Before I had my own child, I was sort of terrified of babies. I was the friend who most definitely did not want to hold your newborn. I’m not sure what my deal was, exactly. Maybe I was afraid I would drop the baby? Or that it would poop on me? (A legit fear. It’s called “the newborn diaper blowout” and it happens, people.)
But the minute I had my own kid, that changed. NOW I WANT TO HOLD ALL THE BABIES. Even if your newborn spits up on me, I do not care. Overnight, I went from “It’s cute but no thanks” to caring exceedingly about your baby.
It definitely took having a child of my own to realize that I like children. Well, most children. OK, maybe just babies, and like 50% of the kids I’ve met up to the age of seven.
But even though I have a kid, I am not a “kid” person. If I had to describe myself to a stranger, I would not say anything remotely like, “Well, I just love kids!” In fact, my idea of hell is one of those indoor playground places, or the local Chuck E Cheese. (I have taken Oliver to Chuck E Cheese exactly twice: once for a birthday party, and once because he begged me for like two months straight. That was almost four years ago. Never. Again.)
I know that because I’m a mom, many people expect me to think all children are magical precious angels. But really, a lot of kids are sticky people who put their fingers in their noses.
I love my own sticky kid to pieces, and I do happen to think he is a pretty magical human being. And chances are, if I know you and you have a kid, I will love your kid to pieces, too. I just don’t feel that way about ALL kids.
While I will definitely hold your newborn now, I may give your 5-year-old the side eye if I think he’s going to wipe that booger on me. If your two-year-old is screaming at the grocery store, my first instinct is probably to want to move as far away from her as possible.
Parenthood has taught me one very important thing: that I could never ever in a million years be a preschool teacher.
I have a lot of respect for teachers and daycare providers. It takes a special kind of patience to deal with large groups of kids all day and not lose your friggin’ mind.
When Oliver was in kindergarten, I volunteered once a week in his classroom, and I saw firsthand what teachers deal with every day. I loved volunteering, and I thought the kids were super cute and I liked (most of) them a whole lot -- but then again, I had the luxury of just breezing in for two hours every Wednesday on my way to work. I did not have to deal with 25 six-year-olds when shit got real.
So, would you describe yourself as someone who just loves children? Are you afraid of babies? I know some of you are totally afraid of babies (I swear you will not drop it, but it may poop on you).
Somer is on Twitter @somersherwood.