03 September 2015

I wear the cuffs of my trousers rolled

I grow old, I grow old. I shall wear the cuffs of my trousers rolled.
          I am sitting in a coffee house doing some work—trying to do some work—and I am observing two young women (late 20s I might surmise) who have met for lunch. Both arrived with their infant children in the ubiquitous carriers that double as car seats. Before the arrival of her friend, the first woman held her child in her lap while she drank her hot latte. I could only envision some accidental move where the cup would empty out onto the infant. I wanted to say something! And having finished her latte she began to eat her sandwich—a fancy egg concoction still with the child on her lap. The melted cheese within her sandwich strung out above the child’s uncovered head. I wanted to say something. Then, having finished her meal she picked the cradled the child in her arms and rocked the child with such vigor that the child’s head tossed with some violence. Of course it was an act of love but it was too hard a love, I think. I have rad enough about damage to the brain of an infant who is shaken, and this child was certainly being shaken. And the other woman who, too, held her child on her shoulder bounced him too with too much energy and the child’s head bounced about somewhat out of control.
          I wonder what infant children experience? I looked into the faces of both as they seemed subjected to a form of what I thought a mild violence and they appeared to me desperate. I suppose it was the panic panic I felt that I imposed on them, but I considered how out of control an infant might sometimes feel being picked up and set down whenever the adult so inclines. And I wonder how that experience of absolute powerlessness will later translate into behavior. Because I can’t imagine it will not have effect later on some unconscious processes.

          And then I also wondered because I also observed: parents are always kissing their infant children’s heads. Are the children aware of this affection? What effect on a child is this show of affection that seems near constant? And what is the effect on a child who does not receive such attention?


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