Friday, December 26, 2008

Baby Personalities

All caught up! Woo hoo! My Week Fourteen update can happen in real time!

In my New Mom's Group, it's been fun to see how different the babies are, even though they're all within a few weeks of each other in age. The Biggest. The Smallest. The Calmest. The Sleepiest. The Most Physically Advanced (eg, rolling over). LL has always had the distinction of being Most Expressive. When all the babies are lying on blankets on the floor, LL is always the one smiling and giggling and making eyes at all the mothers. The other women want to sit near us so that they can watch him, because it really is very entertaining. (Most of the other babies kick their legs and give an occasional smile, but nothing like the facial expressions and eye contact and giggles that LL does.) When the women are talking, LL is the one babbling continuously to try to join the conversation.

Being Most Expressive also has a dark side: when all the babies are crying, everyone in the room agrees that LL is the loudest. I had heard that a baby's cries always sound louder to its mother than to anyone else, so when LL's cries sounded really loud and his "I'm really pissed off now!" shriek sounded particularly shattering, I assumed it was just me. Then I noticed that in a room of a dozen crying infants, everyone was looking at us. And when the other women want to explain that their babies were upset, they say things like, "My baby was crying really loudly... I mean, like LL loud!" So I asked, and apparently, it's not just me -- his cries are objectively louder and shriller than everyone else's.

That's my LL. I use the word "expressive." Or "passionate." When he's in a playful mood, he's totally captivating. This kid can "talk" to me for 30 minutes at a time, babbling and cooing and giggling non-stop and being awfully cute. But you wouldn't like him when he's angry. There's a famous poem that my mom used to recite about me, with the line "When she was good, she was very very good. But when she was bad, she was horrid." (I really did have a curl right in the middle of my forehead, so it was particularly apt.) LL is the same way. He doesn't cry very often, and he doesn't cry very long, but when he does cry, he wants the entire world to know about it.

Among our friends, there are a lot of babies these days. They cover the full spectrum of baby personalities. At one end is Cranky-Baby, who is never ever happy. This kid is over a year old now, and never really got over his colicky start. He still cries at the slightest thing, and looks worried and mopey the rest of the time. At the other end of the spectrum is Robo-Baby. The calmest kid I've ever seen. We spend a lot of time with him, and I've only heard him cry once, and it only lasted 30 seconds. At first we thought he was just very content, but now that he's over a year old, I find it kind of creepy. The kid doesn't emote. He giggles occasionally when tickled, but mainly he just stares and soaks in the world around him.

Before LL was born, S and I said little prayers to not have a baby as miserable as Cranky-Baby. At the same time, we agreed that having a Robo-Baby would get kind of boring. LL is perfect for us -- he's overall a very happy kid, on the Robo-Baby end of the scale, but with a giant personality to go along with it. And now that LL is over three months old, his crying time has dramatically decreased, and his giggly playful time lasts even longer. He still has his moments, usually when he's over-tired, when I think that my eardrums will pop after just one or two torturous shrieks. But most of my day is now spent playing with him instead of soothing him, and we're having a grand ole time.

We're leaving tomorrow for a week-long visit with my family in the frigid Midwest. Reports on LL's second big vacation, and his first interaction with snow, when we return.


  1. Have a safe trip. I love the descriptions of all the babies in your play group

  2. What a great play group! Good luck with your 2nd big trip. I'm in Chicago and it's damn everywhere. Although, it's supposed to be in the 50's on Sunday, go figure.

  3. I agree that having an expressive baby must be fun! Just wait until he is older and never stops talking!

  4. Will you have baby-in-snow pics? I heart baby-in-snow pics :).


Talk To Me!