Lefty or Righty?

I continue to get BabyCenter updates long after my pregnancy.  These days it tells me what the average baby her age should be able to do.  As I read what was in store for my 6-month, 2-week old, it reminded me of my own childhood:

Your baby may favor one hand for a while and then switch to the other. But you can’t really tell whether she’s a lefty or a righty until she’s about 2 or 3 years old.

Don’t try to influence your baby’s hand preference (it’s determined before birth). Forcing a child to use one hand when she’s inclined to use the other may confuse her and lead to problems with hand-eye coordination, dexterity, and handwriting down the road.

I was born a natural lefty, but my grandma forced me to become a righty.  She would sit there breathing down my neck until I was able to write and use utensils with my right hand.  My grandma was a BIG disciplinarian and scarryyyy.  Not all grandma’s are cute and cuddly – she was a fierce one!

I vaguely remember her saying how being a lefty would make things like eating at the table with other people more difficult (knocking elbows and all), or how it could be seen as unattractive.  The last thing I wanted as a child was to not fit in, so I diligently worked on improving my right-handed skills.

However, there are still a lot of subtle things that my natural left-handedness can’t shake.  I’m surprisingly stronger on my left when it comes to things like snowboarding (goofy), shooting pool, skateboarding, and snapping my fingers (can’t snap AT ALL with my right).

S is a big history buff, so he told me that if you notice, all politicians are right-handed because it was once considered a handicap to be a lefty.  I guess there were major stereotypes against it!  He told me you can figure out which politicians were true lefties by the hand they waved with.  It’s such a subconscious learned behavior that people don’t consciously work to correct it.  After he said that I became more aware of what hand I wave with, and S is so right!  I almost always wave with my left hand!!  It feels way more natural to me.

So when I read the last sentence of that BabyCenter update I can’t help but chuckle – exaggerate much?  If you saw my handwriting, you would never guess that my right-hand is actually my weak hand.  Also, I’m not the most coordinated person in the world, but my dexterity is far from “bad”.  I’m not saying you should go and change your child’s hand preference, but sometimes we gotta take these blanket generalizations with a grain of salt.

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5 thoughts on “Lefty or Righty?

  1. what the! i cannot imagine you as a lefty, but that’s so cool! i always felt that lefty people were so much more creative and brilliant! I forget all the lefty celebrities but there are SO many of them! You should ease back into being a lefty 🙂

  2. This is so funny, because my husband and I were JUST discussing how it already seems like Claire is favoring her right hand.

    On a related note, my sister was a natural lefty like you. But, due to Korean traditions and superstitions, our grandmother and mother “taught” her that the right hand should be used instead…but she kept using her left hand in secret and now, she is fully ambidextrous!

    • wow, your sister is so smart! i wish i had the foresight to practice my lefty skills in secret! i really think all that straight and narrow asian-ness i learned from a young age hindered any creativity/artsyness i might’ve been born with.

  3. So – guess what – I just had a client whose diagnosis was PATHOLOGICAL LEFT HANDEDNESS. yep!!! it’s a neurological thing where, you are born a lefty, your left hand is your dominant hand, but – for some reason, your left hand does not work. So, you compensate by using your right hand. If this goes well – a person is ambidextrous. However, if the right hand doesn’t compensate well – then, you get a person who is forced to use their ineffective right hand and who has HUGE issues now with writing.
    I thought that was the most interesting thing in the world. Sucks for my client – poor guy! But – we will help him!!!!

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