Even my own babies, who I’m happy to hold, are really boring under the age of one. I talk to them and sing silly songs and provide all the human interaction and stimulation I’m supposed to, and I hate it. I feel like such an idiot blabbering “goo-goo ga-ga” to a drooling, pooping, puking blob who doesn’t yet know how to respond. I feel stupid doing the running commentary- “and now mommy is putting you arm through the sleeve of your shirt”- to someone who can’t yet make sense of such funny sounds. As much as I know I need to do these things so that they DO learn to make sense of it, I still feel stupid every time I do it.
Although I truly LOVE both my children equally, frankly, I like my toddler better right now, tantrums and all- and I like him better than I liked him a year and a half ago. I just feel more connected having a conversation with him (even though it is not particularly sophisticated) and I just get a much bigger rush of parental joy watching him play imaginative games or hearing him make observations about what he sees and hears than I do when the baby gives me a drooly smile or bats at something dangling.
I used to feel guilty about my feelings about babies when my oldest was a baby. I beat myself up for thinking of him as inane and struggled to reconcile my intense love with my strong boredom and dislike. Every now and then, I would admit to someone that I couldn’t wait for the next stage, and every time without fail, I got the old “you say that now, but you’re going to miss this time when you get there” line. NOPE!
My son started walking and talking and it’s every bit as awesome as I expected. I don’t miss his baby self one bit. When my husband and I decided to try for a second, it was because we wanted to grow our family, not because I was getting wistful baby pangs. I just went into it knowing I would do what I need to for the first year, looking forward to when he would get a little bigger. I’ve come to accept that I’m just not a baby person. I’m a big-kid person. This should come as no surprise to a high school teacher, but it took awhile to come to terms with my feelings. Yes, 16 is my favorite age and that’s OK; I think we all have our favorite ages and stages. I don’t love my kids any less because they’re not 16 yet, and I’ve certainly found enjoyment in toddlerhood (which is remarkably similar to adolescence in many ways). But I’m just not a baby person and probably never will be.