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Jewish World Review
Jan. 6, 2006
/ 6 Teves, 5766
Cootchie coo these rules out the door
Babies are born crowd pleasers. You put the Tart of the Week in low-rider pants and a skimpy tank top next to that pudgy little baby talking about the glories of Subway sandwiches and the little guy with drool on his chin will draw the crowd every time.
Babies know how to steal the show and shine in the spotlight. They are virtual masters at getting adults to embarrass themselves.
Few things are more entertaining than watching a grown-up try to win a baby's attention by lapsing into an impromptu "goo-goo, ga-ga, how da wittle baby?" monologue.
My husband's favorite is to position himself inches from a baby's face and say, "Ah-boo! Ah-boo!" From an adjoining room, it sounds like a muffled achoo so I often shout, "Don't sneeze on the baby!" before I realize these are merely the sounds of a baby making putty of a middle-aged man.
This putty-making business is common occurrence. Grown men suddenly forget how to use words ending in consonants in the presence of babies, and retired English teachers are unable to utter more than one syllable at a time.
The experts say we're not supposed to use baby talk. We're supposed to talk to babies like they are adults (even though they are babies). But who wants to get in a baby's face and say, "Hello, small, newly born person. There were blizzards in the Midwest again this week, terrible white outs, treacherous snow drifts, people stranded far from home and family. Many of them suffered from frostbite which, as a newborn, you may not know is a condition that can cause you to lose all your fingers and toes!"
Even when you say that with a lilt to your voice, it still seems ridiculous. I'd rather embarrass myself with some goo-goo ga-ga than recite a news digest of current events to an infant.
I know of a new father who keeps a picture of his baby wrapped in a blanket tacked to the wall by his computer. Sometimes he turns the picture horizontally and tells co-workers the baby is sleeping. Other times, he turns the picture vertically and talks a little cootchie-cootchie-coo to the baby as though he is awake.
People have always babbled semi-unintelligibly in the presence of babies and they have always asked inane questions like, "Do you wanna horsey?" Of course, the kid wants a horsey. Who in their right mind wouldn't want a horsey?
Now comes a wacky hospital in Halifax, England, discouraging visitors from cooing at infants because they claim it is a violation of their rights. Looking at the babies is also discouraged. Officials have displayed a doll holding a sign that says, "What makes you think I want to be looked at?"
Some of the new mothers report being astonished about the new rules that stop people from fawning over their babies.
One Brit weighed in on the controversy saying, "If a baby I was cooing over asked me to stop because I was infringing on their human rights, then I would."
If a baby I was cooing over began talking about human rights, I would pass out and fall flat on my back, whereupon the talking baby would probably rub my foot and say, "Nightie-night, lady, nightie-night."
The neo-natal manager at the hospital has declared, "Cooing should be a thing of the past because these are little people with the same rights as you or me."
Have it your way, Nurse Ratched. But no horsey for you.
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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
© 2006, Lori Borgman
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