Who doesn’t love a cheerful baby smiling at you from across a restaurant? Who doesn’t love a cheerful baby smiling, well, ever? Cheerful babies are the best. They are arguably the happiest thing in this whole messed-up world. I mean, my own kid has brought me more joy than I could have ever imagined experiencing. One of my favorite things about him is how thoughtful he is. I mean, he's so thoughtful that people mistake him for a serious kid, when really he’s just taking it all in, and say things to me that, well, they just shouldn't, as a result.
I, personally, love how contemplative and reflective my son is. I can see the wheels turning (toy tractor wheels, obviously) and adore watching his face light up as he begins to understand a specific problem or toy or concept. As his mom, I see all the awesome sides to his personality; I see what brings him joy and what makes him laugh; I see how genuine he is when he smiles or reaches out for a hug. All of those moments, when he acts like the cheerful baby everyone loves to highlight, are byproducts of his constant introspection.
Sadly, strangers don't see or realize that; they just see a wide-eyed kid looking around with a semi-serious look on his face, so they feel compelled to comment. In fact, I’ve noticed a few common themes in how people react to seeing a curious kid who doesn’t smile at the drop of a hat (or a binky), reflected in what people tend to say to parents with "serious" kids in general. Here are just a few and, you know, next time you see a kid looking stern and contemplative, maybe just don't say the following: