How are babies born with such incredible cunning? Seriously, if they could talk, I would appreciate it if they would enlighten me. It really matters little what species it may be – there’s a huge scam going on and I think it needs some exposure.
For reasons that I can only attribute to fantastic visits from the karma truck, I happen to have had the most beautiful babies in the world – probably in any other world too. I had to negotiate with the nurses to hold them (this was before babies roomed with their moms, so I’m dating myself). When I was getting my first born dressed to go home, two nurses came in and asked me if I was taking ‘their baby’. This filled me with a reasonable amount of confusion for a) I was there and awake when he was born and felt certain that he was mine and b) I wondered if this meant that they were going to come visit. I decided immediately that if they ever came knocking, I would pretend we weren’t home.
My second son was very anxious to come into the world, despite my insistence that he was fine where he was and encouragement to stay put. So he arrived six weeks early, fully ready physically to be here, but in a lousy mood. Regardless of his reaction to this decision, he was eighteen inches long and a tiny round bundle of complete perfection. Because he was a preemie, the competition between the nurses and I was fierce. I admit to eyeing them with some suspicion and distrust. It was fine for them to check his vitals – then they needed to withdraw and find someone else’s baby to coo over.
I met my third when he was three and a half, and in this instance I must give credit to his bio-mom and my husband. He was so adorable, I spent hours scratching imaginary ‘itchy bumps’, providing endless piggy back rides and making up silly songs just because I was thoroughly besotted. It didn’t matter that he would engage in lengthy conversations while ostensibly trying to go potty (which in and of itself was also cute but for the fact that this usually happened when we were in a restroom on the NJ Turnpike), or that he would hold food in his mouth until he turned green. He had me the first time he shared his Power Rangers.
I loved being a mom with such indescribable enthusiasm (I still do), I would have had more. I’m not thinking as many as the Duggars necessarily – but the ferocity of love was unparalleled by any emotional experience I had ever known. You know what I mean – it’s visceral, unconditional, it lives in your skin. Babies do that.
Puppies, kitten, guinea pigs, bunnies – they melt me too (though arguably not in the same way). I think baby rhinos are precious, a new foal can move me to tears and I can’t even watch Bambi or Dumbo without dissolving (by the way, am I the only one who sobs when Dumbo’s mom is in circus jail rocking him through the bars singing ‘Baby Of Mine’ – stop, can’t even think about it). When the boys were little we had a veritable zoo. The house was insane. I can’t say I did it for them; they were still too little. This was my doing – those baby animals lured me, and the boys were happy beneficiaries.
So here’s my theory – they reel you in at the outset. With each sigh, funny face, cry, nuzzle, bath time…with each rendition of ‘The Muffin Man’, the ever-wondrous delight with magically appearing M&Ms and each belly laugh..they know they’ve got you. And frankly, I think they’re calculating the goodwill reserve they’re going to need when they get older and move into the snarky depths of adolescence. Those years when they need not to need you and you still need to be their mom while wondering with no small amount of horror when axillary hair and weird odors invaded your yummy baby’s body. But it matters little – I can still recall the sensory delight of how they smelled before they smelled. How wise they are, how cunning. I’m telling you – these babies are so on it.
And when a puppy piddles, I don’t get mad – look at that face. He’s a baby too and doesn’t know what he’s doing yet. Puppy breath and kisses diffuse any frustration over the fact that the window sill in the family room is pockmarked with teeth marks. Clearly the dog is bored and I need to rush over to PetSmart to pick up some new toys for his entertainment.
Now those babies are grown men, and their goodwill reserve is still full. I have ‘sucker’ tattooed on my forehead (fashionably covered by my hair) – and they know it. They tease me when I cry – which happens every time I try to articulate how deeply they are etched in my heart. Of course, they don’t have children of their own yet. I am confident I will be redeemed. The time will come when we will marvel together at the limitations of the English language when trying to explain how a heart can so swell it’s palpable. And I will be thinking to myself – ‘gotcha’.