Saturday, June 23, 2007

Listen Here, You Trendy Little Monkey

I went to my friends baby shower today. It was a nice day. It was a nice shower. It was for a nice baby on the way who will be a boy once he decides it is time to exit the mama.

Aside from my friend, I knew no one else, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, every single one of them knew the husband. You see, my friend works with the husband as do most of her friends, so I found myself in more than one conversation about how "Everybody Loves The Husband"! I am used to this. I also enjoy this. It's great to know that your husband is loved by friends and strangers alike. It really is a nice feeling. They also mentioned how much he talks about moi, so it gives me even more warm fuzzies to know that I am as important to him as he is to me. It should be that way. And I'm all the more lucky for it. I know this.

Anyhow, not to dismiss the love of the husband, but to get back on track, I understand that I'm at a baby shower where baby talk will commence forthwith. Immediately. I don't have a baby. I've never had a baby. Unless you count the times I've borrowed a baby from others that paid me to watch theirs. I have extensive experience in this area including paid summer trips to the great lobster state to babysit three children and their friends for over a period of 4 summers. Sometimes the count of such children & friends would reach a total of 16. Sixteen wee leetol one's running around wrecking havoc at some point or another. With a number like that, and in most states, I would have been considered a teacher of some sorts or old mother hubbard who lived in a shoe. . . . Um. . . . Okay. Whatever. I don't have a baby and can't be held accountable for not knowing nursery rhymes. Okay?

Anyway, the point is that I was mostly surrounded by those who already have babies. Some recently, some about ready to and some years ago. I love this! I love hearing baby stories sans the birthing legends. You can keep those to yourselves (this reminds me of a previous life experience, but we'll save that for another blog entry for another time). All this to say, this doesn't mean I want a baby. Just because I love baby stories, does not necessarily entice me to having a baby of my very own to share with the husband. At least not now. Trust me, I seriously comprehend that I. am. not. getting. any. younger. I mean, duh.

But the thing is (and the point to this whole post), is that I never really know what to say to a complete stranger (per say they are a stranger to me because I've just met them within the last 15 minutes of my life) who then proceeds to ask me when the husband and I are going to have a baby ourselves? And just like that, I'm silenced into my own little world of make believe where things are pretty and soft; where I gently rock myself back and forth while covering my ears; reminding myself "I'm okay. I'm okay. I'm okay."

You need to understand that when I am in a roomful of women who have, who had, about to have or who desperately want a baby I. am. blasphemous. for saying in the most quiet, civilized, affable and thoughtful voice I know, "I . . . I . . . . don't know if we are going to have a baby. . . ." [holy thunder from God Himself] it is at that point when a collective, "haaaauhmph!" hits you with full force upside your head. Everyone covers their mouths in horror followed by dead silence. And then 100 questions follow as to why, who will take care of you when you are old and decrepit, what makes you not want children, how on earth can you not want babies, where do you come from that you wouldn't want a baby, etc., etc., etc. . . . It is as if the Venus just fell out of alignment with the rest of the planets and is making a course right for our heavenly earth. This is the reaction I usually receive. I can count on it. Which means this type of social interaction can be a bit unnerving for me. It's like I just took a spork and stabbed myself in my left eye in front of the entire group while it continues leaking down my face pooling at my cleverly designer stilettoed feet. I become an instant leper. So, while I like, appreciate and cherish baby showers, I always get a tiny bit nervous when having to face the [group] piper.


Alli said...

I completely understand!!! But thankfully it is nice to have others in the same boat. We don't plan on having children, and I get the same responses that you get. "But who will take care of you when you are old???" Ummm...that is not a reason to have children, people! Right?

My best friend & the hubby's best friend aren't having children either. So, we just plan on all getting old together & vacation together. ;) Y'all can join us! :)

Don't get me wrong, I like babies and children...I love my nephews, but I don't want any of my own. I'm too selfish. :) Plus, my pets are my kids. heehee

Godiva Jen said...

I should say, I'm not opposed to having babies, it's just I'm not dying to do so. We both have the philosophy that if it happens, it happens; if it doesn't, it doesn't. If we never have a baby, we are okay with that. If we do, we are okay with that too.

I just don't like having to explain that to a roomful of people I barely know. Inevitably someone asks, "but are you on birth control, b/c you know . . . ." Duh, people. I know the odds of me getting preggers are slim to none on such measures. I'm married to the husband who knows more about that schtuff than normal individuals. . . .

