I am not an overly maternal woman.
Let me clarify, I love my own kids more than oxygen, and there are not words in the English language to describe how I feel about them. Any maternal instincts I have are laser focused on them.
But I don’t like your baby. I don’t have to.
Historically, I have worked in offices with a high percentage of women. I have witnessed, when someone walks in with their new baby after being on maternity leave, every single uterus in the building running towards that baby, the woman husk that surrounds that uterus squealing, cooing and awwwing and “Oh my god just look at her little toes! They’re so perfect!”
I will stay at my desk. I don’t really know that woman and I don’t know that baby, so I do not care.
“Lisa, come see the baby!”
Nah, I’m good.
“But THE BABY! COME SEE!”
Nope. You go ahead.
“YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND…oh my god…” as they’re lassoed by their own fallopian tubes and dragged away to play with the new bag of flesh.
I don’t care about your baby. And I will not apologize for that. And please don’t put me in the awkward position of being more annoyed by your baby than I already am.
Yesterday, I went to my team’s softball game. My stupid back issues have made it difficult to play much this season, but I go to watch my husband play and to support the team.
I walk up to the dug-out and this woman – who I should mention I’ve never spoken to on purpose as she came onto the team just recently – says, “Oh would you mind watching the baby?”
Oh, I get it. There are two other people in the dug-out, but because I harbor a vagina between my legs, I will be thrilled to watch your crotchdemon.
“Uhhhh…ssssssssuuuuuuuuuure? Why not?”
I know my face reacted in a surprised and unimpressed manner as my face often betrays me when it has feelings. Upon seeing my face do this, why the fuck would you leave your child with me? If you’ve ever seen the movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith, please refer to the scene where someone hands Mrs. Smith the baby. She tries to object, but the woman still hands the clearly uncomfortable Mrs. Smith, played by Angelina Jolie, her fucking baby.
That. Right there. Except I’m not Angelina Jolie.
So why did I reluctantly agree to supervise this 4 month old poo-factory? Well, among other reasons, I thought, “Well, I have a grandchild coming this winter, it’s been forever since I’ve even HELD a baby, why not…”
It was mostly fine the first few minutes, it was happy, I was holding it correctly…it loved my necklace, as babies do.
But I realized very soon exactly “why not”:
I DO NOT KNOW THIS BABY, AND I DO NOT LIKE THIS BABY. THIS IS NOT MY BABY. THIS IS NOT MY GRANDBABY. AND I AM STUCK WITH IT.
I can’t tie it to a fence on a leash and run away like I want to, that would be wrong and, possibly, prosecutable.
I did not come here to watch a fucking baby during this game, I came to support my team. And now I’ve got a baby, a baby who is now screaming because it’s woken up from a nap and it is HUNGRY, and my blood pressure has gone up 49 points.
Listen, people, and listen good: Do not leave your baby with “the first vagina you see”. Don’t. It’s not fair to the baby and it’s not fair to the vagina. I’m going to assume that babies can smell tension like dogs can and this baby knew I wanted no part of holding it. I have probably somehow moderately damaged this child’s psyche. Great.
One of the other gals laughed when she sensed my rising anxiety. “I thought you had kids…don’t you have children?”
I HAD CHILDREN. A LIFETIME AGO. THEY ARE NOW ADULTS, I SUCCESSFULLY KEPT THEM ALIVE AS LONG AS I NEEDED TO, SO I DID ALRIGHT. FUCK.
Oh, it just spit up on me. PERFECT.
The mother finally came to retrieve the baby to feed it. “It turns out your baby doesn’t actually like to be pinched,” I said. She laughed. I was kidding, of course (we all know babies LOVE to be pinched), but how does she know that? THE WOMAN HAS NEVER MET ME.
I cannot wait to meet my grandchild. She is due to show up into this world the first week of December, and I can’t think of anything more exciting in the world right now than to hold and make faces at an extension of my daughter. I’m getting a little happy teary just typing this.
I also have a niece who is expecting her first child, and I’m a little giddy about meeting my first “grand niece” (is that right? I am often confused by extended family titles) in February. How cool. I still remember holding my niece for the first time in the hospital just after she was born.
But please don’t ever assume I want to hold your baby, strange woman. I don’t. You may as well hand it to a crocodile.
I used to wonder why my mother was the way she was – exactly the same as I am on this matter – and I now realize that’s just how we’re wired. My mother is not June Cleaver, but I do not doubt her love for me for a second.
But you should know…she also doesn’t want to hold your baby.