Fun with Babies

I’ve never been much a baby person.  Toddlers?  Yes!  Preschoolers?  Yes!  Moody teenagers?  Yes.  (So long as it’s only in small doses and there’s plenty of alcohol nearby.)  But babies?  Babies scare me.


This is why, when TWD invited me to join his college friends for a party last week, I started to get a bit nervous.  Whereas my college friends are still mostly in the “getting married” phase, TWD’s college friends are in the “having babies” phase.

And they have like a million babies between them.

Okay, only four actually, plus three assorted toddlers and preschoolers, but between all of the diaper bags and mechanized rockers and car seats and vibrating chairs, it felt like a million.

It probably doesn’t help that I am also a bit afraid of TWD’s friends.  They all speak Spanish (and I don’t, at least not well), they’re all married (and I’m not), they all have kids (and I don’t) and they’ve all known each other forever.  Even though they’re nice, I still feel like the odd man out most of the time.

Normally, whenever I find myself feeling awkward in a social situation (which is pretty much all the time, regardless of whether we’re around TWD’s friends or mine) I attach myself to the nearest pet/preschooler and go to town.  Pets and preschoolers love me.  But babies?  Babies are an entirely different matter.

I’m always afraid I’m going to break them, or drop them, or get spit up on by them.  And I make lots of rookie mistakes like wearing long necklaces and earrings around them, or absentmindedly holding them near my breasts when it’s feeding time and then recoiling in horror when decide they’re hungry.

But TWD is so good with babies.

It’s really kind of sexy actually.

So when he plopped himself down in the middle of the fray and grabbed a kid, I decided to follow suit.

Not right away of course—the twins in the mechanized rockers on either side of the living room were giving me motion sickness—but eventually I put down my wine and helped myself to a baby.

I know a few of the basics: support their heads, make silly faces, don’t give them scissors, put some sort of spit-up guard between your shirt and their mouth, etc.  But I’m always surprised by how durable babies actually are.  TWD was bouncing his baby all over the place, so I started bouncing mine.  But then my arms got tired.  Bouncing is hard work.  So when TWD laid his baby down in his lap, I squeezed my legs together to make a temporary baby platform and did the same.

That is when it fell asleep.

(When I used the word “it” in relaying this story to my mother, she laughed and said “It?  You are definitely not ready to have a baby.”)

Still, I couldn’t quite believe my eyes.  “It” was bouncing around one minute, then out cold the next.  For a minute I thought I might have done something wrong but then “it’s” mother came by, laughed and said, “I hope you don’t have to go to the bathroom any time soon.”

Luckily I did not.

Still, this is why I’m pretty sure that I should just adopt a toddler (a potty-trained toddler preferably) when the time comes.

10 Responses to “Fun with Babies”

  1. becky119

    Ok, awesome post. It’s fun to hear someone else’s perspective on babies. Me, I’ve been around kids my whole life. I was eight when my baby sister was born and I had so much fun playing with her. She was like a doll, but real…and when she got too fussy I could just give her back.

    I remember the first time I was holding a baby and cradling her in my arms and next thing I know, she was trying to get some lunch outta me. I’ll admit, even for a baby-lover such as myself, that freaked me out. Really entertaining post though.

    Just so you know, I think you should write posts every day again. That way I have something to read while I eat my morning bagel!!

  2. Laurie

    Even though I wanted kids, planned for kids, and looked forward to being a mother, I still had no clue how having a baby would make me feel. It can not be put into words. When it is your turn, believe me, you will know what to do, and you will be so deeply in love that words will fail you (if you can believe that). It also astonished me that the period of babyhood, before language and crawling occur, was such a rich period of communication. Babies do not just eat and sleep. They are in a constant state of wonder, learning and expressing themselves in the most elegant, direct ways imaginable. It was an unexpected shock that when they started talking I found our communication actually lessened.

    BTW, I am in Portland now, visiting with Solomon. My adorable and oh-so-quiet baby (n contrast to the other one) is now 6’2″, blacksmithing, sailing, scuba diving, and still communicating with me beautifully. I am so glad that you go to play with a baby, and then let the little one stay asleep in your lap. You will be a great mom when the time comes!

    • Kat Richter

      6’2″??? When did that happen? I feel really old now. Enjoy Portland! I imagine this time of year is super beautiful up there 🙂

  3. Landlord

    Ha, ha “it”…and the apple doesn’t fall far, I did the same thing in new social situations, give me the animals or the toddlers/preschoolers–waaaaaay easier than the babies, even now, although at least now I can handle the babies. Beautifully said though, Laurie.

  4. DetroitFamilyFun

    Hysterical!! I felt the exact same way until one day at 35 my biological clock’s alarm went off and I HAD to be a mommy. I’m not even being funny, it was weird! My parents, my friends, even my husband all thought I was joking when I announced I was “ready”. Thankfully they were HAPPILY surprised and a few years later we welcomed our little bundle into our world. One note though, this gig is THE most difficult job I’ve ever done… I’ve traveled to hundreds of places, sold to thousands of people, managing, hiring and firing even more for respected companies and NONE of it was this difficult. Even though I love it, I can still barely keep one baby alive… Ha ha!!

  5. Jennie Saia

    This made me laugh – especially the Georgie B. photo! I am the youngest child in my family, and had NO experience with babies or kids until my niece and nephew came along. I’m cool with babies now – I can change a diaper, and what are they gonna throw at me that’s worse than that? – but kids around age 4 mildly terrify me. They’re so smart and blunt and bouncing off the walls, and I have NO idea what to do with them.

    Also, my husband refers to people’s children as their “spawn.” So we’re not ready to have babies, either. 😉

  6. Heather

    Yeah, that’s what happened when I went to help out with my friend’s triplets for the afternoon. The one girl fell asleep in my lap. It’s good to take the small steps. But I always feel like I’m that girl photographed at 14, holding her cousin’s baby in her arms and not moving from the uncomfortable position for like 3 hours. At least this way, if you mess up and they cry, their mama is right around the corner!

  7. charlypriest

    Had a laugh, I thought you where going to drop the little thing.As the only male in this conversation I should add that babies are cool to play around with, for a couple of hours and drunk as a skunk, if I get a swift of a smelly bottom I just sprint for the hills. Not to difficult.

  8. Claire Duffy

    Awesome post! I’m a bit the same – toddlers I’m all over, but babies can be… unpredictable. You’ll make a silly face or bounce it one time and it laughs, the next time it screams like you tried to murder it and you have to awkwardly hand it back to the parent, muttering, “I didn’t try to murder it, honest.”


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