He is sunshine.
Hawk is cute. Like crazy, omfgithurtsstopistopitstopit! cute. He's cute when he's pissed, he's cute when he's asleep, he's cute when he stinks. And I swear to God it's not just because I'm his mother that I say this. I have outside proof:
The kid is harassed the second we leave the house by every stranger we meet.
(Well, almost every stranger. I suppose we've passed a few blind people.)
The deeply rooted part of their brains that react to children's cuteness compels them to talk to him and try to get him to engage. I don't think people can help themselves. But what it really does is compel him to hide his face in my butt with a death grip around my legs. And then squeeze as if he'll disappear entirely.
Avoiding the stranger to his right who wanted to talk books.
I've tried explaining this to him without laughing; that I know it's a little weird that all these grown ups are always trying to touch him and get him to chat, but it's hard. So I give up trying to be serious and laugh anyway and say in the kindest, simplest way possible, "Baby, I know it makes you feel shy, but I promise some day -- hopefully, anyway -- you'll feel brave enough to talk back or maybe people will stop wanting your attention. It's the burden of being so damned cute."
He'll look at me with his giant blue eyes and blink. Nod. "Yeah," he'll answer, "It's just cuz I'm so cute."
I feel utterly ridiculous for saying this, but I'm pretty sure it's all true, and I like explaining the often mysterious behavioral patterns of adults to him. It's actually pretty fascinating shit. I mean, why do grownups think it's cool to touch a kid when they'd never think to touch the mother standing right there? Why do they always want the little kid's attention? Why do they act weird and stodgy sometimes?
I have never been that kind of adult to approach adorable kids. It's never really occurred to me. Maybe that's the shy child in me defending their little spaces retroactively. I dunno. It's just that it is a burden for a shy-ish kid to be ridiculously cute. They seem so approachable to some adults.
I'm not gonna jump at strangers and tell them to back off because I imagine their intentions are good, based on culture, and long-standing. I'd much rather help Hawk deal than change the way everyone comes at kids.
However, I will defend his right to hide in my butt all he wants. I know it's a developmental phase to be shy of strangers and it's a healthy one, but I will also encourage him to say things to strangers whenever he feels safe enough or brave enough to do so. I'm not in any rush. It ain't no thang.
But Jesus Christ, this boy has got it baaaad. The Cuteness, that is. And then the Shyness. Poor thing! I guess it's just another thing little kids have to go through. I've just never looked at it from a tiny person's perspective before.
My eyes are a little more open now to how it must feel to see nothing but thighs and hands of giants, have everything feet above your head, and somehow still be the center of attention everywhere you go. It's gotta be a little rough.
What do you guys do to help your kid deal with strangers, shyness, and unwanted attention?
His grandmother thinks she's so funny.