Sunday, April 13, 2008

Thinking about babies

I'm babysitting. Right now. The girls are upstairs, napping--well, actually they're talking to one another, but I'm confident they'll fall asleep soon--and I am blogsurfing and listening to the monitor. I like kids. I mean, I REALLY like kids. Anyone who has spent any amount of time with me around little kids knows that if I have a choice between adult conversation and playing with babies, more often than not I'll go for the kids.

But kids are weird, y'all. The two girls here are one and a bit and two and a bit. I think anyone who wants to be an actor should spend time with a two-year old, because they stay in the moment. One second they'll be handing you a duck ("what does the duck say?" "Cak! Cak" "Oh, Exxon Valdez duck, huh?") and the next minute, they'll be handing you a duck, equally delighted both times. You, as the adult, of course, are puzzled, thinking "but you just..wait, you've been handing me ducks for HOURS now." Ah, but the trick is to think like a two year old, to completely forget about all prior ducks and focus solely on this duck, this duck of the moment, if you will.

The two year old's favourite question is "what's that?" which is useful for learning colors and object names, but less useful when Nicki forgets to stay in the moment: "What's that?" "A door." "What's that?" "A door." "What's that?" "A door." "What's that?" "A door." "What's that?" "A threshold." "..."

It is possible, of course, that I might never have kids of my own. I say this meditatively, because, as we all know, my life tends to have a lot of curves in it, so babies are not necessarily on the map--then again, neither is marriage or staying in this country, for that matter, but all these things could potentially happen. I think about having kids or not having kids, but right now it's so far out of the realm of my experience that I don't feel very strongly one way or another. I'm not one of those scary, stereotyped Singletons who needs to have a baby now, so cut the crap, Hamlet. But I'm not one of those devoted Singletons who has foresworn all breeding in order to continue their lifestyle of hedonistic staying up late and ordering pizza. I was in the grocery store yesterday, standing in front of a display of Little Debbies, thinking happily "I love this! I can buy a box of Little Debbies, and they will be all mine--and no one can tell me otherwise! Yay!" Ultimately, I went with Hershey's Special Dark. I have a tiny freezer, but it holds a bag of chocolate quite well.

Where was I? Oh, right, impending motherhood, or not. Eh. I think about the possibility, the same way everything in my life has happened or not, but having children is such a biological and societal expectation that it tends to overshadow other things and is cause for contemplation. Various influences in my life have, through no fault of their own (cf: Little House on the Prairie, Pride & Prejudice, etc.), made younger me's think that marriage, babies, etc, must happen, will happen, and now I know better. Yes, of course these things may happen, but then again, maybe they won't. That's the exciting part, isn't it, sticking around to find out what will happen. I'd like to think that I'd be a good mom--I know I couldn't be a stay at home mom, but I would be one of those people who brings their kids to rallies and leaves copies of O'Neil and Beckett lying around and who would only ask if they're really sure that this is the design they want when the offspring announce they're getting a tattoo. Also, snarky onesies. But maybe those questions will never come up. It's like in Lord of the Rings when Galadriel can see a shadowy future--it could happen, or not. Babies could happen, or they might not. Either way, I'm glad to be getting some practise. The monitor's been quiet for about a half hour now...maybe I'll sneak upstairs and make sure tthe little angels are sleeping: drooling, snoring, butts-in-the-air and all.


Jack Bunny said...

From the time I was born until I was in my teens, my family and I were constantly moving (my dad was a musician). As a child, I went everywhere and loved it. I grew up going to exactly the events you talked about. Maybe that's not for all kids, but I'm very glad for the childhood I had.


Sarah said...

regardless of what the future may bring, baby gaboda will have an auntie who will kick his ass if he gets anything below an A in history. :) Anything can happen.