Not Everyone Wants Kids
...not everyone wants kids. I certainly don't. Every time I see someone dragging around a whining crying baby, oozing snot from every orifice I have to wonder, "Ewe, who the hell wanted that thing?" I've been called insensitive for my lack of vocabulary, calling babies things and onsies baby sacks. It's not my fault, how am I supposed to know these things? As far as I'm concerned a baby is a thing until it grows big enough to do something more impressive then sit in it's own poop. As for the rest of my vocabulary, I just call it as I see it. At least I don't call cribs baby cages, though I often think it. I've spent many a long hour pondering why something that can't even roll over should have to be caged in such a way.
It Starts in Childhood...
The disliking of children for me started in my own childhood. As the rest of the girls dragged around baby dolls like precious keepsakes I kept myself amused tormenting mine. I'd "bungee jump" my Barbies by hanging them by the neck from the ceiling rafters in my basement and spend long hours seeing just how much abuse a rubber wrestling doll could go through. I never did like baby dolls. The one I liked was bald and naked but I thought it deserved better so I gave it "hair" by wrapping its head in electrical tape. Even then my maternal instinct could have killed...
I remember in Kindergarten when the other girls would play House they'd somehow drag me into the "fun." Whoever was playing the game would be the mother and she'd assign two children, perhaps a dog, and I would volunteer to be the father. After this I'd leave the "house", claim it was work related, and not return, as I thought fathers were supposed to do. I grew up in a single parent home so you can't exactly blame me for seeing fathers as being glorified sperm donors at this tender age. That's all besides the point, what I was really trying to illustrate was the fact I knew at five I didn't ever want to have children and that I knew if I ever did have children the likelihood of me pawning them off onto someone else with a stronger maternal instinct was pretty damn high.
The First Baby
I held my first baby when I was ten years old. He was only a few hours old and I got to hold him at the hospital. He wasn't a sibling, thank God, but a cousin. I didn't really have a choice in the matter. Everyone else had held the new baby and I was the only one left in the room. Before I knew it my mother was coming at me with this giant swaddle of blankets with this tiny shriveled creature cuddled in the middle. I held him, though I couldn't actually feel him because the blankets were enormous. My first impression was, "This doesn't look like a baby...human..." He was tiny pink and shriveled like some sort of naked mole rat. This thing wasn't even remotely cute. It was actually rather repulsive. I still think gorilla babies are far superior in the cuteness factor. At least they don't look like mutant raisons with suspiciously perfect little hands.
My mother babysat my cousin for the first year of his life. During all this time the only physical interaction I remember having with him was once when my mother fell asleep on the couch I fed him a smushed banana when he started crying. Even then I had no idea babies get full in two bites so I smushed up half of a giant banana which quickly turned brown and disgusting on the plate. I don't think I held him after the hospital visit. I certainly don't remember playing with him, only staring at him whenever he started crying. What a useless creature. All it can do is smell and cry. It was a long time before I got another chance to be around another baby.
I Never Babysat
When I reached my teens I found myself again holding someone's baby, again without me really wanting to. She, or was it he? No It. It was a distant relation of mine, still not entirely sure how. It was an older baby, maybe six months old and heavy as a goddamn sack of potatoes. So there I was holding this kid, looking entirely unnatural, with a balloon tied to my wrist to amuse the thing. I passed it off as soon as I could.
I think my mother held hopes that I'd babysit someone someday. I never did, unless you count the eight rats I babysat one summer. Being around my cousin and some other children made me never want to babysit. I remember one of my mother's friends had a kid which I only got to know after he started his questioning phase. You know the one, the phase where all little kids run around going "Why? Why? Whhhhy?" until you want to just smush their little faces in? Yeah, that one. I couldn't for the life of me figure out why human children were all born retarded, and annoying at that.
There was one child who far surpassed all others as being the spawn of Satan. She was another cousin and hit the why phase when she was only two and a half. By the time she was three she was speaking in full sentences and utterly obsessed with me. In the following years she didn't grow less annoying but more annoying and her intense interest in me grew stronger. Barney could have walked into the middle of the room and spontaneously combusted and she'd still be tagging along with me, trying to figure out what I was doing that was so important. Eventually I learned if I sat in a corner and stared at a random object out of her reach for hours on end she'd go bug someone else, to ask them what was wrong with me of course.
