I’m sorry to disappoint you, but unfortunately, I’m unavailable to babysit your newborn. Here’s why:
The utter vulnerability of a baby completely terrifies me.
It* needs you, completely. They seem so fragile. Not just their physical soft spots and all that jazz, but they are at such a critical phase in their mental development. They are sponges. They have big eyes, and they watch everything. They are thinking, but they can’t speak. What if I say or do something and cause this pure little creature, immense, irreparable mental damage!? What if I crush it in its sleep like one of those prostitutes in the Old Testament? How could I live with myself?
What do babies eat?
Young children have all these crazy dietary restrictions…like they can’t eat honey. What if I forget? I don’t know what would prompt me to want to feed them honey, but it could happen. Baby diets are stranger than Sylvester Graham’s eat-your-way-to-heaven plan. At what age can kids even eat solid food? What if they have an allergy you couldn’t know about until the baby has a reaction?
I don’t want to jinx myself.
I want to hold your baby. I know I have that look in my eye, I’m confused, scared, curious. I look at it curiously and it looks back at me, also with eyes filled with wonder and bewilderment. I want to hold it. It’s cute (maybe, maybe not), but as a child I remember one of my cousins saying that she didn’t want to hold the baby because she was “afraid she might have one.” Now I know pregnancy isn’t contagious, and I know where babies come from, but something about that image really stuck with me. Every time I hold a baby I have to hold back the urge to throw it to someone else and knock on some wood.
I’m convinced that my fear of babies has actually manifested itself physically. Brace yourself for an over-share! I’m certain, beyond any rational argument, that I have a retroverted uterus because my lady parts are so terrified of babies, they tilted themselves away from the outside world. Again, it’s not that I don’t want kids. They look like fun. They say the darndest things. Their little shoes are so cool. Not to mention, they provide a great excuse to buy dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets. Until that time comes, excuse me as I entertain myself with adult things like watching Real Housewives of Everywhere and going to Jimmy Buffett concerts.
*I know I called your child an “it.” I’m sorry. It’s not that I don’t think it is a person, it’s just some kind of habit. I don’t know where the habit came from, but it’s there. Maybe I’m just “beyond gender”? Maybe I’m just more accepting of the fact that gender may not be based on your physical attributes, and that in some ways gender is really just a social construct. I’m respecting the fact that one day, your child may come to you and tell you that they are really a man trapped in a woman’s body. Or vice versa. Or maybe I’m just concerned that what I think is your son is really just your ugly daughter. They’re all bald and kinda smushy-faced anyways. Unless your baby is wearing a onesie that says “Male Genitalia Below,” I’m not sure it’s always safe to assume.