Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Flipping Off

I was recently reading a Yahoo article shared by a friend about how gestures and mannerisms that are common in America can mean very different (and sometimes inappropriate) things in other countries.

For example, in many middle eastern countries, making the "thumbs up" sign is actually a reference to a proctology exam, and not an confirmation that all is well.  Similarly, using your left hand to do just about anything in many parts of the world is considered offensive because the left hand is used exclusively for bathroom-related tasks, and presenting it to someone else is a seriously bad move.

After reading these and many others, I've come to the conclusion that there may have been some sort of mistake made at the time of Adler's birth, because if gestures alone can indicate one's culture, my baby is not from this neck of the woods.

Despite how cute and innocent he may appear to be, Adler has developed the unfortunate habit of flying the "bird" sometimes.

Well, more than sometimes.  A lot, really.  Okay, constantly.

Adler flips off the camera at 17 days old.
Instead of using his completely capable index finger, he prefers the dexterity and shock value of his middle finger, and has since birth.  If he were a local baby, he would know that this action is unacceptable, so his continual gesturing assures me that he's not from around these parts.

I'm always interested in trying to better understand my baby's behavior so that I can accommodate his needs, so I've been doing a lot of thinking about what message he is trying to send with these persistent fingers, and I think I'm making some real progress.

 In this photo, I believe that Adler was demonstrating his strong opposition to illiteracy.

Here, I think he was signalling to me that he would prefer to skip the homemade fresh fruit and vegetable mashes I serve him at meal times and proceed directly to nursing so that he can more efficiently bite me.

A real time saver, that one.

By gesturing at the fallen flower in our yard, I'm confident that Adler was troubled by the rapid bloom-and-drop cycle of our PJM rhododendron, and meant only to make a statement about climate change and its effect on our ecosystem.

But because these middle fingers are beginning to affect our social interactions, I sat Adler down last night and informed him that unless (and until) he chooses to respect the local cultural norms, I would not be purchasing any more blueberry flavored YoBaby yogurt.  You know, for his own good.

I'm sure he understood.  That's my Iowa boy.

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