The baby girl crawled over to the boy, balanced on her knees and lifted her hands toward him.This was not a shy baby. It was immediately clear that ignoring her was not going to be an option for the boy.
It mattered not that she had just met him. It mattered not that he looked down at her as if she were an alien species. It mattered not that he preferred appearing aloof, thinking instead of food and video games and how much he wished he were somewhere else. That baby held her head high, looked him straight in the eye and stood her ground. She wanted to be picked up and he was the one who was going to do it.
Perhaps it’s unfair to judge the baby by this singular instance.
But, I had seen that look before. I knew that look.
I had seen it in her mother. I had seen it in her aunt and cousins. I had seen it in her grandmother and her sisters. I had seen it in her great-grandmother. And without a doubt, I had seen it many, many times in her great-great-grandmother. This baby girl came from a long line of self assured, confident women who were not afraid to speak up--women who made things happen. When I saw that baby girl reach up to the boy with such expectation, I saw five generations of women flash before my eyes. It was clear to me that the apple had not fallen far from the tree.
And this baby was quickly growing impatient with the almost 13 year old boy who had yet to pick her up. He stared bewildered, looking down at the baby and then pleaded in my direction with raised eyebrows, big eyes and reluctant face.
The boy did pick up the baby with the grace you would expect of a young one from the male species who has never done such a thing before. He plopped her unceremoniously down upon the sofa.
Because I am a dues paying member of the Always Looking One Step Ahead Paranoid Mother’s Club I knew that baby was in immediate danger. She was facing the wrong way and she was going to lean backwards and fall off the sofa.
I yelped out to the boy, “Ahhhh…watch her! You can’t leave her like that!”
He answered quickly and firmly. “MOM! I’ve GOT this. Chill….”
And that baby sat content, swaying and tilting and patting the boy’s knee, defying all the natural laws of babies in danger because they are placed backwards on the edge of the sofa. She looked up at the boy and he grinned at her. She rewarded him with a new tooth smile and reached her arms up again. The boy picked her up and sat her in his lap. The baby played with the boy’s face and they twirled each other’s fingers. She leaned in and he held her tight.
“See Mom? You worry too much. It’s all good.”
As his mother, I refused to consider the future ramifications of how quickly the preteen boy had been swayed by a cute girl with a pretty smile. It was hard not to acknowledge, however, how completely he had come under this baby girl’s charming spell and quiet determination. Five minutes earlier he was a dismayed boy intent on avoiding all contact with the unfamiliar, drooling baby. Yet, now I heard him speak baby talk. I watched him play peek-a-boo. I saw him love that baby.
Yes, there was something about that baby girl. I had seen that personality. I had seen that resolve. I had seen that girl power.
Yes, I had seen the same look that determined baby girl had. In fact, I had been seeing it for the last five generations of women who knew how to make things happen.
And I shook my reserved and jealous head and laughed to myself, “Watch out world. Here comes another one.”