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What you didn't learn in nursing school."


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The Advanced Baby

Written by Kathi Stringer March 22, 2006
[Rev 1 April 19, 2006]

"Written by Kathi Stringer and may be reproduced and/or distributed on websites, and/or for personal use with the author's names and credits attached."

Imagine, in a world…. that for a few, age is timeless and innocence is for everyone that lives it, and growing up means growing smarter while daydreaming they are still in Carters.  They can present with vestiges of adult maturity, while cloaking their infantile true self in the guise of adulthood.  They may manage companies, formulate cooperate takeovers, and wheel the power to eliminate a division of executives.  They may find themselves excelling to the top levels of their class, brainstorming ingenious formularies, or in the center of the party.  They are frequently intelligent, progressive thinkers, spontaneous and creative.  They can be found in classified and sensitive high-level operations within government, and all the while it is just a masque of a highly developed intellectual child.  If you can imagine this, then hang onto your hat and get ready for a run around the Mulberry bush because it is quite possible that you’ve stumbled onto the elusive world of the advanced baby. 

Ask yourself:

If you can answer yes to most of the questions above, you may be an advanced baby, or suspect someone that is.

Introduction to the Advanced Baby – A Life-style
Just before the dawn of the new century, when Y2K was the hype, the term “Advanced baby” was coined to describe a life-style of infantilized persons.  These individuals for the most part enjoy the grownup advantages of playing with computers and other high-tech gadgets with autonomy (= advanced), yet emotionally they still cling to infantile objects for security and comfort (= baby). 

Phenomenon of the New Age?
Perhaps the phenomenon of the advanced baby is part of a larger spectrum that includes other groups of child-like individuals.   Christopher Noxon, a writer for the New York Times, made a splash in the news circles after he articulated the occurrence of new terms in is editorial,  “I Don’t Want To Grow Up.”  [1] In his article he uses terms, “Kidults, adultescents, or rejuveniles - call them what you will - the trend for immaturity is every-where. It has become unfashionable to be mature.”

Noxon continued with an interview of Frank Furendi, a professor of sociology at the University of Kent at Canterbury in England.  Noxon writes that Mr Furendi speculates that “adulthood as lost its appeal.”  Noxon writes further;

"Mr. Furendi began researching what he calls 'the self-conscious cultivation of immaturity' after spotting college students watching 'Teletubbies' in a university bar. The scene stuck in his mind, and he came to think of it as representative of a wave of infantilism sweeping Britain and beyond.”

Noxon’s article caught-on and the mainstream of writers spurred further observation and speculation.  Ian Shoales writes about the  “World’s Oldest Preteens[2] that toymakers are targeting consumers that are buying products for made for persons half their age. Indeed, manufactures are considering another market for the infantile buyers.  And, Trina Rea’s article, “The Search of Eternal Youth,” [3] discusses 35-year-olds that are looking to escape financial demands in life by the attractiveness of regression.  She writes,

Is anyone surprised that they just refuse to grow up and are happy to regress back to childhood delights?” 

Rea indicates that it’s big bucks for toy-makers and even publishers are jumping on the bandwagon and catering to “Children's Books for Adults...Indulging rejuveniles - or kidults, as some are calling them. ” 

Siobhan McAndrew, from the Reno Gazette-Journal in her article I am a Gen-Xer suffering from Peterpandemonium, [4] writes,

"Others describe this back-to-babyhood boon as Peterpandemonium, Kidults and Adultolescents.”

McAndrew indicates that is becoming a fad to wear knee-high socks and wear Strawberry Shortcake footed pajamas that now come in adult sizes.  She echoes the New York Times that “Rejuveniles are not are not “stunted adolescents.” They have “busy lives with adult responsibilities and respectable jobs.”

Jessica Gresko, A Spectator Associate News Editor titled her article, Stuffed Animal Attachments Carry Over into College Years. [6] Gresko writes about Andrea Herbst who admits bringing her teddy bear to college.

"Dydee," she got him when she was one year old.  "He came with the diapers from the diaper company," she said. "He has been with me everywhere. I took him to Germany when I was seven. He came to England when I spent the year there between high school and college."

Truly, we live in an age that older consumers are buying candy pacifiers, happy meals, and, according to Suzanne Fields author of Revisiting the itsy bitsy spider, [7] they “don't want to leave their childhoods because they prefer innocence to edginess.”

Advanced Babies and Defragmentation
The genesis of advance babies closely resembles their formation from the term “True Infantilism.” [8] For most of their lives these individuals have had difficulty growing-up in the conventional views of adults.  The advanced baby is not characteristic of being libidinally mature in adult relationships, nor are they indicative of even understanding themselves.  Due to the unavailable information, it is an intangible-given that many appear to live in a world split by the “adult vs. baby” dichotomy.   However, there is a conceptualization of a life without this dichotomy through a dialectical synthesis.  Meaning a synthesis (= integrating the adult vs. baby) can reduce internal fragmentation to become a lifestyle to help an individual from completely giving in to regressive behaviors.  The pseudo-adult and baby are defragmented and reflective of the true self. 

