blah blah babies gross blah
I was the tiniest bit concerned that Pete would try to make this thing with Pamela work just to. . . be done. And on some level, I told him, I would understand that.
“Yeah, but you are young. I’m old. You have time.”
“I know, I know. But I’m a girl, so I have a shorter shelf-life. And I don’t want to be one of those women who bores everyone by talking about her fertility treatments.”*
I have a few simple life goals: I never want to live in New Jersey, I never want to work in a cubicle, and I never, never want to become one of those crazy girls who’s just out to catch a husband.
But it doesn’t mean I don’t know how to think like a crazy girl.
I remember coming up with a formula while sitting in the backseat of someone’s car, rolling down Magazine Street. Evie was there, and we couldn’t have been more than twenty-one. Here’s how it went:
If I want the option of having babies by the time I’m 30,
It might take a year to make that happen. = 29
It makes sense to have two years of newlywed bliss before any of that nonsense. = 27
I’ll need to be engaged for a year to plan a dream wedding. = 26
I need to know someone for a year before I decide to marry him.
Therefore, I need to meet the boy I’m going to marry by the time I’m 25.
No one in the car could argue with this flawless logic. But if you aren’t willing to compromise your promise to yourself to not just marry someone because you know he’d do it, you could end up two years behind that schedule you made. At least two years. Two years at the barest minimum.
We couldn’t go to the beach because of the weather, so we went to the American Museum of Natural History. A museum with dinosaur bones and lots of animals on a rainy Saturday just before the start of the school year meant one thing-- the place was positively swarming with children.
It turns out we aren’t used to being around the below-the-knees set, and we kept having to catch each other by the arms to prevent the accidental backing over of toddlers.
We saw the whole museum, stopped for a cupcake break in the hallway, were generally mushy and gross, and (at least half of us) were alternately entranced by and trying to ignore the millions of babies.
In the whale room, a tiny girl (6 months old? 9 months old? A whole year maybe? I don’t know these things.) passed us in a stroller. Her hand was up, fingers splayed, and she was looking at Ted with liquid-blue eyes and a uterus-wrenching smile.
“Did she blow you a kiss?”
He half shrugged, “I made a face.”
Why am I even thinking about babies?
Babies. . . well. . . They mostly gross me out. First they’re a little person inside a regular person, which is gross like morning sickness and parasites and aliens. Then they’ve got to come out, which is gross like stretching and tearing and forget wearing your skinny jeans ever again. And then you’ve got a baby. . . for. . . forever. Which is a long time. And that’s gross like diapers and making plans for a sitter and college funds.
And what would I even do with one if I had one? I’m not just talking about where would I put it (though Ted insists that his parents kept him in a drawer), but what would I do with it. When I tried to hold my new baby cousin, his sister, 7 years old at the time, laughed at me because I looked so funny and because he just wouldn’t stop crying. “Maybe you should get a pillow,” she told me, “He might like a little more cushion.” It was a two-pronged jab at my lack of both baby-holding skills and any bosom to speak of.
So it’s possible that I don’t want any babies at all. But I’d like to keep my options open.
*For the record: I would never actually use any sort of fertility treatment. Expensive, invasive, and leaving you at risk of never being able to remember all the names or own any normal sort of car (John and Kate - style), I think that fertility treatments are unnecessary given the number of children already out there looking for parents.