Oh Baby Oh Baby Oh Baby


I've told myself for years that I'm terrified of children. I've told others, too. I've often prayed to be sterile, especially after reading Savvymom's or FoxyJ's blogs sometimes. Recently, as co-chair of my ward service board, I was responsible for organizing a huge babysitting event where parents with one or more developmentally challenged children could drop off all their children at an elementary school and enjoy an evening out. I talked to the girl in my ward who was part of this babysitting organization and explained to her that children terrified me. She told me that she'd stick me with the oldest group.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed myself. The children really weren't as scary as I thought they would be, and as long as I pushed them on this ride, they were all my best friends.

Later, I went to Maryland and had the opportunity to babysit the fraternal triplets of my mom's visiting teachee. Again, I was surprised at how enjoyable it was. Granted, they were all perfectly behaved, so I'm sure that helps. Also, my mom was there and she did all the diaper changing and tending to physical needs. I just got to do the entertaining. I sang all the verses to this really long French folk song and they all just stopped what they were doing and stared at me for the whole song.

I guess that's about all I have to say about it. I think my attitude towards children is changing slowly the more I'm exposed to them. Now, I don't think I'd be ready for a calling to the Nursery (like Nemesis) quite yet, but at least for the moment, I'm not praying for sterility.

17 comments:

FoxyJ said...

My mom still teases me about how when I was five or so I came in to the kitchen and announced that I never wanted to get married or have babies because it was too much work. I've never liked kids very much or felt comfortable around them. And I never really planned on or wanted to get married and have a family. As a teenager I avoided babysitting like the plague. The truth is, even though I love and adore my own child, I still don't like other people's kids very much. I have a hard time liking them, even my own neices and nephews (I hope no one in my family is reading your comments). I've been in Primary for nearly two years now and I still am not a huge fan of kids. Life works out in funny ways sometimes. I think I should start learning to like kids so God will stop sticking me in Primary.

amyjane said...

You're funny. I always loved babies and kids but the sixth graders in the spring always tax that adoration quite severely.
If you ever need another opportunity to like a baby, you can always come watch Patrick. All of our baby sitters get bent out of shape cause he sleeps the whole time (kid goes down at 6:30). That'll give you hope!

M. Paul Bailey said...

I really look forward to having kids, but not babies. Babies do not interest me at all. I don't enjoy cooing nor do I enjoy baby talk. I look forward to having kids so that I can talk to them and mentor/teach them. Babies seem more like a toy. You don't seem to communicate with babies so much as play with them. The whole thing just frightens me.

Squirrel Boy said...

I was sort of the same way, Cicada; I never prayed for sterility or anything like that, but I was always vaguely terrified of the idea of having children.

But then a brief stint in the nursery and a couple of babysitting experiences started to change that. I'm still a little scared at the thought that in about a month, we'll have one of our own, but at least I know that Brinestone is good with kids, so I think we'll be alright.

Cicada said...

FoxyJ: My mom says that it'll be completely different when I have my own kids. She said that she was never one to seek out children either growing up, and she doesn't try to hold other people's babies. So I think it'll be the same for me where I love and adore my own child but I still won't be in love with others' children.

AmyJane: You are a school teacher, so there has to be love of children in there somewhere. People assume that because I'm an English major, I want to become a teacher. I leave that profession to people like you who have a gift of not hating children.

MPB: I realized something when I was writing this post that I didn't share, but I should share it now. In thinking about my triplet babysitting experience, I realized that one reason babies make me uncomfortable is the cooing and the baby talk that I'm expected to do. I feel too self conscious talking like that or acting like that. However, this last experience was different because I was with my mom, who I'm always comfortable around no matter what, so when I cooed and did the babytalk, I didn't feel so stupid. I guess my realization was that I just didn't like other people seeing me coo and do babytalk. Not that I'm saying that's your problem---just that I realized it was mine.

ASB: I still can't believe you're going to be a dad so soon! You're going to give the baby my name, right? Because ultimately I'm responsible for you and Brinestone being together? Right? Because of the curly hair?

Th. said...

.

I don't coo or babytalk. For pity's sake, treat the baby like an adult!

Eternal Youth of Antiquity said...

