In addition to my attendance at the Harvard Graduate School of Education graduation ceremonies where I will MOST CERTAINLY pretend to be an alumnus, it’s Ask Caroline Wednesday. And let me tell you, a select few of you more than made up for last week’s dismal showing of loyalty.
I haven’t decided yet if I’ll tackle all of the questions or just a few, but either way it’s going to be epic. Epic. Sex, food, Facebook. I’m getting giddy just thinking about it.
Anyway, let’s not give away the milk, shall we?
Today, on the other hand, not an epic day. I’m not gonna dwell on it, but it turns out the one thing you shouldn’t do while unable to exercise is eat cookies and dark chocolate Hershey’s Kisses, which is what my diet has consisted of for the last 24 hours. Hurray!
In other news, let’s talk a little bit about babies.
Now that I’ve humped over to the wrong side of 25, I’m starting to feel the silent pressure of BABIES. My mother knows better than to ask me about my plans for giving her grandchildren, mostly out of fear that I’ll cut her out of my life and change my phone number, but there are forces worst than a woman who has entered the stage of her life where she’s aching for people to start calling her Mimi. (The name my mother has chosen as her “grandmother” name. Now, I don’t want to get all worked up about this, but I have some very developed opinions about picking your grandmother name. Apparently it’s all the rage nowadays. Will you be a Nana? Or are you more a Gigi? Gammie, perhaps? How about you stupid fucking bitch, the child can’t talk. You’re name is going to be whatever half speak/half vomit sound comes out of their mouth? No? You don’t like that one? Fine. Then I’m going to go by Coco. And so is the hubs.)I’m noticing that there is a force that exists in the universe. For the sake of clarity we’ll call it Bavity. Bavity is everywhere and no one can explain it. Suddenly you wake up and think, “huh, am I supposed to have babies? Am I behind? Am I going to be sorry later if I don’t have a baby right now?”
That’s the first step towards damnation.
So, to combat Bavity, I’ve started a little anthropological exercise of my own. Rather than recoiling anytime I’m in close proximity to babies (or toddlers), I absorb. I allow myself to imagine that I were the mother, those little beings my children, and we’re all going about our day. I see a mother walking down the street with a day old child strapped to her chest and I think to myself, “self, she is taking her child out into the world for the first time. Together they are taking in all the wonders of a beautiful afternoon. How wonderful that woman must feel. Her baby. All hers.”
And then I think. “Oh my god. I am so glad that isn’t me. Imagine how sweating that woman must be getting with that baby strapped to her. Can she eat a sandwich with that baby stuck to her like that? Does she pee with that baby there? Does the baby have sunscreen on? Do babies need suncreen? Is the baby going to overheat? Are babies sensitive to temperature? Is it hot inside the womb? How come puppies don’t open their eyes for a couple of days but babies open them straight way? Do monkeys open their eyes straight away? Do monkey go through vaginal birth? Why have I never YouTubed monkeys giving birth? Would that be considered porn? Would monkey porn be considered animal cruelty? Is this a million dollar idea?”
So it’s no wonder the hubs and I haven’t seriously considered procreating.
The other precaution I’ve been taking is playing the “what’s the best age?” game. This is a game where I poll people with children to find out at what age they most enjoyed their children. Turns out, never. Or sleeping. Lots of profound love and an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride, no doubt, but actual joy… not so much. Lots of work, lots of emotion, lots of divorce, lots of under appreciation. Sounds awesome. Sign. me. up.
Despite this intellectual fodder, Bravity is still a force to be reckoned with. Thousands of screaming babies on planes, in restaurants, in bathrooms, and on subways, yet one well behaved, angelic looking baby and suddenly I start saying this like “our kids” or asking the hubs whether he thinks public or private school is best. (And if you think I have an aversion to babies, you should see the hubs when they are mentioned. His voice changes octaves and he gets sweaty.)
To make matters worse, the paint-chip-eating voice in the back of my head will prevail. Against my better judgment I’ll end up with three or four. I’ve even named them. Only I’m certain that my children will be tiny adults. They will dress in tweed layers and wear thick rimmed glasses and say things like “excuse me, mummy, I know you’re on the phone, but do you think it’s possible for you to reach the bath salts? I was just thinking how nice it would be to prepare you a bath before I settle in to read the newest Judy Blume with a tumbler of your best breast and some steamed sweet potatoes. You know how I like yours the best.”
All before his second birthday.