Confession: I'm not really a baby person. Are you?
September 14, 2010
© Courtesy of Erin Zammett Ruddy
OK, there’s something I need to get off my chest today. Over the weekend—and over some drinks—I told a bunch of friends that I am not a baby person. Despite being what I like to think is a good mother and loving my kids unconditionally, I’m just not gaga for babies. My friends—none of them mothers yet—all kind of chuckled and looked at me like I was crazy for a minute. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with me at all. Let me explain…
Babies are amazing miracles and anyone who is able to have one is incredibly lucky and should cherish every second they have with that baby. This is how I felt—and continue to feel—with both Alex and Nora. But I just don’t have the gravitational pull toward them that some women have. And I have no interest in holding other people’s babies unless it’s to give them a break (i.e., I’m happy to help a mother out, and totally capable, but holding other babies for sport? Not my thing). I think it has something to do with the fact that when they’re really new and tiny they kind of freak me out. I like to marvel at them, sure, and talk to new moms about their birth experience and how the baby is sleeping and share any tricks I might have or pick up any I could use, etc. But when I visit friends who’ve just given birth I don’t usually ask to hold the baby. I ask a million questions and look and ooh and ahh but I don’t feel the need to snatch them away and snuggle. I wonder if they take offense? When people came to visit Nora I would always say, “Do you want to hold her? You totally don’t have to, I will not be offended, babies are weird, but I didn’t want you think I had a problem with handing her over!”
My mother is a bona fide baby person. She can’t be in the room with a baby without wanting to hold it (she’s not weird and grabby though). My sister is too. They could sit for hours holding a baby, any baby. And they don’t panic when they start to cry. If you’re a new mom at a party and want to relax, they’re your girls. And a friend at Glamour was such a baby freak that she could sense if someone was stepping off the elevator with one—she’d beeline to hold the baby and coo at the baby and love, love, love the baby (babies all love her too, which I suppose makes sense).
Please don’t confuse my not being a “baby person” with not liking babies. It’s different. And of course I love holding my own babies, but even with them, I prefer the experience when they’re a little bigger. Once they start holding up their heads and cooing and focusing and getting a little meat on their bones, I get more into it. I could play with/stare at/hug and kiss Nora all day without getting tired. She’s like my little toy. (Look at her in that picture--how could I not be obsessed?!) But she’s eight months old now and almost walking. Hardly the scrawny alien baby she once was. And toddlers? Little kids? Fughettaboutit. Game on. Love. Of course when I start thinking that Nora might be our last, I do long for the days when she was just a little peanut snuggled up on my chest and not the fast-crawling, stair-climbing, into-everything over-achiever that she's become. Last night I let her fall asleep in my arms and sat with her in her room just staring at her and listening to her little sounds and wondering how the heck she’s grown up so fast. But I could give her a squeeze and big kisses and I didn't feel like I was going to break her--and I like that feeling.
So there you have it: I am not really a baby person. Do I think babies are cute and special and amazing and can I understand why some people go ga ga for them? Absolutely. I’m just not one of them. What about you?