Be glad you're not in my ward! I realize it's a married ward...but it seems like every week in Relief Society there's at least one new pregnancy announced, a baby shower announced, and an "it's a girl or boy" comment...there will soon be at least 5 new baby girls in our ward...at the moment I'm very glad to be left out of the commotion!

Brinestone said...

I've always loved kids, but ever since I've been pregnant, I cannot stand other people's baby boys. Baby girls are still okay, but I end up SO annoyed at all the young male children around me.

I'm thinking it's me getting attached to my own son-to-be, but I worry sometimes it's a subconscious way of my fear of the responsibility of parenthood expressing itself.

Squirrel Boy said...

Cicada: We're, um, considering it. Yeah. Although I'm also quite attached to Rowan. Maybe we'll use yours as the middle name. And if this were a forum, this is where I'd insert this guy.

marriedin said...

I hate cooing. You forgot one OH BABY!

Cicada said...

Marriedin: Would the fourth Oh Baby be for me? Because I don't know if I'm allowed to say that about myself... But let's face it---it's true.

Limon said...

I have always loved kids. Something about the simplicity, sincerity, and innocence. Just last night I was at a friend's party and one of the twin infants (among about ten kids under 5) was very grouchy and wouldn't stop crying.

She got pawned off on me and I sang Maria from West Side Story until she fell asleep. They said I have the golden touch.

Then I charged them 10 dollars for the half hour I wasted with their brat.

M. Paul Bailey said...

My problem with cooing and baby talking is not feeling stupid myself. Rather, I find it very condescending. The childhood period for humans is so much longer than any other animal. Heck it's also longer now than it has ever been for humans in our own past. I believe that we force children to remain children, because we don't like the alternative. We surround children with childish things and try to insulate them for experiences because we want them to stay children forever. We're afraid to let children play by themselves. We always have to monitoring them rather than letting them go off by themselves and discover the world without the structure of adult overseers.

Now how does this all apply to baby talk and cooing? I had a friend who said she could remember when she was a child and people would talk down to her. She hated it. She wanted to be talked to as a human being, not talked over. I really took that to heart and have tried to talk to children as I would an adult. I have had wonderful experiences where I was able to have very interesting mutually-educational conversations with children because I was willing to rather than drop to their level, bring them up to mine.

Of course, no one is going to have a deep conversation with a baby who is still mastering the art of making simple sounds. But I think my hatred for cooing and baby-talk to adolescents transfers to babies, causing me to hate the whole enterprise.

M. Paul Bailey said...

I have one more thing related to my last comment. My friend has a little sister who has the most remarkable vocabulary. It's amazing talking to her. She lives with her parents in a very secluded area. So the only interaction she has is with her family and with people at church on Sunday. Her parents are educated and do not talk down to her. As a result, she has a very elevated vocabulary.

My favorite example is that she does not use the word "fart." For all I know, she doesn't know the meaning of the word. Instead, she uses the word "flatulate."

Cicada said...

From what I've heard, studies have been done, and the development of the child is not affected by the absence or presence of cooing and baby talk. Except in the case of your friend, obviously...

As far as babytalk goes, I don't think I could ever bring myself to say something like, "Habudabudaboo! Habudabudaboo!" to a baby, in front of my mom or otherwise.

When I was babysitting the children in the elementary school, there was a guy who reminded me a lot of you who I heard say, "You are an autistic genious!" to one of the children. I guess the truth never, ever hurts. If they're autistic, just say it as you see it. If they're an autistic genious, even better!

M. Paul Bailey said...

I agree, I don't think that baby-talk and cooing are the problem. I believe they are a symptom of the problem. In other words, I believe that the relationship between baby-talk and childishness is correlary not causal.

Then again, this is based completely on circumstantial evidence rather than anything scientific. For all I know it's all caused by flouride in our drinking water. The one thing I do know is that I don't like the way condescending to children makes me feel.

For the record, I called the kid an "artistic genious." In any case, he was Aryan not autistic.

Cicada said...

I can definitely agree that it's correlary and not causal, and I have to state here for the record that causal is one of my favorite words. I don't know why. I just get giddy every time I see it.

And good point about the Aryan and not autistic kid, Bic.