“Daddy, why aren’t I wearing any socks? My piggies are cold!”
My mother in law recently said this to me under the guise that my two month old son was complaining on his own behalf about having bare feet. She wasn’t fooling anyone. I am well aware of the extent of my child’s ability to express himself verbally and he has just barely reached the cooing and babbling stage. It’s more than likely that she was using her grandson as a tool for the devious purpose of criticizing my parenting without doing it directly. It was a good tactic and it worked. I didn’t feel half the resentment towards her that I would have if she had come out and said “The baby should have something on his feet, they are getting cold” to me directly. Nor was I as apt to argue (however weakly) that maybe Grayson liked having cold feet, just to avoid admitting any negligence on my part. And I certainly wasn’t going to call my little boy a meddlesome harpy and tell him to go back to Nag Island where all the Nag’s belonged. So I can understand why she did it. What bothers me is the potential for abuse in using an infant as a platform for passive aggression.
What starts out as innocent statements such as “Daddy, my clothes don’t match” or “Daddy, this onesie is getting too small for me” can easily evolve into “Daddy, get your lazy butt off the computer and change me, I smell like the leftover Taco Bell mommy ate last night before she fed me”.
What if heaven forbid, my wife gets involved as well? How long is it until I start to hear “Daddy you didn’t need that extra slice of pizza, you’re fat enough as it is”? Or “Daddy, were you just checking out that woman’s bum? Do you want to only see me on the weekends?”.
I wish I could say that I was above stooping to such lows when it came to interacting with the baby but I’m not. The minute my father in law comes home, do I greet him with “Hey Ralph, would you like to take the baby for a little while so I can finally have a few minutes to my self?”, I do not.
Instead I engage my infant son in a pseudo conversation, “Grayson, look Pa’s home! Do you want to go see Pa?” . This of course leaves my father in law with no choice but to take the baby because to refuse to do so would be rejecting the baby himself.
There you have it, I am raising my child in a household full of deceptive connivers who have no qualms about using an infant to further their own agenda’s. This poor kid has no chance.