Hot

There’s one piece of unsolicited parenting advice I want very much to give Ruth and Nora, and can’t, so after grousing about it privately I’m opting to write it here. I’d like to start off with the disclaimer that they are being conscientious and loving; I just think they’re goofing up, a bit.

When we visited, it was quite warm—a bright and lovely day. I had worn long sleeves and ended up regretting it—Mr. Book had ¾ sleeves, and we both ended up sweating a bit. Ruth and Nora were cold all day; I was baffled to see Ruth add a wool sweater to her outfit early in the afternoon. When we went to a park, they insisted that we borrow jackets just in case, and I think they were genuinely surprised that we ended up not choosing to wear them. Ruth had mentioned that Cricket has been having a rash problem recently. When they helped him get undressed for his bath, I saw that he was wearing three layers: two long-sleeved onesies and a jacket. Well, that kind of overdressing can easily create and prolong rash problems—I suspected it on my own, then talked to my mom, who’s a primary health care provider. Cricket was flushed all day, and I suspect that his parents’ overdressing is at least one cause of his rash problem. But I can’t say anything. It’s one thing to not feel free to say “Gosh, those lime green and navy thermal pants are shockingly ugly, why ever did you buy them?”—that would just be mean, and I don’t actually want to ask that question, although I do wonder. But the overdressing is really going to bug me. (Throughout the day, he kept signing <hot>. Ruth says that it’s hard to know why, as he seems to know what “hot” means–uses it to indicate the heater, etc.–but then signs it sometimes for no reason that she can see.) Oh, well, in a year or two he’ll be able to complain fluently and pull off jackets himself, so the problem will self-correct.

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8 thoughts on “Hot

  1. I think I’d go like this, “Ohmigod! I just realized, maybe he’s saying HE is hot! He is so smart.” Then beam and say something about how baby sign language is nifty. Also what IS it with people who over-dress babies???? Waldorfers do. They make kids wear hats.

  2. Yikes! What is up with that? I can imagine new parents not making the heat/rash connection, but the baby is visibly flushed and signing “hot”? Hardly seems like you need Dr. Spock for that one.

  3. Frustrating! I wonder if you could bring it up in a friendly, “Hey, I wonder if this one way that Cricket is a lot like me” sort of way. I’m usually cold and my husband is usually hot, even though we are in the same space. Our bodies just read the temperature differently or something. It sounds like you/Mr. Book and Ruth/Nora just happen to fall into opposite camps and it’s not even occurring to them that his little body is too warm.

    No one really likes unsolicited parenting advice, but I’m willing to bet Ruth and Nora do value your unique insights into Cricket based on your shared DNA. Especially since Ruth mentioned that they’re trying to figure out the rash thing. (Firefly had mysterious rashes as a baby that we finally figured out were from a milk allergy. It would have really helped if Beth had told us that she couldn’t drink milk until she was a teenager! It didn’t occur to her to mention it until later.) That’s really different than advice from some random person, you know?

  4. I wouldn’t say anything. I have to disagree on the concept that they would welcome your advice given your share DNA.. I think there’s a chance they would see it as MORE “intrusive” than stranger advice. They are overdressing him, totally. I worked in a preschool in Italy for a few years..talk about overdressed! The Italians are the masters of making their poor little babies sweat. But I would avoid ..suggesting things to them. A friend or a stranger could ignore you– but they might feel obligated to oblige ( ahahah for lack of a better word). What are the chances they are going to listen to you and say “Oh gee! Maybe Cricket IS hot”? The problem with parenting advise is that chances are the parents are usually convinced they are doing the right thing. It could just create a silly petty problem. YOU wouldn’t be doing anything wrong by mentioning that the poor kid looks hot…but who knows how they will interpret it?

    I had sort of the opposite kind of experience. One of the first times I met my birthfamily (this is going back about 10 years) my parents and I traveled out of state to visit my birthparents and their extended family. Well, my mother said something to me about bringing a sweater to the movie theater in case it was cold. My birthuncle insisted that the weather was warm enough and I wouldn’t need it. My mother told me I wouldn’t enjoy the movie if I got cold…and my birthuncle made some sort of remark about ” sheesh… we know how to take care of our OWN family.”

    Obviously that’s a totally different circumstance..a little more radical. In my case it was my adoptive mother advising me and my birthfamily getting annoyed, but adoption can bring out all sort of CRAZY stuff. Maybe because you have an open adoption it’s a little different. But people generally don’t like unsolocited advice to begin with, and I think given the adoption situation we are all in, it’s often better to just tread on the side of caution and not get fussy over the little stuff. Just my opinion, I suppose on some level you shouldn’t HAVE to worry about irking Ruth and Nora, but on a practical level I would just let it be.

  5. I’m an adoptive mom who is ALWAYS cold, with a 2-year-old daughter who seems to run hotter than I do (though it’s hard to tell, there are days she doesn’t want to put on a coat even though she’s shivering, so I don’t entirely trust her self-assessment). I keep repeating to myself, “A sweater is what a child wears when its mother is cold.”

    To *me* it would be awesome to have my daughter’s mom say, “Y’know, I’ve always run hot myself, maybe she inherited that from me” — but of course your relationship with Ruth and Nora is more complicated than my (completely imaginary) relationship with my daughter’s mother is. (It’s an international adoption, and we don’t have ongoing communication.)

    Maybe the next time you see them, you can find an opportunity to talk about how YOU (and/or Mr. Book) always run hot? Don’t connect it to Cricket, if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, but just get it out there in words — maybe that will remind them that not everyone feels temperature the same way? (My husband runs much hotter than I do, but if R&N are BOTH always cold, they might not realize it’s not universal.)

  6. I’ve noticed a couple of things: 1) first time parents quite often overdress their kids (I definitely put my first in onesies & sweaters & hats–he was pretty tiny, but still…) & by the third one I got lazy. And kids # 3 & 4 seem to be fine. 2) Kids often are hotter than adults. Mine regularly walk to school wearing far less clothing than I do (we walk every day even in the coldest winter spells).

    3) I just really hear that it’s hard at those moments not to be the one “in charge.” And that’s because it is hard. Or as Remy, age 7 would say, “suck-ish.”

    I am sending cool thoughts of the metaphoric kind.

  7. I’m with mia on this one. though I like dawn’s suggestion about complimenting cricket’s smarts, or the others suggesting mentioning how you or mr. book run hot.

    or, if you decide to just let it go, let’s hear it for self-correcting (eventually).

    as an aside, baby J’s birth grandmother doesn’t think twice about offering her opinion on parenting related issues (not that anything like that has happened to us, but on other issues). we just accept it as we would any other advice. the joke is that our reply to (unwanted) advice is to smile or nod and say something like, oh that’s very interesting, or I’ll have to remember that…

    for what it’s worth, I think you’re entitled to make a suggestion, and they can feel perfectly free to ignore it.

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