15 January, 2009

Utterly Horrified

I held a baby today, and I liked it.

This is one of those things that terrify me, because while I like children in the abstract, and I certainly like them alive and healthy and cared for, I've never been one for cooing over the infants. Let other people hold them. They're sticky, incomprehensible, and fragile. I don't even think they're all that cute until they're at least four years old. Other people melt into a puddle of goo when faced with a baby. I do not.

I'm afraid I'm slipping.

My friend and her wife swung by work with their four month-old today. The cries of "Aaawww! Bebbe!" rebounded from the call center walls. And my first thought was, "Oshit. They're going to come over here and expect me to hold the damned thing."

They did. Out of a sense of obligation, gingerly, I accepted the offered child. Lodged him on a bony hip. Stared into dark blue-gray eyes. And he fit. It's rare that I feel comfortable with a infant in my arms, but he felt like he belonged right there. Not as cute as a cat, not as fun as a five year-old who can be your excuse to go out and dig up ant lions and build forts and generally relive the sense of adventure you lost when you started having to pay your own bills, but still, here was a baby propping himself against my shoulder so he could have a good look around from a reasonable height, and I wasn't freaking out. I was even enjoying having the little bugger around.


Thankfully, before I could get really mushy-gushy, I got a call and had to heave the kid back at his moms. I am left with a slightly better understanding as to why certain people are so anxious to have one of these things, but secure in the knowledge that I still do not have any desire to actually have one myself. After a bit of self-interrogation tonight, I realize that my determination to enjoy the joys of lack-of-motherhood is still strong as ever. It's just that now I can truly see myself in the role of maiden aunt.

I can now see myself getting an early start on spoiling the little buggers rotten.

Why I thought you all should know this, I have no idea. But I know at least one of you is going to enjoy this immensely. I'll take my "I told you so" on pumpernickel, thankee kindly.


Woozle said...

Don't worry, this doesn't mean you're having an attack of ohmigodishouldareproduced, bettergetstartednow!!! (Though it looks like you figgered that out before I got here.) It sounds to me more like Vicarious or Early Onset Grandma Syndrome (or, yeah, Maiden Auntitude).

Kids and babies are apparently much more appealing when you aren't the one who has to take care of them all the time, especially if you're related to them by genetics or friendship. I'm (maybe?) looking forward to that phase of the game. I think. (It's got to be better than this one, anyway.)

Paul Havlak said...

Loving kids, not having them -- what are you trying to do, avoid becoming part of the world's overpopulation and under-caring problems?

'Twould be a problem that the sanest people are those who tend not to reproduce -- luckily, many components of sanity are transmitted memetically, not genetically!

george.w said...

Well said, Paco. That's a bit of hope against Idiocracy.

Parenthood is insanity-making. The role of sane-meme transmitter is that of the village helping to raise the child. Because the parent needs someone to see past the next runny nose when they can't.

Cujo359 said...

Sounds like the difference between the abstract and the real to me. On the one hand, babies are a huge commitment of time and energy for something that doesn't benefit you all that much. On the other hand, we're genetically disposed to like them, or we'd have probably died out as a species millenia ago.

Nevertheless, I'm enjoying this.