Mary-Lynne, the 10-month-old baby in a video called “Emotional baby! Too cute!” (see below) feels her mother’s musically expressed emotion very strongly. As her mother soulfully sings the 1988 Rod Stewart song “My Heart Can’t Tell You No,” Mary-Lynne’s facial expressions move from wide-eyed wonder to scrunch-faced smiles to streaming tears to what appear to be grimaces.
Since being published on October 18, 2013, the video has gone viral with its over 16 million views and 100,000-plus “likes” (and counting), with most of the YouTube comments consisting of things like “cute baby,” and “this is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.” But with over 3,000 “dislikes,” there are also some who insist that the video is “not so cute”; one of these is Tere Peman, who comments, “The baby is scared of mom[’s] unusual voice. [S]he begin[s] to smile when [the] mother seems to stop singing.” Peman, who says in her comment that she is a mother, too, goes on to suggest that the baby is, in fact, “suffering.”
Even the mother, Amanda Leroux, acknowledges this toward the end of the video when she stops singing and says to baby Mary-Lynne, “Oh, you feel the pain in the song, yeah honey? Big tears. Are you crying? Oh, you’re crying, monkey. OK, mommy’s done. … It’s just a song.”
In a Skype interview with The Today Show on Tuesday, Leroux says she’s been singing to Mary-Lynne since she was in the womb, and was just trying to capture video of her baby’s particularly potent emotional response to the song to share with her husband and family (Schlosser, 2013). Her intention was not for the video to go viral, and she probably couldn’t have imagined that multitudes of people would be commenting on what she presents as an intimate moment of bonding with her child. Such is the nature of social media, though.
And considering the widespread viewing of this video as well as the mixed, predominately positive responses of those who have watched and commented on it, GoodTherapy.org decided to check in with Ruth Wyatt, LCSW and child psychology Topic Expert, to see what she thinks of the video “Emotional Baby, Too Cute!”
A Child Psychology Expert Perspective on ‘Emotional Baby’
Wyatt’s immediate response was that Mary-Lynne, although an adorable baby, is not at all happy. “Clearly, this mother is wanting to share something with her daughter. Sharing our feelings with our children can be a very important way we connect to them,” she says. However, Wyatt adds, “As beautiful and important as it is for us to share our feelings with our children, we need to understand where our children are developmentally and what they can handle.”
Noting how Mary-Lynne smiles when her mother stops singing and cries when she starts again, Wyatt says, “My sense is that the baby [is] in some distress and that she [is] confused by her mother’s singing, hence the shift in affect.” She adds, “Perhaps picking up on the sadness of the song or responding to the altered state of the mother, the baby does not seem to feel safe. My sense is that she wants the calm, soothing mom to return.”
She goes on to say, “Babies have no language but they can feel and take in the cadence of our voices, our feelings behind our words. I think this mother just needs to tune in a bit more to these aspects of her baby and maybe save the sad songs for when the baby is a bit older.”
Have you seen the video? What do you think? Is “emotional baby” cute, or not so cute?
- Leroux, A. (2013, October 18). “Emotional baby! Too cute!” YouTube . Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nIsCs9_-LP8
- Schlosser, K. (2013, October 29). Baby girl moved to tears by mom’s singing in viral video. Today.com. Retrieved from http://www.today.com/moms/baby-girl-moved-tears-moms-singing-viral-video-8C11487730
© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.