My cousin recently had a baby. She is a gorgeous baby girl, who will celebrate her first birthday this month. The first time I met my baby cousin was also the first time I ever held a baby–to my cousins dismay, I called her “it” during this first meeting–and I have never been more afraid than I was at that moment. Holding her, I immediately became aware of everything that could possibly go wrong…
I could drop her on her head.
She could start projectile vomiting, subsequently causing me to drop her on her head.
I could accidentally say or do something that will traumatize her for the rest of her life (hello, Freudian psychology) resulting in thousands of dollars in therapy and the list of potential devastating accidents goes on….
Luckily, nothing devastating happened during my first interaction with a real live baby, but I am still cautious. Tiny and defenseless, babies need around-the-clock care. Personally, I find it difficult to take care of myself, let alone an entire human entity with a mushy skull. Babies are, essentially, death traps. The thought of accidentally hitting a soft spot on the back of their head and literally denting their cranium keeps me awake at night, and I don’t even have a baby of my own.
It’s true, babies are cute. But it’s also true that their cuteness is just a mask through which they terrorize the world. You know how the saying goes, “not all that glitters is gold,” well, not all the coos are cute. Babies are like clowns in this way. They are meant to be cute and full of innocent fun, but when you really consider what’s going on, it can be a nightmare for some. Babies seem naïve, but their innocence is just a front. They may not be capable of caring for themselves, but they sure know how to get what they want. If, as an adult, I could scream and cry until someone fed me or took me to the bathroom, I would never do anything on my own. I’d take advantage of the system, just like babies do everyday. How many times have you seen a baby refusing to walk, only to be carried away by a parental unit? They know how to get what they want, and that’s just another reason to fear them.
I find the fact that I have no idea how to act around babies quite scary as well. I am good at playing with dogs–pawing at them and talking to them in a really high-pitched voice–but for some reason, it doesn’t translate to babies. I don’t want to use baby talk with them because, while the math definitely adds up, I have a problem with treating a human being like a puppy. I can’t hang out with babies because I treat them like adults. I’ll swear, and then immediately swear again when I remember that it is inappropriate to curse in front of such “innocent” beings.
Yet, it seems that the most terrifying part of having a baby is the immense responsibility that comes with it. This includes both keeping it alive, and raising it to be a productive member of society–the thought of raising the next Zodiac killer is quite frightening. I’m not sure which task is more difficult, as I have not tried it myself. For now, I’ll leave the baby raising to more capable adults, perhaps without the petrifying fear of child-rearing or at least a mild dose of it.