It's just very odd to me that people I've only met feel inclined (comfortable enough) to ask such a deeply personal question(s). Old friends and good friends are exempt - I don't mind if they ask me these questions. They're my friends. But strangers ? ? ? Not so much.

Anonymous said...

You can steal my line:
"when are you guys having kids?"
"I dunno, but we're having fun practicing."

You can then add a sneaky wink, if you feel so inclined.


Alli said...

Good one IAN!!!

Godiva Jen said...

. . . .very interesting response. I may just steal that one and add the sneaky wink.

Definitely good advice!

Vikki said...

I think it's a very insensitive question to ask anyone "When are you going to have a baby?". I have friends who have been trying unsuccessfully for years and they get very upset. I think that it boils down to people feeling the need to have their lifestyle choice verified by having as many people as possible doing the same thing. I can completely understand why anyone might not want to have children. I often think that if I had not been the first of my friends to get pregnant and had seen what it's really like to be a Mum I wouldn't have done it!! People may be being a bit negative towards you because secretly they are jealous of you. Stick to your guns and be honsest and tell then to mind their own business. Another trick is to answer the question by saying "Actually I've had 13 miscarriages" and watch their faces fall. Maybe it might make them think twice in future.
Another question nobody should ever ask: "When is your baby due?" This happened to me in a Stornoway nightclub on 1/1/00. I answered honestly "4 months ago, I'm just still fat".

Ian said...

Yes, very dangerous question, I learned that night, thankfully through someone else's mistake, that you never ask that question unless you are 100% sure the answer is going to be sometime in the next 9 months.

Godiva Jen said...

Vikki: You are right, it is such a deeply personal question. The reasons to or not have are also deeply personal. I will tell my friends why, but I don't want to discuss such things with strangers.

My parents are fully aware for why I think the way I do, even if it doesn't make sense to anybody else, and they completely respect our choices.

I even had a friend once continually ask me why, why, why I did not want to have babies. She knew the answer to that, but continued to badger me, which I thought became a bit unreasonable. I believe your explanation as to why she did so was on the mark, Vikki ---> b/c she was looking for her own verification or even permission from us that it's okay to have kids if we do.

mindy said...

The only time I ever ask someone this is when they comment on the fact that I'm perpetually single:

Newly married person or someone in long-term relationship: "So, still single, huh? Don't you want to get married sometime?"

Me: "We'll see. So, when are you planning on having a baby?"

I figure 2 wrongs make a right. Or wait...maybe that's not the saying. Anyway, the point is I only ask when provoked. I feel I earn it then. :-)

You guys have a zoo anyway - those are your babies!

Jason said...

Next time here are a couple of responses to the "Why on earth not?" question:

A1: B/c I'm not a totally genetically-narcisistic fuck, that's why.

A2: We keep trying, but the temptation of sodomy just keeps pulling us back before we can seal the deal (which is now legal in TX!)

A3: Eh. Been there, done that. Next story (watch the eery silence follow....)

Tink said...

I get that all the time! Grrr.

In fact, I've developed a list of answers in my head for that very question. Feel free to borrow:

"When are you and --- going to have a baby?"

1. "When I'm rich."
2. "I'm not sure I can spare the sanity right now."
3. "I figured I'd wait awhile and just pop out a five year old instead."
4. "We're practicing with animals first. As soon as we can keep a Gerbil alive for more than two days..."

ETK said...

I always stop the "why aren't you having children" questions with a very deadpan/serious:
"I hate children".

That usually shuts them up. But, if it doesn't I follow up with an "I'm really selfish and don't want to share my money with them either".

That does it without fail. Now, the thing is - I do actually feel this way. I kind of like other people's kids, and kids generally like me - but my tolerance is about 10 minutes. Then I'm just annoyed.

You can always start a conversation about all the people that have kids that shouldn't be having them too. :) That's a good conversation.

Godiva Jen said...

Mindy: I'm with you, sistah! Ask and you shall receive. . . SNARKYNESS in all its G*d given glory. Love it!

Jason: once more, you astound me with laughter. Is Texas in your future plans?

Tink: Love that you're back in your small drinking village with a fishing problem! My daily smiles will now be taken care of. In taking your advice, I think I need some hamsters to add to the menagerie. . .

ETK: love, love, LOVE the hate! We'd lose out on all the couture bags and shoes if we had to share, for shoo!