It was during one of these visits that I was handed yet another baby without me consenting. I was nineteen years old and this baby was only a week. He put the tiny rasionette in my arms and I nearly spazzed out. Up until that date no one had told me babies don't have neck muscles. You've GOT to be kidding me! Most baby animals can walk and run by the time they're an hour old, this thing can't even hold up it's head at a week?! What gives?! The poor thing's head flopped backwards, my heart jumped out of my chest and I thought for sure I'd just killed it. Luckily for the kid, I didn't kill it, or maim it in any way. I was still stuck holding it even though by now I had so much anxiety coursing through my veins I was shaking. "Take it back before I break it!"
It was years before I agreed to hold another baby, although on two occasions I did attempt to play Stupid Monkey Faces with a friend's little bundle of pooh. This was very successful at making me look foolish, less successful in any other regard. I gave up but children are like cats, they flock to people who hate them. I couldn't escape. No matter what household I went to there were small children absolutely infatuated by me. They came to me like I was the goddamn pied piper and tried to get my attention and impress me in any way possible, perhaps handing me toys covered in goo, perhaps dancing around doing the pick-me-up stomp, and once a little boy even tried to push a plastic kitchenette set to me on the other side of the waiting room at a hospital. Whhhhhy? Why do they like me so much??
I gave up trying to like them. I just told everyone God decreed I was to die baron. Not many got the joke. Over the years I've had to suffer through screaming, crying, whining, and temper tantrums in public places and have had to be a silent witness to soooo much bad parenting on the part of my own peers, neighbors, and friends. I bit my tongue, only railing online where anonymity was guaranteed. A new thought came to mind, "I know I can do a better job raising some little brat..." So I decided to give children another shot.
This time no one offered me the baby. Everyone in the room knew my feelings. Still I played Stupid Monkey Faces with the thing to get it's attention and the people holding it. I didn't exactly feel like swallowing my pride and saying, "Can I hold it?" but I did anyway and got yelled at for calling it, it.
This time I was really trying! The baby was three or four months old, I had no idea if it had neck muscles or not but I held it anyway. I thought I was doing a pretty good job until someone snapped a photo and I got to see what I really looked like holding the thing. I looked as stiff and uncomfortable as a board with one too many nails in it. It was no small wonder when it started to cry and I had no idea what to do. I shifted it around, smiled at it, gave it a toy. It didn't shut up. My mother who was watching this whole event took the baby from me and declared it needed food. How she knew I'll never know. A cry is a cry to me. Before I knew it the baby was slurping down formula and oozing from every orifice again. It was put to bed shortly after and now I'm fairly certain my mother is contented with the idea of not becoming a grandmother. She used to desperately want grandchildren but watching me probably brought her back to her senses.
It'll be Different When it's Yours...
Maybe, but I don't feel like popping one out just to test this theory. I'm contented with my self-centered life and hypothesize I always will be. It's so nice to be able to sleep through a whole night (or day) without having to wake up to some screaming little snot factory. It's even sweeter when I don't come down with colds dragged home from grade school. Yes, taking care of only myself is the high life.
Besides all this I don't have the social etiquette I'd need to raise a child. My mother knitted a blue baby sweater that was made with faux fur. She had apparently made it without thinking because when she finished it she said, "Whose going to want this for a boy?" and decided to hastily tack pink onto the cuffs. I rather liked it when it was all blue and didn't see why it shouldn't be employed. I mean I'm sure someone would like a Muppet costume for Halloween or has a flamboyantly gay baby that'd like to go to Pride in it... Who knows? Of course I'm the kind of person who'd dress a baby in these things, take an exorbitant amount of snapshots and make an album, reminiscing, "It was so nice when you were a baby. I could dress you in anything I wanted and you couldn't fight it..."
In the end I have learned I am not the only one with this opinion, there are others out there like fellow hubber gmwilliams who wrote The 10 Totally Illogical and Utterly Inane Remarks Made To Childfree Couples.
If you enjoyed this perhaps you'd like to read more rants and observations about children by the happily childless Theophanes!
A Teenage Hypocrite's Speech on Teen Life (written years ago by a tween Theophanes. AWE)
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