "peek-a-boo" is so fascinating (and sometimes horrifying) to young babies is that they really have no ability to appreciate that what they can't see is still in existence. When you cover your face, it's not "daddy's hiding" at first; it's "daddy has been sucked into a vague and unknowable abyssal vortex from which HE MAY NEVER RETURN." When you uncover your face, you are teaching your child that objects such as daddy don't disappear, merely leave your field of vision for a moment.  Even more importantly, you are teaching your child that DAD IS EFFING MAGICAL! This will last Isaac until he's about 11, when he realizes that his old man is a cynical, cantankerous bastard. He will then do something horrible in rebellion, like become a Yankees fan.


  1. As long as he doesn't become a Red Wings fan everything will be fine.

  2. ditto DvE's comment!

  3. Thanks so much. It feels good to have people finally appreciate what I've been saying about myself for years.