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I was watching a documentary about monkeys a while ago. It followed a troop of monkeys where the dominant female would try to steal the babies of their less-dominant counterparts. It was like her primal instincts were just too much to resist, and she’d think to herself, “I’m taking that baby. I want it.”
The other mother would either be strong enough to steal her baby back or she would just have to give in and let the alpha female have the baby. Don’t get sad here. I got sad and then I felt like a dummy because this is how s%$& goes down in the jungle. C’mon, man. Snakes.
Yet, this is the same exact crap that happens when you have a baby. There’s always someone dying, just aching, to lend their advice because they have that primal need to take care of every baby they lay their eyes on.
This is why I find women are either really helpful or really annoying when you have a newborn. They have that primal need to help. Not you. The baby. And that ain’t always the same thing. They want to take that baby and climb high in a tree to make sure the baby isn’t subjected to whatever thing they don’t subscribe to, like a pacifier, co-sleeping, crying-it-out, etc.
Most people have developed a filter to suppress this instinct, and just die a little inside like I did in the grocery store when I heard a newborn crying and wanted to crash through the cereal aisle like the Kool-Aid Man to save it. However, I don’t want to be arrested and/or have a collection of babies in a tree, so I keep it to myself.
Sometimes it seeps out of people. You can tell it is squeaking out like a duck fart when they ask your baby things instead of you.
“Are you hungry?”
“You’re so, so tired, my sweet girl!”
“Why doesn’t your mommy put socks on you? You must be cold!”
You are not in the equation. They see a baby “in need" and that’s it. When they do this, they are just trying to help. It’s instinct kicking in. They want to protect a baby from what they view is something harmful, and simply cannot resist.
So I have a new theory. All you have to do is gently, but firmly, hold their arm and whisper, "I know what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to steal my monkey baby. Don’t bother, though, because let me tell you something. I am the alpha female here, so you need to back the hell off.”
Granted, it’s a little heavy handed, but whether she bows her head submissively to recognize your status, or simply backs away because she’s convinced you’re nuts, I have the utmost confidence that it will work.
By God, it will work.
*This isn’t the kind of monkey that was in the documentary. If you happen to have seen this documentary and know what kind of monkey it was, please tell me. I’ve been googling “Monkey Baby Stealing” with no luck, which really shouldn’t surprise me.
Amy Morrison pecks away at the myths of pregnancy while keeping it sunny side up, on her website Pregnant Chicken.