Friday, September 28, 2007

Baby, I'm bored.

"Uh I don't really do babies," I said apologetically last week when a proud new Mum offered to let me hold the plump, squirming specimen that was the latest member of my extended family.
I felt self conscious and like a bit of an idiot as I said it. The maggot-like thing in the blanket was cute enough, for a baby, and I wasn't trying to make a judgement call on people who do choose to breed but I was telling the truth - I don't really do babies and I don't really want anything to do with them.

For a start I don't get them. Being a youngest child I never grew up with babies or learnt how to deal with them. I fear both dropping them and having them throw up on me, as my charming second cousin did the one time I was persuaded to hold him. Occasionally I have suspicions, too, that I'm caught up in a giant conspiracy because I'm honestly not quite sure why other people seem to like babies so much or what about them turns people into baby-talking weirdos. Is it genuine or are they are just fussing over Lil' Sprog because it's the polite thing to do? I don't know.

You might suspect, right about now, I'm just dead inside and have a piece of rock for a heart but I'm not a total unfeeling bitch - I have, in fact, been known to go quite gooey-eyed at the sight of a wee little kitten. Just thinking of it makes my heart jump a little bit and, many many kittens later, I still find the sensation of holding such a tiny little scrap of skin and bones in my hands quite amazing. By comparison I can barely appreciate a baby on an aesthetic level, let alone feel it rouse my maternal instinct. Babies are, at best, boring but sweet, like an unwanted gift from a well meaning grandmother, and, at worst, hideous, shrieking things. Biological imperative aside I can't see why anyone would want anything to do with them.

Of course whenever I tell someone I just don't want children they get a knowing gleam in their eyes. "Wait until you're older," they say. "Just wait." Then they give me the smug smile of superiority that makes me want to cut them.

And yet... it does seem to be the case that a lot of women who don't want babies when they're younger suddenly develop a need to breed once they hit 30 o'clock. We are, apparently, slave to our evolutionary drive and the desire to procreate. Well not all of us because there are some people out there fighting the good fight who would still rather push a pram into the Thames than anywhere else (tm S.H) but I don't know what their secret is.

Will I completely change my opinion of brats when my hormones get into line? Will I linger in the kids section of department stores, browsing over booties and weeping inside at the cuteness of other people's progeny. Eh, maybe, maybe not. But if my experiences with last week's little bundle of joy - and the sense of relief I felt when I didn't have to watch it feed/get changed/perform any kind of biological function - are any indication my biological clock is well and truly behind the pace and possibly broken. And thank Christ for that.


Dave said...

As long as, if you do have a baby, you don't make your profile pic of you holding your baby, all will be okay.

my name is kate said...

In the unlikely event that I do end up breeding I swear I will never force anyone touch it, hold it or discuss its sleeping patterns.