Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oh Baby, Baby

While attending an adult function recently (no whining children running around), a lovely childless lady, just a few years younger than myself, expressed her concern about not having any children.

Put it this way; she's over 40 and her biological clock is in overdrive.

I'm lucky. This is one area that I don't have to agonize over. As a matter of fact I don't have to agonize over it, times 3.

"Oooooh, I just loooove looking at adorable, baby clothes." She cooed. "They're so cute and I just loooove them!"

I tried not to cringe.

"What if I'm missing out on something? If I never have children, how will I know?"

What does one say to someone in this delicate situation?

I can tell you what I'd could say.

Well, first of all, your adorable infant will outgrow those cute baby clothes while it is actually wearing them. (Envision the Incredible Hulk as an infant).

Even if the adorable baby clothes don't split at the seams, they'll be worthless after the one time they're worn anyway, as I don't believe a detergent has been invented that truly removes baby poop and puke.

So much for that fun.

A quick trip to the store? Packing up all the necessary gear involved in any trip with a baby (half an hour), The baby's hungry (45 minutes), taking a nap (hopefully 2 hours), suffering from colic? (too many hours). Maybe tomorrow.

Then you get to worry about the Well Baby visits to the pediatrician (something like 16 visits a month, I swear), which involves an ungodly amount of vaccinations, your child doesn't seem to fit into any standard, government, percentile growth charts, and you're left shaking with fear that your bundle of joy is somehow lacking.

You can be guaranteed that your child will spike a fever of 104, at five past five on the one Friday night that you and your spouse decide to 'leave the baby with grandma' and instead, you spend your entire Friday evening in the emergency room.

They are only terrible two's if you allow them to be. Who's the boss here anyway.

You find out at your child's parent-teacher conference, that he's 'not motivated' and this is in the first grade! Be prepared to hear this for the next eleven years.

You don't want your child to miss out on anything that might keep him/her from leading a successful life so you end up shuttling children to and from: dance classes, hockey practices, ball games, and recitals. If you have more than one child you can be guaranteed, that their events will occur simultaneously and at different ends of the city.

Be prepared to do this shuttling on your own as your spouse has better things to do (golf and/or visiting Mom).

Speaking of money (weren't we?) none the aforementioned activities mentioned above are free. Let's see; dance recital outfits for your budding ballerina cost appoximately $75.oo each and guess what!? She's in 3 separate dance sequences (for about a grand total of 3 minutes, you do the math!).
Your hockey playing son's team can't be bothered to play with the local teams. NO! They have to go out of town every weekend and play with kids who also can't be bothered to play with their own local teams. Let's see; hotel room for two nights, breakfast lunch and dinner for 2 days, hockey fees.... Again, you do the math.

After all of this running around, along with working a full time job, you're supposed to have time for laundry, scrubbing bathrooms, sweeping, monitoring homework (who's done theirs and who's lying about having done theirs), packing lunches, and sex (what's that?).

Adolescence rears its ugly head and communication with your surly child grinds to a halt. Your son slouches about and speaks in monosylables. Your daughter 'talks' in ear splitting decibles and you wished she spoke in monosylables.

Two seconds after having turned sixteen, your child will clutch in sweaty teenage palms, a drivers license. And if you didn't get a full nights sleep when they were infants, you will never get a full nights sleep now.

Your son, who sleeps until noon (why couldn't he have done that as an infant?) now only converses with you in grunts, will mindlessly drive around with his pimply faced friends doing God knows what, and you'll find yourself scanning the local newspapers daily for mention of unsolved teenage vandalism.

Your shrieking daughter will drive around with her shrieking friends, and will arrive home at any given time with scuffed bumpers, dented fenders, and for the grand finale she will total your car. "It wasn't my fault!" (Black ice in July? I don't think so).

Then the magical day occurs.

The baby is off to college. (For sanity's sake I won't go into the college choosing process).

Baby can't wait to live the college experience. Finally, Baby will be acknowledged for the adult that he/she is. Intellectual conversations will abound! Freedom to live on their own (with your money) will be unlimited.

As for you, you breath a huge sigh of relief. You've done your job, your baby is out of the nest, and except for college loans you're pretty much done with this parenting thing.

And then your child, your child with the gifted IQ, your child who couldn't wait to be on her own, will burst into hysterical tears (after just one semester), in the middle of the family Christmas dinner to announce that "College isn't for me!"

And that's when you realize that being a parent is forever. You are serving a life sentence. When you're ninety, you're going to worry about your children and there's no getting around it.

And that's it.

Parenting is not for the weak.

And it's tough enough to go through when you're relatively young but I don't want to spend my IRA on college when I should be enjoying MY retirement.

That's what I could have said.

But I didn't.

I have a wicked sense of humor.


Angelia said...

I think our sons must know each other... how else would they both know how to speak with grunting...

I have a friend who's about 2 yrs younger and childless.. I asked her if her and her husband were planning to have kids... she responded "probably not, I'm selfish and like to do things when 'I' want to do them, go when 'I' want to go. A child doesn't really fit into that"

I love my son... but I still said "smart girl"

I did stop at 1 though.... 3 Laura!!!???!!!

Katie Alender said...

Stuff like this is why our venture into parenting keeps getting pushed back "one more year". And that's one more year than the "maybe in a couple years" we tell people when they ask.

We're just planning to put it off long enough that we can have a day nanny and a night nanny. And they can both work until the children are out of college.

(BTW, the thing you're talking about, where the kids get sick as you're leaving town? Winston does that.)