“He’s got your wrapped around his little finger….”
“Don’t go to him the second he cries out… he’s just playing games and manipulating you.”
I ponder her words as I leave what I am doing to respond to his cry.
Is he just crying to get my attention?
Am I wrapped around his little finger?
Is he really manipulating me?
When he cries, I come. As soon as I can, without question.
But I come because he needs me. Because he is a baby. His cry tells me he needs something and it is my job to figure out what and to fix it. Or at the very least to try.
He is not manipulating me. He can’t.
To manipulate me he would need to understand cause and effect, to be able to consciously choose to communicate in order to get a response as well as many other complex thought processes.
I don’t think he can do any of those things. He is only three months old. He doesn’t even know that he and I are two separate beings.
If he is manipulating me then he must be a genius. I expect him to be sketching Gothic architecture and reading the paper over my shoulder before his first birthday.
No, he is not lying in the hammock secretly scheming and plotting the next step in his plan to control my life….
He is crying.
An innate response, born simply from his need.
So I go to him, and rock him gently back to sleep, knowing that I am not a push over and I am not spoiling him. He is not a genius and he is not manipulating me.
He is just a baby… and I am his mother.
Read the comments or scroll down to add your own:
Brilliant. And exactly.
We are also not ‘teaching them bad habits’ when we do it. We are teaching them that their needs will be met and that they are loved, so much.
Super Sarah says
What a beautiful post and you have echoed what I have felt and thought many times. With my first baby I tried hard to follow all the advice I was given, don’t breastfeed her to sleep, don’t rock her to sleep, don’t go into her too quickly, let her learn to settle herself. With my second baby I breastfed and rocked and carried her in a sling and picked her up and let her sleep on my chest and LOVED every second of it!
Exactly. I don’t get that comment – I think my kids are smart, but there’s no way they’re that smart. It’s their only way of communicating with us and telling us something is wrong, how can that be manipulation?
I used to worry about comments like this when we had our first. Not suprisingly the kept coming with every child.
Yes my child is so clever she has been head hunted by MENSA.
Babies cry because they have a need, simple.
I just saw your comment on my blog and laughed. Shae linked to you too:)
Caroline B says
I got told this when we had our first in February. Seven months on I still go to her when she cries. I sometimes breastfeed her to sleep & she still comes to bed with me of a morning.
I think as parents we know what our children want/need and how is responding to their only means of communication manipulation?
Anywho, thanks again for a great post :)
I am reading the science of parenting at the moment. It should be mandatory reading for parents. So much crap that is spouted over and over is exactly that – CRAP. I worry for the future mental health of all those babies not being tended to promptly.
Don’t be fooled. They are a lot smarter than we think ;)
PS. You can not spoil them with comfort and love!!!
too true. If I had a dollar for every time some one told me this crap
Well said. Those type of comments irk me too. He isn’t old enough to understand why he feels tired or thirsty or hungry, let alone manipulate.
i had a nurse or midwife tell me once from the start in hospital “the more they’re in your arms when they’re a baby, the less they’re behind your legs when they grow older”.
just think of the closeness of (traditionally raised) children with African or Asian mothers, they discover the world safely with mom on the back or in a sling in front.
how can you spoil a child with attention, closeness and love ?
Inner Pickle says
Oh yes. So with you on that one. Hope the person insisting Quatro is scheming is a blow in visitor and doesn’t get to hang out with you frequently. xxx
He is and you are. And a wonderful mother at that x
Oh, comments like that drive me nuts….just smile and back away. When N was a baby I went back to work when he was 6 months old. Before I started I was visiting my workplace and a woman (who doesn’t have kids) told Nathan he was spoilt because he had my whole attention as I wasn’t back at work yet. Toby is now 9 months old and no return to work on the horizon…just think how spoilt he is! :D
I am SO glad you wrote this. This is perhaps the thing I hated hearing the MOST when my twins were babies. And it’s such a widespread notion- sigh. Sharing everywhere ;)