Baby Rage

I hear there are books out there where you’re supposed to record your baby’s milestones: their first word, first step, first smile, etc. I’ve never actually perused one, but I wonder if they include some other firsts: first time deliberately running away when called, for example. Or first time hiding the evidence. Or first rage.

That last may seem a bit pointless, but over time and children we’ve learned to recognize some of the differences in baby cries, and I don’t think young babies experience rage in the same way as older children. Oh, they hate things — I need only remind myself of our most recent 4th of July to be certain of that. But until recently Mica hasn’t seemed to take things personally. The actions of other people have caused her to protest in much the same way as the actions of gravity have. Gravity, by the way, can be a real jerk to babies.

But just recently she’s made that mental leap, which I think — though to be fair, I have no direct access to her brain — is one of realizing that other people make deliberate choices. So when I take the cup of water away from her, just before she completes her task of spilling it on the floor, I am not an inexorable force of nature but a person making a choice. I could be making the kind and rational choice to allow her to play with the water (again); but I’m instead making the cruel and arbitrary choice of curtailing her fun.

Hence, rage.

Rage is not the same as a tantrum but closely related, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Mica has recently thrown herself to the ground in tears several times. I don’t believe this is for effect — she isn’t that advanced — but I imagine it could easily become so if it didn’t make Dave and me laugh so hard every time.

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Posted in Kids. 1 Comment »

One Response to “Baby Rage”

  1. Ron Sagerson Says:

    Holly, I remember rage well and laughed all the way through your piece. I believe laughing is probably the best response for a parent–Dad


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