the whispering ovaries
So, this has never happened before.
This weekend I bonded with a baby.
Like a baby baby, which, again, is quite new for me.
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but babies (I call anything under five years old a baby. My mother still refers to me as a baby, so I’m sure this is hereditary) have a tendency to stare at me. They just stare. A baby rolls by in a stroller and he will lock eyes with me and crank his head around to continue to stare as his mother pushes him by. Waiting in line at the store or the airport the baby in front of me will stare, sometimes smile and laugh. We instantly make eye contact and either I make the kid smile or she continues looking deep into my soul.
I try to ignore it, but I sometimes feel like the babies are trying to tell me something. Like I’ve been sent to do something for them. Like I’m supposed to create the uberbaby or something.
My mother tells me I should feel lucky, because whenever she looks at a baby it begins to cry. My mom apparently sends off the vibe where the kid instantly gets a guilt trip for not calling or visiting her more often. I’m sure that’s what it is. When my mother calls, I always know it’s her before I pick up. I can sense the ring. It has a bit more of an urgency in it’s tone than normal phone calls. It’s a sound that says, “You’re going to be on the phone longer than you plan to, and by the end you’ll have planned a trip to see her.”
So, the babies.
I have a fear of babies.
This comes from when I was six or so and I was at a friend’s house. She had a newborn baby sister, and for some stupid reason the mother let me hold this child without telling me what to do. I had never held a baby before in my life, I don’t think. My little sister would have been two around this time, but I really can’t remember ever holding her on my own. I think my mother was always there to watch me. But this mother plopped this child into my hands and walked off to get her bottle.
I remember I was sitting cross-legged on the floor with this squirmy thing in my hands and I just kept looking at her wondering, “What’s she thinking?” I got so engrossed that I didn’t know what to do when she squirmed her head. I didn’t know that you had to hold onto the back of the baby’s head. Perhaps you can see where this is going. The baby squirmed. Top heavy. She fell out of my arms and onto the floor, head first.
I’ve never forgotten the sound.
Now, the baby only fell about one foot, and she was fine. After the initial crying, she went back to cooing and laughing, but I just kept right on crying. The mother didn’t even seem to be upset.
I, on the other hand, have never gotten over it. I have been terrified of holding babies ever since. In fact, when someone asks if I’d like to hold the baby, I generally say no.
Last year at the family reunion, I held Eric’s second cousin. I think someone just pushed her over to me and said, “Would you hold her for a second?”
She was the sweetest baby I had ever met. Very quiet. Liked to hold my necklace. Smiley. Cool kid.
This year she is almost two, and for some reason this kid and I just got along. She’s very talkative, and likes to repeat what you say back to you. We played a game where we’d stare at each other for a few seconds and then suddenly act like we were very surprised by what the other one was thinking. Then we’d break into hysterics.
We discussed our favorite Teletubby, and the art of bubble blowing.
We complimented each other’s eye color.
She told me where my nose was, my toes, my shoes, my pants, and my boo-boo.
I had not noticed the boo-boo before.
I taught her a very obnoxious way to make a pig noise.
We did some running, flying and dancing.
We discussed the color of ducks.
If you laughed at something she did or said, she’d look at you and smile and ask, “You like that, huh?” I just thought that was the coolest.
And then I stopped myself and thought, “What the hell is happening here? Why am I having so much fun with a baby?”
To my credit, I must say that this baby is exceptional. She only cried like three times the entire weekend, and one of those was to say, “I’m awake now.” The other time she stopped crying to announce it was “time for night-night now.”
Hell, sometimes I break into tears when I know it’s time for night-night but I’m stuck at a picnic.
So, I’m just saying it wasn’t the “Oh, I want a baby,” feeling I got this weekend, but rather the, “Oh, I’ll never have a baby that much fun. I want that baby. For like, three days a month.”
But instead, I’ll just see her once a year, and we’ll keep introducing each other and maybe blow some bubbles again.
I dig other people’s kids. I just don’t want one of my own. Right now. Maybe later. LATER. Not now. I like that I can give them back when they don’t want to hang out with me anymore. I like that I can go swimming in the deep end by myself.
But really, I think that this little girl was sent by all of the other babies to represent. “We aren’t all bad.”
But I’ve never forgotten the sound of that baby’s head slamming on the hardwood floor. I almost dropped this little girl. Once. She jammed her legs out onto my chest while I was holding her hands. She stood perpendicular from my body and I couldn’t get any slack in her knees. I just slowly lowered her to the floor (Thanks, Billy Blanks!) and walked back until she was lying down.
Deep breath. Her head was fine. And everyone watched me do it. No one knew I was terrified of following my reflex and just letting go.
I mean, look at that face.
There was no way I could resist.
But it was just for one weekend. I’m fine now. Baby free. Got a couple of big ol’ cats that get testy when I go into the pantry and don’t feed them at the same time. That’s enough for me to deal with right now.
Quit looking at me like that.
And don’t ask me to babysit. I gave that shit up years ago.