I Wish I’d Given Birth To A Four-Year-Old

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potato-babyI wish I’d given birth to a four-year-old.

I don’t mean this in the literal sense. That’s a mighty long gestation; even an elephant would faint at that kind of a pregnancy commitment. What I do mean is that the defenceless infant stage challenges me in ways that don’t tickle my fancy.

Now, the first three months are very potato-like. Your baby will cry, excrete things from various orifices, pass out, and wake at inopportune times (Which is every time, if memory serves. All I ever wanted was just one more hour of sleep). All those toys marketed for ages  0+? Yeah, that just means your newborn won’t die from exposure to it, not that there will be play. They couldn’t care less about that jingly dangle ball. Their benign indifference to that rattle you’re shaking could rival an aloof house cat. And you? They don’t care about you. They just want their needs met. At least, that’s how it felt to me.

Some people love their crying potatoes. And, I mean, yes, I did too. There’s a primitive protocol that, when your brain and hormones are firing on all cylinders, compels you to care for your new baby and love him. Even if you’re tired, even if you don’t want to right now, even if you’re scared. I didn’t exactly bond right away to my newborn, but I did get onboard with his needs at 2:00, 3:00 and 4:00 in the morning, and if waking at ungodly hours doesn’t show love, then set the bar lower.

But really, there are Baby People, folks who just love the smell, the sounds and the overall experience of an infant. They can’t believe how fast the time is going by. They cherish the smallness, the sense of being needed so completely, and forget what life was like before. At least they say that last one and I’m not sure what they mean. For example, I remember a time when I would decide to leave the house and then just go ahead and leave the house. I recall those times with a wistful fondness.

But maybe I don’t get it because I am not a Baby Person. I like babies in a general way. I am a human being, after all. There’s discomfort some people have around babies or a preference to not be around them, sure, but I think most people at a core level are pro-baby, just as members of humanity. And I am pro-baby, and I think they’re cute and I like them well enough, and certainly more so now that I have my own. But I also never gave them much thought before I became a mother.

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