A Look at Transitional Objects – Not a Fetish, Costumes or Props
An excerpt from the essay True Infantilism [8] states,  “A person may view true infantilism mistakenly for a fetish.  There is a stark difference since the desire for the object occurred before puberty.  For example, the diaper [or other object(s)] may be regarded as a symbolic formation to ward of insecurities and becomes a transitional object for a child.  In strivings toward independence personality fragments may fuse with objects that represent nurturing.  It appears to provide a sense of control for the child to revisit a period that is widely accepted in our culture as nurturing.  The energized transitional object offers relief from separation anxieties from the maternal figure and/or provides a sense of recreation of a period lost in grief.”  

Transitional objects can carry over into adulthood and are often times not the original object.  Glen O. Gabbard, the flagship author for the American Psychiatric Association indicates “Pills may function as transitional objects for some patients, allowing them to maintain some sense of connectedness with their psychiatrists when seeing them quite infrequently.  Touching or looking at the pill may have a soothing effect on the patient.[9] 

Advanced Baby – Self Identification
They’ve been this way most of their life from earliest memories.   The concept of advanced baby is a lifestyle and is similar to the intellectual Peanuts character Linus carrying around his security blanket (term security blanket inspired by Linus Van Pelt) [10].  These behaviors are not viewed primarily as something to be practiced or a fetish.  There is an important distinction to be made.  There are many fetish and perversion sites on the Internet that assume to construct a comprehensive umbrella that state most regressed individuals fit into a their criteria using an alphabetical soup of acronyms.  By making these blanket assertions, an individual is pigeonholed into a group with a range of behaviors that often appalls the listener (= countertransference problems).  Often times, the infantile individual is horrified by the assumed associations and has no place to reference knowledge for treaters, family, spouses and friends.  It’s also problematic because it is not uncommon that an individual may wrongfully identify their personas with the contemporary slang on the Internet because they are not able to articulate it differently and nothing else is available. For these reasons, this essay on advanced baby has offered another option for self-determination and self-identification. 

References:

1.   Noxon, Christopher (Aug. 31, 2003), I Don't Want to Grow Up!, New York Times. Extracted March 22, 2006, http://www.christophernoxon.com/nyt_sub_rejuveniles.html
Mirrored: http://www.toddlertime.com/dx/regression/notgrowup.htm

2.  Ian Shoales (January 1, 2004) World's Oldest Preteens, Intelligent Enterprise Magazine, Extracted March 22, 2006
http://www.iemagazine.com/040101/701ddw1_1.jhtml?_loopback=1
Mirrored: http://www.toddlertime.com/dx/regression/youth.htm

3.  Trina Rea, (December 19, 2003), The Search for Eternal Youth, Europe Intelligence Wire. Extracted March 22, 2006, http://www.toddlertime.com/dx/regression/youth.htm

4. Siobhan McAndrew (October 11, 2003), I am a Gen-Xer Suffering from Peterpandemonium, Reno Gazette-Journal. Extracted March 22, 2006, http://www.rgj.com/news/stories/html/2003/10/11/53893.php
Mirrored: http://www.toddlertime.com/dx/regression/peterpandemonium.htm

5Rejuveniles (2003-2004), Extracted from Kathi’s Mental Health Review, Extracted March 22, 2006, http://www.toddlertime.com/dx/regression/rejuveniles.htm

6. Jessica Gresko (November 14, 2002), Stuffed Animal Attachments Carry Over into College Years, The Columbia Spectator.  Extracted March 22, 2006 Here
Mirrored: http://www.toddlertime.com/dx/regression/attachments.htm

7. Suzanne Fields (September 4, 2003),  Revisiting the Itsy Bitsy Spider, Townhall.com. Extracted March 22, 2006,  Here
Mirrored: http://www.toddlertime.com/dx/regression/fields.htm

8.  Kathi Stringer (2002), True Infantilism, Kathi’s Mental Health Review
Extracted March 22, 2006 http://www.toddlertime.com/dx/regression/infantilism.htm

9.  Glen O. Gabbard (1998) Psychodynamic Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, THE DSM-IV Edition, pp. 141

10.  Charles Schulz (September 19, 1952), Linus, Meet the Gang.com 
Extracted March 22, 2006, http://www.snoopy.com/comics/peanuts/meet_the_gang/meet_linus.html

"Written by Kathi Stringer and may be reproduced and/or distributed on websites, and/or for personal use with the author's names and credits attached."