When I was younger, I didn’t like babies. You had to hold them up and carry them around, and they never talked back when you spoke to them (I’ve always been big on the conversation) so what was the point? And they cried and you couldn’t do anything about it. Whenever someone asked if I wanted to hold their baby, I’d politely decline rather than risking the inevitable resulting crankiness. Truth be told, I was a little afraid of them, thinking that in their innocence they’d somehow see through my carefully constructed exterior to the real me.
All of this changed when my baby was born.
Okay, I don’t really have a baby. But my friends Sarah and Andy just had their first one, and I’m absolutely in love with him.
Maybe its because I think of Andy as my husband. In our group of college friends, Sarah has been coupled the longest and because they live in New York, Andy has always kinda been the collective husband of the remaining single women. He’s often the only man at our gatherings, carrying stuff and killing bugs as men are wont to do. Kind of like the only husband left in a group of widows, driving them all to the early-bird special. The joke is that if Sarah dies first, Andy will have to sleep with us and perform all spousal duties, so it will be like they’re still married.
But back to the baby – Nicholas, the sweetest baby in the world. He is one of the only babies I’ve ever held for a long time, and he’s very well behaved. Even when he cries, its still really not that annoying. He’ll stare at you with big blue eyes and you swear that he’s really listening to you when you talk to him. And I talk to him because it’s fun, and because you’re supposed to talk to babies so they learn language skills. I’ve had Nicholas fall asleep on my chest, and its awesome no matter who his parents are. I’d even change a diaper, if his parents weren’t so crunchy and “good” with their cloth diapers and saving the environment…seriously, you couldn’t pay me to carry around baby poop in some wad of cotton for an entire day. Pass the friggin’ Pampers and shut up about it. But I digress.
Anyway, I realized recently that what I used to think about babies and kids is right. They can see things in you, or they can sense things about you that you may not want to know. They don’t do bullshit, so there’s no snowing ‘em. If you’re uncomfortable or have some inner turmoil, they can sense it. These days I’m mostly turmoil-free. I wasn’t always happy with myself, and I’ve been through some rough shit and come out the back of it (so to speak) pretty well. And that’s really what my love affair with Nicholas is about: being open to another human, letting them see the real you, not being afraid to make a fool of yourself to make them laugh or teach them something. And that’s pretty great to me.
Now, I’m going upstairs to look at a sleeping baby.