Baby Fever

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My baby-making years are behind me – and most of the time, I’m glad. My kids can dress, feed, and bathe themselves (and properly clean a toilet, which is a definite plus). Gone are the days when I wiped other people’s asses more than my own, and I no longer have to carve out a huge portion of the monthly budget for diapers. I think any parent who has raised a child past infancy can agree: all in all, it’s pretty nice to say buh-bye to the baby stages.

But there’s one thing that can bring your reproductive done-ness into sharp focus, making even the most adamantly “finished” parents waver for a moment (or, like, a month). It’s called baby fever, and it can strike out of the blue, temporarily enveloping your good sense in a pastel-colored, powder-scented cloud of yearning. If you are heavily afflicted, this condition can lead to delirium and, eventually, actual babies – so here are a few situations that will almost certainly trigger the onset of baby fever. Avoid them at all costs.

Sorting out old baby things. There’s no use in keeping stuff your kids can’t use anymore – but when it comes to sorting it out, beware. Each item is a potential land mine, ripe with the potential to spark the fever. You’ll toss a pair of pants here, a bib there, and suddenly you’re face to face with an outfit you used to love seeing your baby in. It makes you miss the sweet, squeezable infants they used to be, and a deep-down void opens up.

Going through baby pictures of your kids. Those irresistibly rounded cheeks! Those big eyes! Those pudgy little hands! You marvel at how much (and how fast!) your children have changed – now they’re all knobby knees, gangly limbs, and huge teeth – and before you know it, the fever has taken hold. Because you CAN’T BE ALL OUT OF BABIES.

Being in the baby section at the store. You can avoid the infant and toddler sections like the plague, but inevitably, you’ll have to venture down aisle “baby fever hot zone” for a shower gift. And that’s when you’re faced with the clothes. The tiny sleepers and onesies. The miniscule socks. The itty-bitty shoes. If not that, the selection of pacifiers and bottles will do you in.

Seeing your significant other with babies. You get so used to seeing your spouse with your kids that you kinda forget how it was when you had a baby around. But then? You see them being endearing with someone else’s baby, and you start to miss that squishy, lovey feeling that only a co-parent can describe.

The Internet. Sure, it’s a treasure trove of hilarious memes and cute animal videos (oh yeah, and information), but the Internet can also be a dangerous breeding ground for baby fever. You’re scrolling through Facebook and bam! – you can’t help but click on that adorable gender reveal video. Or there it is in your Pinterest news feed: a pin from your photographer friend featuring poses for maternity and newborn pictures. Or you stumble across a blog post about pregnancy that’s so beautiful that you can’t help but miss those days. And let’s not even go into the gazillion photos your friends are posting of their peaceful, sleeping newborns. THEY LOOK LIKE ANGELS.

Actual babies. Probably the biggest trigger, this one goes without saying. Because breathing in their sweet baby smell, or cuddling them close and feeling their soft, fuzzy hair against your neck, or examining those impossibly teeny fingers and toes, can get the fever raging faster than almost anything else.

Baby fever is a serious condition that can strike with little to no warning. But here’s the good news: it’s easily curable. Just check the price of formula, or witness an unprovoked toddler meltdown, or catch a whiff of a poopy diaper, and your baby fever should subside as quickly as it hit. Left untreated, though, it can lead to nausea, swelling, and weight gain – also known as “pregnancy.”

Be careful out there.

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