Applauding Babies For Their Minor Achievements

You know something that annoys me? The way that babies are praised, applauded and congratulated for doing the most basic of things. I’m going to put it out there – I reckon I can do 99% of things better than a baby, yet I don’t receive a pat on the back for these minor achievements. That’s hardly fair.

I hate to sound bitter, but how does drinking milk and letting out a burp warrant praise? I do that all of the time and never get a “well done, baby” in an overly-excited, happy-clappy tone. I’d be the first to hand out the congratulations if a baby drank milk and burped as they balanced on their head and hummed the theme tune to Knight Rider, but I’m yet to see that on happen. That’s an achievement.

Instead, we’re left with a situation where piss-easy things are met with high praise and difficult things pass by with barely a “thanks”. Babies should accept the praise while they can though – everyone knows that life gets harder the older we get. When was the last time you heard a newborn complain about the paperwork needed to arrange a mortgage, the disappointingly low interest rate on savings accounts or that it’ll cost £500 to get the car through its MOT?

I’m going to venture a guess at “never”. Instead, a baby rarely needs to worry about anything. You wouldn’t describe a day of sleeping, being fed and having a nappy changed as “gruelling” – particularly when a parent does most of it for them. Yet they still receive praise. As a way of highlighting this baby-bias, I wanted to mention a few minor achievements which babies get praised for but adults don’t. Check it out below:

Sleeping Through The Night

A baby sleeping through is seen as the Holy Grail of parenting. As such, when it happens for the first time, parents can often get a bit OTT about the ‘achievement’. I’ve been sleeping through for around thirty years now – I think that’s more of an achievement than doing it once. Despite my success, my Mum doesn’t put a status on Facebook about the fact that I slept through last night. I think that’s pretty unfair – particularly when you factor in that I’ve reached that age where I sometimes need to get up in the night to go for a piss.

Using Their Muscles

Whether it’s rolling over, crawling, walking etc, it would seem that a baby using their muscles deserves high praise. “Look, look, he lifted his head. What a clever boy!” Seriously? That’s surely one of the most mundane and praise-unworthy things ever done. I’m all for building up your kid’s confidence, but applauding them for stuff like this is setting them up for failure later in life. You’ll be hearing people congratulated for blinking, opening their mouth or moving a finger next.

Gaining Weight

Chubby cheeks, rotund arses and fat rolls on the thighs are just some of the things that are deemed to be cute on a baby. In fact, regular check-ups see babies actually praised for putting on weight. When was the last time you heard an adult congratulated for being fat though? Instead, they’re often ridiculed. Just this weekend, for example, my Mum grabbed my back fat and my bro commented on my double chin – two things that have appeared since getting a dad bod. Babies don’t know how good they’ve got it.

Passing Wind

A baby is actively encouraged to pass wind, often with pats on the back or cycling of the legs until they let it out. When they do burp or fart, they’re greeted with some kind of congratulatory “good job” or the old “better out than in” mantra. At some point in your life this changes. As an adult, it’s impolite to let rip in a lift or belch in a meeting – even when it’s a proper good ‘un. Speaking from experience, I usually draw looks of disgust rather than the admiration I deserve. Just another example of baby favouritism.

So those are four examples of minor achievements that babies are praised for which adults aren’t. What other things would make the list? Let me know in the comments below.

N.B. This is an updated version of a post originally written for Hippychick.