I’ve toyed, for a while, with the theory that there are a few, very key, similarities between men and babies. After babysitting Alexander last night, I, very scientifically, of course, compared his behavior to that of the guys I’ve dated in the past, and realized that whether the male in question is thirteen months or thirty-something years old, you can’t go wrong if you remember the following:
1. Cranky behavior generally means one of three things.
He’s tired. He’s hungry. He wants attention. Or, all of the above. Babies have limited means of communication. They can’t tell you how they’re feeling, so you have to guess. (Sometimes you can distinguish between a “hungry cry” and a “tired cry,” but it’s still tricky.) Men, on the other hand, have the ability to use their words, but often choose not to (at least, not in a way that’s helpful in determining how they’re feeling). So you’re stuck playing the guessing game again. My advice? If you can’t attribute the crankiness to one of the aforementioned things, just leave him alone until he realizes he’s acting like a child.*
2. He will try to impress you, and, in turn, be very impressed with himself.
Men show off their gadgets (iPhones, in particular), sports knowledge, and amazing feats of physical strength (such as, opening that jar with the stuck lid). And they often end up impressing themselves (or their friends), more so than the initial target. Babies do the same thing. Alexander impressed me by taking a few solo steps in my direction (he’s not really walking yet), and then promptly sat, bouncing up and down happily in self-congratulation, completely forgetting about my presence.
3. Even if he’s capable of accomplishing a task by himself, he’ll try to get you to do it for him.
It’s my belief that men are a lot more capable than they let on. (When he says he can’t cook? Even a child can operate, at least, a microwave. Hello, Easy-Bake Oven?) So it turns into a game, to see what he can get you to do. And it starts as a child: during Alexander’s dinner time, he was quite capable of feeding himself. But every so often, instead of taking the raspberry or Cheerio from my hand, he would simply open his mouth and wait for me to drop it in, all the while grinning and banging his hands on his high chair. (I, of course, complied, because, well, when you’re cute you can get away with nearly anything.)
4. He loves shiny things.
It’s a fact. I don’t know why, exactly. Alexander liked (pulling on) my necklace (and earrings, and bracelet, and watch); nearly every guy I’ve dated has commented on one of two rings I wear. And, mini-confession, I once dated a guy who word-for-word said to me, “I just really like shiny things.” See? I’m not making this up. (For the record, it was a short-lived relationship.)
5. Stop paying attention to him, and he’ll start paying more attention to you.
I’m pretty sure you can read this in any magazine’s “dating tips” section – it’s that whole “playing-hard-to-get” thing. And I would venture that it works nine out of ten times. When a baby wants attention that you’re not offering (and opts out of the cranky route – see #1), he’ll crawl right up into your lap. Some men do the same thing.
Conclusion: Maybe things are a little more complicated than these five observations would lead you to believe. Maybe. But not by much…
*To be fair, I, also, get cranky when I’m tired or hungry. My family can attest.