Wednesday, June 11, 2008
I've never been a big baby person. Whatever. They're boring, look like little bald aliens, and often either spit up on you, yell at you, or poop near you. When Mitch and I started to think seriously about babies (planning but not yet pregnant), I started paying more attention to babies to check out what we were in store for. Even then, I found babies to be intellectually more interesting but still not emotionally appealing.
Having a baby changed all that. All other babies immediately became more interesting because they give me clues to how my babies are similar or different from other people. Kids older than Josie or Lucy give me clues to what my kids might become. Kids younger than Josie or Lucy remind me of what they used to be like. Not only are babies now fascinating to me but being a parent is an instant connection to millions of people with whom I would have no other connection (no other cultural, intellectual, or emotional connection). Mitch has thought a lot about this and I'm sure he will one day write a brilliant post about the parent connection phenomenon.
Yesterday at work I saw a working mom with her son (who looked like he was between 6 and 8 months old) at a cultural resources conference. She was listening at the back of the room while holding her son. Seeing the baby made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside ("yay! A baby!"). Seeing this working mom working hard to balance baby and work also made me think "you go girl.". Then I also saw a pregnant woman who is due in ten days at another work conference. And I thought, "oh, I'm done being pregnant. That makes me a little sad. No more tiny babies. No more babies kicking in my belly." That was WEIRD. I'm not a pregnant earth mother baby person at all. And now I have all these warm and fuzzy baby feelings and pregnant mom feelings. Where I am supposed to file all of that stuff?
One thought on why having a baby changed my own baby feelings: Part of it I think is that babies are connected to their parents in such a visceral way that that connection sort of bleeds over into every baby you see after your own baby is born. I think that connection changes as your kids get older and become more independent. So seeing babies takes me back to that symbiotic elemental phase of parenthood (some people might say parasitic phase...). Babies become a nostalgic experience.
Anyway, enough about babies. Suffice it to say that even though Josie is hardly an adult (she isn't even a year old for goodness sakes) and Lucy still has a ways to go before she is ready for college, I do still have a soft spot in my heart for their past tiny baby selves and all other babies in existence now that Josie and Lucy have unleashed my baby ju-ju. Watch out future mamas everywhere - the baby magic is very strong!