I just do not care about so much about regarding babies.
See also: breast-feeding, natural childbirth, weaning, baby-wearing, co-sleeping, solid foods, cloth diapering, unschooling, homeschooling, Montessori, Waldorf, Kindermusik, baby sign language.
It’s like parents of babies invent all these topics to exercise their brains about because all babies do for the first part of life is crap and sleep and smile and cry and you sit there getting all nuts about the smallest bit of data that emerges from them, telling you who they are going to eventually become.
When they actually start to, you know, MOVE, then the whole notion of Child As Superlative Being takes over for some people. They are going to raise their child like they do in Europe. Their child will not learn to read until it’s 9 years old. Their toddler will take public transport, and eat mashed brussel sprouts and drink watered-down claret like the French do. Their child will learn mathematics by skipping out into the forest and gathering acorns and counting them in a basket he/she weaves from his/her own hair. Everyone in their house will walk around naked to encourage ‘natural sexuality’ and all of the toys will be made of bamboo and wood.
Great. Do all that. Reap the benefits of your amazing offspring. But I probably won’t want to discuss any of it with you, trust.
(I have to justify my credentials here. I co-slept. I cloth-diapered. Adrian ‘wore’ Matilda all the time. My boobs made no milk, though, so breast-feeding ended pretty damn quick. Sorry, Matilda. I didn’t want you to starve for two weeks while I harassed the damn things into producing something via a mechanical pump. Of course, there are people who think I gave up. Fully true. I hated breast-feeding so much I went and had 50% of my useless boobs removed as revenge years later.)
I don’t know how people still give a shit about this stuff after their baby stops being a baby. It’s like someone who gets married and still can’t stop babbling about their wedding blog or photos or video or whatever the hell.
I admit, I get really impatient with people. Just move through your Gail Sheehy Passages already.
Sometimes I think people fetishize babies. A lot of women talk about how they need a ‘baby fix’ and have to go hold someone else’s baby. I have never had that issue. I mean, if one of my friends has a baby, then I will want to hold it. Because IT’S MY FRIEND’S BABY. He/she is going to be in my life. I don’t just want to hold some random baby. That’s creepy to me.
I loved Matilda as a baby. I know this makes me out to be some baby-hating, lizard-mother bastard. But I do look at her baby photos and want to squeeze her cheeks.
HOWEVER. I never wish that she’d to return to that stage. I am interested in every stage of development she enters. Even though I don’t have any desire to check the dumb child-rearing manual every second about ‘gross motor’ or ‘linguistic aptitude’ or whatever the hell.
I like seeing her grow. Be a person. Be apart from me. Become her own story. Some day grow up and go away from me. That’s the dream, right? To raise a person who can live without you, but who might choose your company, still.