Thursday, April 7, 2016

In which I break the baby.

My Guy and I are learning to embrace the DINK lifestyle. It's going pretty well, except we often ask each other, "If we don't have kids, why don't we have nicer stuff?"

Yeah, I got your '03 Honda right here.

But while we're enjoying our not-new-but-not-sticky stuff, we're also dealing with The Baby Give and Take.

The Baby Give and Take is a well-intentioned but very awkward dance wherein people insist we hold their babies or babies of other folk. The thought seems to be a combination of "This is the best baby ever!" and "You must bond with the baby!" Sometimes, there's a touch of "If you hold a baby, you'll finally decide to adopt!" thrown in.

Now, I like babies just fine. Their heads generally smell amazing. And holding babies is cool. They're warm and cuddly and what's not to like? But The Baby Give and Take means a baby is forced upon me or my darling husband. And then, to fulfill the "and Take" part of it, someone swoops in and whisks the baby away the second the infant makes a sound or gives even the slightest indication of not being 110 percent happy. There's generally no "Oh, she's fussy - do you want me to take her?" It's more like, "Jesus, people! Don't break the baby, you savages!"
I thought it was just me. But My Guy has commented on it - it happens to him, too. The administrators of The Baby Give and Take - who are both baby owners and baby friends and family - seem to be kind people who want to include us. But the whole thing makes us feel like idiots who have no social skills and failed the child care unit in home ec.

Not being parents means that we are bystanders to many of our peers' experiences right now. It means that maintaining those relationships takes extra care and work. And that's OK. But no one is helping the cause through The Baby Give and Take. What if the mere sight of an infant still made me explode into an infertile lady shame spiral? What if holding a baby made my kind and sensitive husband look for a drifter to kill?

The Give is bad enough. But The Take? The Take just says, "Well, bless your heart. I see you made an effort, but here, let me take that baby off your hands since you're clearly incapable of keeping it alive for more than 30 seconds."

Quit making me hold the baby. Or let me hold the baby when I ask and then let me hand her off in my own time. Or let me hide in the bathroom. Just ... let me be.

Also? My dachshund is mega-cute and won't require orthodontia or college. So, there's that.

9 comments:

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Oh, this. It is so awkward!! I don't typically want to hold people's babies. But they just assume you do and then to say no is so rude. But I'm just not a baby person. So then I sit there, wondering how ling i need to hold the baby to be polite. And because I spent a good solid decade with the awkward give and take before having my own, I tried so hard not to force my own babies on anyone. But you know how that turned out? Awkward. Just a different kind of awkward. Sighhhhhhh. Babies, man, they make everything so weird!

Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect said...

Oh, this. It is so awkward!! I don't typically want to hold people's babies. But they just assume you do and then to say no is so rude. But I'm just not a baby person. So then I sit there, wondering how ling i need to hold the baby to be polite. And because I spent a good solid decade with the awkward give and take before having my own, I tried so hard not to force my own babies on anyone. But you know how that turned out? Awkward. Just a different kind of awkward. Sighhhhhhh. Babies, man, they make everything so weird!

BentNotBroken said...

Ohmygosh. This!

From February 2015 to February 2016, all three of my sisters had babies. When I met one of them (I forget which one), she started fussing. Three seconds later, my grandma moved across the room faster than she's moved in at least a decade, and said to me "give her to me. I know what I'm doing." I am seldom at a loss for words, but I was this time.

Seriously though, babies aren't rocket science.

Becky said...

As I read this, I kept hearing "You gotta see the baby" from that Seinfeld episode.

Also, you can leave your dachshund home alone in a cage and no one minds. And eventually, babies become teenagers. I bet your dachshund's mouthy teen phase is much easier to deal with there too.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I always would grab my fussy offspring from people mainly because I didn't want them to be bothered by the screaming. It wasn't that I didn't trust the holder of the baby, it was more that I never thought it fair to inflict the discomfort of a screaming baby on them. Just for what that's worth.
So DINKs don't have nicer stuff? That makes me feel a little better right now... I have this DINK fantasy sometimes where D and I have season theater tickets and better wardrobes and no dinged up drywall or stained carpet...

Karen (formerly kcinnova) said...

I agree with Green Girl's rescue M.O. I didn't want to make others hold the fussy kid and never considered that it would make the person holding the kid feel badly. (The fussing is almost always louder to the mom who thinks it reflects upon her own parenting skills, so there's that.)

Last I checked, the 2003 Honda was sitting in our garage next to the 2006 Kia...

Kari Wagner said...

People with kids are so annoying, and I have kids.
It is touchy because they are probably trying to be all LOOK BABIES! THEY DON'T BITE! WAIT, THEY ACTUALLY DO. NEVER FUCKING MIND. AREN'T YOU SO GLAD YOU DON'T HAVE ONE OF THESE?
When I am at a function with friends who don't have kids, I wait for cues.
If they show interest, I would pass the baby.
If not, I pass the salsa.
But I find that my friends who don't have children are some of the best baby soothers out there.
Better than most of the parents I know.

Colleen said...

We're DINKs too, but I look at Take the baby in a more positive light. Please take your baby. I didn't ask to hold it and I probably don't want to hold it. I'm sure your baby is beautiful and freaking awesome, but I'd rather hold your puppy.
My '05 Nissan has 200,000 miles now and I'm secretly hoping to make it to 300,000. Yes, I set my goals high. :)

Becky Brown said...

I love you guys.

I totally get the "bad baby behavior reflects on me as a parent" thing. But what I'm experiencing is more like BentNotBroken's grandma flying across the room to claim her rightful place as The Baby Soother. It's complicated - everybody wants to be needed and to have their special touch with the baby. Except some of us don't really want to touch the baby? I just don't know.

Colleen, I here you on the high-mileage car. Mine only has 138K on it, and while there has been some new-car talk, I kinda want to see how long I can drive it. I'm guessing the correct answer is "forever." Because Honda.