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What Would Emily Post's Baby Do?

Madeleine had a few firsts recently, all in one fell swoop –
Her first real playdate (as opposed to two newborns lying side by side on a blanket)
Her first real interaction with a boy
Her first case of assault by said boy
Yep, it was a busy afternoon for my girlie.  We had my girlfriend Renee in with her baby Elijah.  Now, Eli’s three months older and twice the weight of Maddie; the kid’s a real bruiser and, if his dad and uncle have anything to say about it, a future linebacker for first the Tennessee Vols and then the Tennessee Titans.  Maddie’s knee-deep in her fascination-with-other-babies phase; she’s simply hit that age where she realizes there are babies other than her (Quel Horreur!) and is captivated by them.  Thus far, though, all interactions have been more of the waving-hello-from-one-mommy’s-lap-to-another’s variety; no up close and personal play time with toys and open spaces.

But this one afternoon, Maddie came face to face with the tornado known as Eli.  A good-eight_months_057.jpgnatured kid who loves everyone, he happily strolled around my living room, falling flat on his face, giving off a big grin and calmly getting back up to do it again.  Safe in the shelter of my lap, Maddie watched, entranced and a bit overawed.  She was a bit clingier than normal, I think a bit cowed by the sheer boy-ness energy of him, but was finally persuaded to sit on her puzzle mat and play with some of her favorite hand toys.  Eli amiably decided to join in the game, strolled up to her, and in true boy fashion opted to show his affection the only way he knew how: by picking up a toy and hitting her on the head with it.  A friendly sort of, “Hey there!  I think you’re pretty!” precursor.
Maddie, astonished, just stared at him, then looked at me as if to say, “What the . . . .???  What am I supposed to do here?  Never really encountered this!”  Nonplussed, she thought wide-eyed for a moment, and then opted to pretend it didn’t happen, much as if he had walked up to her, belched in her face, and she was politely ignoring it for the good of all involved.  Unoffended by his overture’s rejection, Eli genially turned around and walked off to find a new game.
Maddie, I wish I could tell you it gets better.  And truthfully, it will.  But the flowers and door-holding and shy notes passed in class will come only after the pigtail-pulling and playground-teasing; and gifts of jewelry will be predated by gifts of dirty frogs and, well, dirt.  Sorry honey.
But way to handle it like a lady, baby girl.
And Eli – don’t give up, kiddo.  No one can resist you for long.


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