As my brother and his girlfriend are both very social people, it is not surprising that their spawn is also very social. In her four-plus months of life, she’s met many people, including a number of other babies. Adults are no problem. They love interacting with her. However…

She likes babies… initially. When she meets another baby she starts interacting — chatting up a storm (in indecipherable baby language) and touching, poking, etc. This is all very cute, and people will start taking lots of pictures.

Except then it all goes horribly wrong.

I don’t know if my niece is particularly socially advanced, or if she just keeps meeting babies who haven’t met as many other babies, or who are just not as social (go introverted nerd babies!), but invariably, after she starts chatting away, the other baby just sits there. Stares some, waves his/her arms around some, perhaps, but does not respond in kind.

This is a problem. My niece notices that the other baby is not responding as she would like, and so steps up her performance. (Kind of the equivalent of hollering “MOM! MOM! MOM!” when you’re a kid and don’t think she’s paying sufficient attention.) She talks more, and, louder, sometimes with increased arm waving. And yet… the other baby just sits there.

Wrong move, shorty.

After a while, my niece gets frustrated with these lame babies, and starts hollering at them. She’s not crying, but she is distinctly displeased and is basically tearing a strip off her uncommunicative co-infants. This is very funny, at least to adults.

It is not, however, funny to the other babies, who, invariably, burst into tears within a few moments. Oops. The crying other baby is actually even more funny, but you have to stifle that because laughing at crying babies is one of those societal taboos. It’s just best to scoop up the niece and take her off to find stimulation elsewhere — typically, in my family, any nearby woman will do, especially if it’s one who already has grandkids. (And if her own grandma is handy: perfect. Grandma even likes her when she’s crying.)

She did this to both her twin cousin (born the same day, same hospital) and another 15-month-old cousin yesterday. So, yeah. My four-month-old, bald-headed, frills-and-pink-clad niece is a big schoolyard bully. I can’t wait til she can actually talk…

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