Babies might seem innocent and unknowing, but they're actually evil geniuses with curly mustaches who crawl around plotting to inflict harm and mayhem upon all who cross their paths. At least, that's what the staff at one daycare seems to think. A recent post on Babble written by Alice Gomstyn featured an absurd note a mom received from her child's daycare, in which the care provider accused the woman's nine-month-old of being purposefully 'aggressive' and asked if the parents could please do something to discourage their baby from being such a bully to other kids. The note read:
Samantha has been playing roughly and aggressively with the other babies; they will be crying and upset but she is smiling and enjoying herself. Even our using firm voices to tell her it's not OK to hurt her friends and remove her from the area, she is smiling and going right back. Can you help us out by maybe discouraging her to not play roughly with her friends and her dog? [sic] Thanks.
It's shocking, really. I mean a baby is acting like a baby and enjoying it?
The infant's mother shared the note in a Facebook group for working moms where Gomstyn says people immediately began questioning the care provider's competency. I have to say I agree with them. I mean, aside from whatever aggression this baby is supposedly exhibiting, the note itself seems to hint at some exasperation and negative feelings on the part of the caregiver when honestly this baby is exhibiting perfectly normal baby behavior.
Babies do annoying things. My son, who is close in age to this baby, tries to grab the same cord near my desk probably 60 times every single day. He pulls my hair when I'm feeding him, even though I say ouch and remove it from his grasp every time. He continually tries to pull himself up on potentially dangerous objects like laundry baskets where he could easily lose his balance and hit his head, so I have to move him over and over again. Am I to assume that because he needs constant redirection and remains smiling throughout his mischief that he is acting like a baby just to screw with me?
Babies certainly aren't sitting around plotting ways to hurt or otherwise bother people, but it makes sense that a baby might remain smiling and happy when he or she is getting feedback for her actions. After all, babies do a lot of their learning through cause and effect.
I understand daycare providers have an incredibly demanding job and can't spend all day following one child around. I also understand that when they're having issues, they need parents to work with them to help solve the problem. In this case, though, I think they're going about it all wrong. The note they sent home makes them look incompetent and like they're incapable of handling typical infant behavior. If I were this baby's mom, that would concern me for sure.
Babies are never too young to begin learning right from wrong, but you're going to have a long, hard road ahead of you if you think a nine-month-old in any way understands what constitutes aggression. If the daycare feels they've witnessed a real shift in behavior, that's something they should definitely address with mom, but sending home a note implying a baby is being purposefully (and gleefully) aggressive just makes them look, well, infantile.