I just spent 2 hours in a pediatrics clinic while getting my immunization reports updated. Our family doctor also happens to be a famous pediatrician, and since I had barged in without prior appointment, I was asked to wait or come back in 2 hours. I should have gone home and come back, but I decided to wait and observe the babies for a while. I did not have anything pressing to take care of at home anyway.
Babies are not little adults. They have a mind of their own. They communicate and negotiate even with their little and almost non-decipherable vocabulary.
The baby personality
There were real babies. Those who are a month or two old. Some looked so tiny that it seemed they hadn’t even hatched properly. Eyes closed, toothless smiles, little fists, they are a delight to watch. I observed one had a little finger even tinier than my nail. One had an entire hand the length of my palm. And to think I was of that size too someday.
The adult-baby personality
Some babies had accompanied their little siblings who were getting shots. These are the caring and curious kinds who touch their sleeping brothers a little on the cheek to see how the baby responds. A little fellow, a heavy chocolate addict as obvious from his missing dentition, derived great pleasure tickling the feet of the little one when the mother wasn’t looking. They were like adult-babies, still babies because of their age, but very adult-like in behavior.
The throwing-the-tantrum or the negotiator kind
These babies had negotiated with their parents, that a visit to the doctor is going to cost them perhaps the doctor’s fees and 2 chocolate bars, a coloring book, or a toy extra. The shopkeeper had strategically placed all the toys and chocolates and other goodies that attract attention near the counter where you paid, so that one could not avoid that particular place by choice. I actually saw a baby promptly wiping her tears after the visit to the doctor and negotiating with the parents, “Okay, now buy me toys and chocolates".
These kids freaked out at the sight of the clinic even without being so much as touched by the doctor. They perhaps feared an injection, the smell of the clinic, or the way the doctor looked, for even before they were touched or examined, they started to howl out of fear. Of course taking them to the area where these chocolates and coloring goodies were located calmed them down temporarily and helped the clinic get back its sanity.
The friendly/gregarious kind
These babies are great friends to make. They smile, run around, make friends with other babies, talk to random strangers as if they are family, refer to other babies as “little brother” and “little sister”, and ask questions instead of sulking in a corner and crying out of fear. One such cute little fatso, wearing a sleeveless shirt, went up to all the babies and touched them with fondness. This fellow came back to me, looked at me, and said, “Doctor will give you an injection”. Not knowing why a friendly chap would smile and try to tell me scary things, I replied, “But the doctor is already behind you with an injection”. The boy panicked for a bit, turning back, only to realize he was made a fool of. Regaining his composure and refusing to be verbally defeated by someone 4 times his size, he looks back at me with a very unperturbed and a suspense-filled expression, telling me, “Wait till the fishes in the oceans attack you and bite off your cheek”. As I feign fear, the boy chuckles at his verbal victory, bids all the other kids a goodbye and leaves the clinic, animatedly chatting with his mother.
After watching 20 babies or so, the doctor finally signed my immunization papers. In the meantime, I spent a fun-filled 2 hours watching these little ones, each having a completely different personality than the other.