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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Oh, Baby, by Kiki Clark

“Ever since my girlfriend had her adorable little girl, I’ve been having baby dreams,” I confessed to my friend. He had come into town for a quick business trip, but now his laptop and suitcase sat by the door. We were chatting over breakfast tea as we waited for his college-aged daughter to call and tell him she was ready to have her wireless installed. Outside, a fine, steady snow fell. I felt the need to clarify. “In the dreams, it’s never a baby I personally had. It’s always one that someone gives me, or I find, or rescue. Sometimes from dogs.”

“Well, you’re not too old. Plenty of people have babies at our age.” He is four years younger and far more fit. I’m a writer, and get my exercise from shouting at my computer screen. “What about Joe?” he asked, referring to my husband.

“Oh, he’d be perfectly willing. But neither of us feels that strongly about it. I’ve told him that at my age, if he really wants a kid, we could adopt a Chinese toddler and bypass all that pregnancy and diaper business. But he’s not interested in adoption. It’s pride of ownership, I guess. That and the fact that it’s so much cheaper to make your own.” I took a sip of Genmaicha. “It seems like there’s more to worry about, bringing up a child these days. I have a friend who got a call from another concerned parent – some girl was spreading rumors that my friend's daughter was spending her $400-a-month, anti-depressant allowance on cocaine. My friend said she panicked for just a second before she remembered she didn’t give her kid $400 a month for anything, not to mention that she wasn’t on any prescription medication. Turns out this other girl spread the identical rumor about a bunch of her so-called friends. Another mother I know was told her son had to go to the delinquent’s school because he passed out flyers for his band on school property. So he had to spend a week and a half with the kids who wave guns around class and threaten to rape teachers.”

My friend shook his head. “It’s a lot of work. But for every negative, there are plenty of positives. You have to look at the added value to your life. And it’s really only the first three to five years that are the hardest. After that they’re in pre-school or kindergarten, and you have six hours a day all to yourself.” He laughed. “Then you can catch up on the sleep you missed.”

“Six whole hours, huh?” I sometimes don't start work until I've been up for six hours, and my schedule as a whole is very flexible. Joe and I attended a James Bond party last weekend and stayed up until two o’clock in the morning. There was a lot of champagne. I spent the entire evening speaking in a Russian accent and telling fortunes. “Our life is so easy. It’s nice to have the luxury of saying, ‘Oh, should we have a baby?’ as if it’s similar to selling the house and living abroad for a couple years. But a child is such a responsibility. Even after they leave home, you’re still a parent. You’re a parent for the rest of your life.”

“That’s true, but you see a lot less of them after they turn eighteen.” His cell phone rang. “Hello?” He listened for a minute before speaking. “What lane are you in? Uh-huh. Well, just put the hazard lights on and walk to the gas station. Yes, they’ll have containers. What? All right. How about I meet you there?” He hung up.

“Your daughter ran her car out of gas?” I guessed.

He smiled. “Added value.”

I hugged him goodbye at the door, then watched as he carried his bags through the snow. In another month, I’ll be babysitting my friend’s adorable child for the first time. She may giggle the whole visit (her usual state) or she may scream. Either way, it’s only for a couple hours.


At 4:41 PM, Anonymous Laura said...

If she screams, just read to her from your manuscript. She LOVES to be read to. (But beware, she may try to eat it.)

At 9:08 PM, Blogger Diane Perkins said...

Hee hee, Kiki! Children are a joy and a trial.
Lucky that there is more than one way to live one's life in this day and age.

At 9:52 PM, Blogger Jennie Lucas said...

Oh my gosh. That baby is an ANGEL.

I know what you mean, Esri, about having a tough time giving up the idea of freedom. Becoming a mother is a huge switch. I'm suddenly on a round-the-clock schedule. Then there's the lack of sleep. (I haven't had a serious sleep-in for a year. I kid you not.) And then there were the months when the baby hated the car so much that I couldn't even take her to the grocery store a mile away, because she'd scream and scream and scream. I was afraid to leave the house. Boy am I glad those days are over.

And as your friend said, for every negative there are tons of positives. Christmas morning, with my husband in his Santa hat and the baby climbing up to open her first presents, was awwwwesome.

I think a person is always a little wistful about whatever road she doesn't take. I know for me, it's always fun to read about your artistic, free and sophisticated life, Esri. James Bond party? How friggin' cool! Staying up till 2 in the morning drinking champagne? Wow!!

At 10:09 PM, Blogger Trish Milburn said...

The baby is a complete doll. What huge, beautiful eyes!

I'm in the Kiki camp in that the hubby and I don't have kiddos. I love being an aunt though. I have two nieces and a nephew, so I get to love and spoil them while still having the freedom to live my own life pretty much to my own schedule. There are times that I feel guilty when I meet people who want kids so much and can't have them or who have trouble conceiving. Doesn't seem fair to them.

At 6:26 AM, Blogger Jill Monroe said...

And Jenna those great moments don't end. We had a birthday party for my youngest at the house. Seven - yikes. After it was over, she turned to me, gave me the biggest hug ever and whispered, "Thank you for my party." It was just awesome because it was so unprompted and I knew it would be a great memory for her.

And Esri - wow. You gotta keep up informed!

At 6:32 AM, Blogger MaryF said...

Jill, my son, 14 (the delinquent ;) ), did the same thing at Christmas. It's a great feeling. He's worth everything, though of course he didn't give me much trouble. I think that's why I only have the one child - I got the best one!

At 9:16 AM, Anonymous Laura said...

And then there are the times, when they're babies, that they are upset, and you pick them up and they give that big, contented sigh, lay their heads down on your shoulder, and go to sleep. It's magic.

At 11:07 AM, Blogger Kiki, aka Esri said...

Jenna, I think you're spot on. And as writers, I think we want to live ALL those lives. We don't want to miss anything. So I'm missing something, and it's very defined, as opposed to the more nebulous "freedom" concepts that a mother might miss. The challenge for me is to make the most of my freedom -- to experience life so well that I won't have many regrets. It's not a small challenge. I used to say that my motto was "Live Large." That's still okay, but I think it needs refining. I'll have to work on that.

At 8:23 AM, Blogger Sandy Blair said...

Loved the post, Esri. After I gave birth to my first, Scott called his parents. His Dad, after congratulating us, said, "Son, you've just had the last good night's sleep you'll ever have." :)


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