We never want to hear “You’re such a baby.” We don’t want to be thought of as whiny, quick to tears, and scared of loud noises. So we grow up, swallow our fears, fight back the tears, and bite our tongues…all in the name of growing up.
As a new grandmother, the moniker “baby” has taken on new meaning. Nothing new I suppose, but I’ve wondered why babies are so wonderful, fun, and freeing. It’s simple. Babies allow us to be babies too! We revert to playfulness, silly games, expressive reading…all in the name of trying to get that cutie patootie laughing, clapping and smiling. And it doesn’t matter if there are other adults in the room! We fall into the wonderful world of just being.
But, I would have no one to lunch with if I tried to make my friends laugh by clapping my hands and saying, “Say ‘Nana.’ I love you.” Although I will say that a couple of elementary teacher friends happily join me when trying to remember the lyrics to “Do your ears hangs low, do they wiggle to and fro” or do a complete rendition of Shel Silverstone’s “Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout would not take the garbage out…” And with other adults at the table, too. It’s a good laugh shared.
So how do we act like a baby if we don’t have one handy to convince that we are the funniest thing since ripping paper? How can we get the healthy benefits of acting like a baby without alarming our friends? For starters I have a cat and a dog. The cat doesn’t really care, but the dog wags his tail in response to my baby talk (which I can’t even do with my granddaughter because it’s bad modeling for correct speech). But the dog? He’s hearing a melodic string of friendly communication that’s directed to him.
I also created a playlist on my iPhone and called it “House Dancing.” True, I would never, ever do this in front of other people, especially husband and grown children, but alone in my closed up air conditioned house, I crank up the speaker and play “Ice, Ice, Baby” and other songs–and become free, happy and childish. My cat and dog are a clandestine audience, sworn to secrecy, and they sit and watch me as I draw gestures from ancient dances such as the Twist, Hully Gully, Mashed Potato, Watusi, Monster Mash…well, you get the picture.
Come to think about it, I am alone this morning, the house is closed up tight against the desert heat, and the Latin beat of “Sway” is calling to me. Gotta go.