Thursday, May 19, 2011

Communicating With Babies

Communicating with a one year old can be a frustrating experience.

See, you communicate with a baby in plain English, and the baby stares back at you as though you've lost your mind. If you repeat what you've said enough times, a baby may grunt or blather some nonsense back at you, but you won't understand a word of it. And I'm beginning to suspect that the baby has no idea what she's saying either.

It's baby bullshit is what it is.

Despite the futility of all this, sometimes it's necessary to try and communicate with a baby.

For instance, my particular baby is fond of electricity. It is necessary for me to communicate that electricity can be bad for the baby. Babies tend to have soft wet mouths and they seem to enjoy putting things in those mouths at the approximate speed of lightening.

This kind of adult-to-baby dialogue occurs somewhat regularly in my house:

Baby: Grabs cell phone charging cord and attempts to insert plug-in end in soft, wet, baby mouth. (Tone: None. Body Language: Relaxed. Facial Expression: Innocent.)

Me: "UH! UH! UH! UH! UH!" (Tone: Alarmed. Body language: Running at high speed towards baby with hand outstretched. Facial Expression: Animated. )

Baby: Puts electrical charging cord in mouth.

Me: "NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!" (Tone: Disapproving. Body Language: Pulling charging cord out of soft wet baby mouth and shaking finger at baby. Facial Expression: Stern.)

Baby: "AHGH AHGH AHGH AHGH!" (Tone: Growly baby voice. Body Language: Relaxed. Facial expression: Deadpan.)

What we have here is a failure to communicate. It's like a grand mal seizure of a failure to communicate. A trifecta of communication breakdown. This baby comprehends none of my cues. My words are obviously meaningless to her, as she hasn't managed to pick up English even after a full year of study. Which is weird, because I totally rocked French in high school and that's way harder than English.

Baby also seems to not comprehend basic body language cues. I mean, most of us don't have to read a book on body language to understand finger waving means disapproval. I haven't even busted out my "Talk to the Hand" or the "Oh No You Didn't, Three Circles and a Snap" moves on her. If she can't pick up on this basic stuff, how on earth is she ever going to understand jazz hands?

Lastly, baby doesn't seem to register facial expressions. I read that the ability to recognize other people's facial expressions is how we develop empathy. (Okay, I actually read that in an article about Botox®, but you get my point.)

So I'm mildly concerned that my baby has no concern for her fellow man. I'll watch her for signs of killing insects and dissecting the smaller mammals. But I'm pretty sure if she could get her hands on them, she'd put them in her mouth.

Not very empathetic, baby.

I'm hoping that since she's beginning her second year of English, she'll start picking up more subtleties of the language. I was also thinking of producing my own line of children's videos that will make those Baby Einstein DVDs seem like child's play. Maybe I'll call my series "Baby Buddha" and I'll teach babies about reading facial expressions and body language.

I think it would be nice if babies could develop a greater sensitivity for their parents' feelings. It's really not nice to give your caretakers repeated heart attacks over your fondness for electricity.

I mean, come on. This is just basic stuff, people.

Friday, May 13, 2011

How Do You Know It's Time for a Haircut?

How do you know it's time for a haircut?

Sometimes the answer to that question can be tricky. You don't want to go too soon, because you might miss the apex of your hair style, which unfortunately occurs immediately before it hits the nadir. Thus, timing is tricky with hair.

I find a simple formula helps me to know when it's time to go to the hairdresser:

The more I start to resemble David Coverdale of the 80's band Whitesnake, the greater the likelihood that I need a haircut. I would have to say that as of today, I have achieved 100% full Whitesnake.

Watch this video for more information.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cracky Is My Tim Gunn

With the onset of warmer weather comes the greater selection of footwear.

During the winter months, I favor the black equestrian or motorcycle boot as my preferred mode of transportation. With a pair of skinny jeans, it's an easy uniform that won't break my neck on the ice.

But when the darling buds of May begin to shoot out of the tender branches here in the northern states, we can't wait to expose our ankles and perhaps even our toes. So it was the other morning when I perused a multitude of high-heeled shoes from which to choose.

Would it be the Kate Moss-esque pointy-toe stilettos with the faded black skinny jeans? Or perhaps a round-toe Mary Jane pump to keep the spring demure? Yet the grass was lush and the breeze gentle, so I had a fire in my veins.

I tried on a pair of 4" platform stilettos with with a peep-toe to boot. They felt good. They felt natural. I realized it had been over a year since I'd worn them between pregnancy and winter, and I was ready to unleash myself on spring.

I considered myself in the mirror.

So did the seven-year-old child who showed up behind me.

"Are you going to wear those to work?" he asked.

"Why? Are they too tall?" I asked, genuinely surprised that he had an opinion.


I changed into the simple black stilettos with a humble 3" ground clearance.

"Much better," he said and walked away.

I'll be damned if he wasn't right.

Cracky's Guide to Work Appropriate Footwear With Skinny Jeans

A classic pointy-toe stiletto.

Demure round-toe Mary Janes.

Boots and a jacket are always apropos.

Ballet flats are definitely a do, but I just can't get excited about them.

Not for work, but how do we feel about platforms and skinny jeans for after work?

I'm on the fence. There's something not-quite-right about them, to me. I'll have to ask Cracky what he thinks about platforms for after hours. Hey, at least they're not clogs.