So here I am, a happily married textbook editor living in St. Louis with my husband Will and loving the “young couple” lifestyle. We hang out with friends, try all the new restaurants, travel whenever we want, and obsess way too much over our pseudo-child, Gatsby (a five pound toy fox terrier). All of this is great and I pretty much never want to give it up. But I have a feeling it’s going to change. And that change begins with a “B” and ends with an “aby.”
No, I am NOT pregnant (Mom – you can stop freaking out). Nor will I be within the next couple of years, at least not according to the “life plan” I have carefully crafted for myself. Will and I have always said that the magic number is 30 – we’ll wait until we’re 30 to have kids. Great! Thirty is OLD. Heck, I might not even live that long. But wait – NEWSFLASH – suddenly I’m 28! And I can feel the freedom of my childless years slipping through my fingers. A tiny person-to-be is looming in the not-so-distant future, plotting to invade our lives and my uterus.
FUTURE BABY: Hey Mom, you know how you like to go out to nice restaurants more often than you probably should? Well you better soak that up now because when I’m in the picture? Not gonna happen.
ME: Huh? Mom? Wait – are you talking to me, baldy?
FB: Also, you better start planning and saving for that trip to Europe, stat. I’m not a huge fan of history, museums, good wine, or even solid foods for that matter.
ME: Wow, way to be a party pooper.
FB: Oh, I’m an expert pooper. You’ll see.
ME: <throwing up in mouth>
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t want to have kids. (Again, Mom, stop freaking out.) I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we are lucky enough to have that experience because I know that many people aren’t and it’s often taken for granted. But whether biological or adopted, I’m guessing that in the relatively near future there will be mini people dictating what we can and cannot do in our day-to-day lives. This scares me.
I’m not what you might call a “baby person.” I’ve probably held about five babies in my entire life, and I think I can speak on behalf of myself and the babies when I say it was not good. I mean really, when someone hands you her baby, what are you supposed to do? Support the head – ok I know that, but then what? Do you just look at it? Pat it? Pet it? Bounce? Stand still? I don’t know. And then there’s the whole issue of baby talk. In the presence of a baby, it seems that pretty much everyone in the world suddenly loses the ability to pronounce the letter L, as in “Wook at this wittle cutie!” I cannot compel myself to do this. My conversations with babies go more like this:
ME: Hi! Awww, you’re cute. Yes you are!
ME: You’re heavy…
Note to friends and family members whose babies I’ve held: Don’t worry, I actually loved holding your baby. It’s the other four I’m talking about.
Another sign my maternal instincts haven’t kicked in yet? I don’t think babies are cute. Granted, they do get progressively cuter as they get older. I think most four and five year olds are adorable. I always want to take them by the shoulders, look them in the eye and say “Enjoy it kid, the awkward middle school years are not too far down the road.” But if you’re talking actual babies – most are wrinkly, fleshy, spitty Verne Troyer look-alikes.
So that’s where I stand right now. I do feel like I might be slowly warming up to humans of the ankle-biting, rug rat variety thanks to the fact that I have several friends who have babies or are pregnant. From what I’ve observed, motherhood does have some perks. However, I obviously have a ways to go. Thus begins my quest to enjoy living spontaneously and selfishly while I still can and to mentally prepare myself for what I like to refer to as Babygeddon…