So, I’m 40, but somehow I still have a ton of friends who keep having babies. Left and right, they’re cranking them out faster than my ten-year-old makes friendship bracelets. Every time anyone posts a picture of their adorable little chubby baby on social media, there invariably follows about 100 comments from other women proclaiming they have “baby fever” or that their “ovaries are exploding” or that they are going to “steal that baby.” Some even announce their desire to eat said baby. You guys. HUH?
I had baby fever for about two minutes with each of my kids. Like, from the moment I hoped I would get pregnant to the moment I actually did get pregnant. After that, I was pretty much all set with babies. Yes, even when my babies were actually babies. Not that I didn’t love them or anything. Obviously I love my kids, and I loved them when they were babies too — I have video of myself flapping my arms and squealing like a pig because my baby son, like, clapped or something. And I admit that a toddler who has just learned to walk is probably the cutest fucking thing ever to have been produced by the universe. And there is literally no better sound than a baby’s laugh. I’m not a total psychopath.
But y’all, babies are so much fucking work. They sleep extremely odd hours, they eat like 52 times per day and shit at least that much (sometimes literally up to their neck), and they want to hang all over you all the fucking time. I’m a person who enjoys my alone time. I don’t love being touched and grabbed by tiny fingers. I like sleep. Have you ever slept eight hours straight before? Pretty great, right?
Also, ironically, considering how much fucking work they are, babies are unbelievably boring. Yes, they’re outrageously cute, but after the first ten minutes hanging out with them, it kind of feels like, Okay, what the hell are we supposed to do now? We’ve already exhausted every fun thing we could possibly do together, Baby. Shall we do a crossword together or perhaps watch a documentary?
But no. Babies cannot do crosswords and they don’t care about documentaries, usually. They only care about milk and objects that have starkly contrasting colors. They are terrible conversationalists. They know like, four words, if that. How do you have a conversation with someone who only knows like four words?
So, yeah, I really don’t get the baby fever thing. In fact, every stage that my kids have entered has been my favorite, after babyhood. I admit, when they were babies, I thought the baby stage was my favorite stage. But that’s because motherhood does really weird things to you. It makes you love in really gross ways you never imagined possible. But once my babies outgrew their stupid boring baby stage, I realized there were some incredible experiences in store for us, like sleep, two-way conversation, and them being able to do things for themselves. Or even, do things for me. I haven’t folded laundry in five years. Babies can’t fold laundry, guys.
I had my kids because I wanted kids, not babies. And though I did love their baby stages while I was actually trapped in that stage and because I didn’t know any better because hormones are sorcery, every stage since the baby stage has been my real, honest-to-goodness favorite. For example, the stage my kids were in two years ago was definitely my favorite stage, but the stage they’re in now is my new favorite. If you ask me a year from now, that stage will probably be my favorite.
My son is 13, and though 13 definitely comes with its share of teenage melodrama, I marvel every day at how fucking … human this kid is. He has an actual entire personality, which is just insane to me because 13 years ago, when he was a baby, he didn’t have much personality at all, unless crying five hours a day is a personality. But now he’s this quirky, smart, kind, funny kid, and holy shit he plays piano by ear. This human being whose head used to be slightly cone-shaped due to the amount of time it spent lodged in my vaginal canal, who now is almost as tall as me, can sit at a piano and make music come out of it. What?! This is a zillion times funner than a baby.
It’s the same with my ten-year-old. She has got to be one of the most compassionate human beings I know, almost to a fault. She will probably be the type to get “baby fever,” actually; she’s that sweet. Lately she’s been teaching herself magic tricks with cards, and this just absolutely fascinates me. Like, here is this half-grown human who used to be a fucking zygote inside me and is now making the conscious choice to take time out of her day to delve into the intricacies of card counting and shuffling, with a patience I am a hundred percent sure I could never drum up for myself. Babies are cute, but my ten-year-old does fucking card tricks and makes up her own jokes. What even is this miracle?
I used to worry that my lack of baby obsession made me weird, that it meant there was something missing in my womanly makeup. I thought that as a woman I was supposed to have this deep, nurturing drive that should ooze form my pores every time I saw a baby. But I’ve decided that one’s propensity for ovary explosions upon sight of the two-and-under crowd exists on a spectrum like everything else that makes us who we are, and I’m not sorry about it.
I love being with my kids. I like hanging out with them, actually look forward to it, in a way I never looked forward to hanging out with them when they were babies. I loved my babies with all my soul, absolutely, but I dreaded the long, monotonous days of diaper changing, breastfeeding, and mindless baby babble. There were plenty of moments of pure bliss, but there was also an astonishing amount of dear-god-when-will-this-day-be-over boredom.
So, yes, when I see a cute baby, I definitely have “Oh my god that baby is so cute” feelings. Like I said, not a complete psychopath. But I never, ever feel the urge to have my own baby again or even to like … babysit. I mean, I totally would babysit, for a friend, if necessary, but, friends, if I ever babysit your baby I am sorry to say I will be faking interest in them after the first hour, no matter how cute they are, and that is the God’s honest truth.