I love my kids, absolutely every single last one of them (you know…out of the three I have). And many may actually believe that I just love kids in general (although, the truth of the matter is that my love for kids is quite limited, boiled down to my own children, and a handful of others).
But you want to know something incredibly secretive…something that I don’t generally tell many people…something that may only be known by my wife?
I really don’t like infants. My own children included. Let me clarify that. I absolutely love my children, even when they were infants…but infants themselves, you know, the whole crying, not sleeping, not being able to feed them enough, crapping their pants, whole tired stressed out father experience…that’s the part that I’m just not interested in.
When my wife and I were first discussing the idea of adding a third child to our family, I was actually quite excited about the idea of adopting a kid, having them come into our family at the ripe old age of ~2, and bypassing those early months of absolutely no sleep and inconsolable crying and all that other jazz that comes with the territory of newborns.
Because that’s the issue with me and babies: I just don’t know how to help them. I’m a fixer by nature. I love to fix things. If my kids have something going on, behavioral issues, moodiness, tiredness, just can’t stop squirming; I love being able to get down to the bottom of it and help them return to their cheerful selves. With babies, that’s not always possible…not to mention the fact that half the time they are just wanting to get up close and personal with mom, not me.
Which means that when hanging out with a baby, there’s a fair chance that you will spend a grand portion of your time just trying to figure out what the hell is causing them to scream, only to find out that life itself is what is causing it.
I don’t like babies.
I’ve never really felt the baby need. I remember when my sister had her first kid, my first time at being an uncle. It was a pretty exciting moment. I even had my brother in law set up to call me the moment they went into the hospital so I could rush over there. I ended up ducking out of work early (because I worked overnights at the time) and sat in the waiting room fighting sleep just so I could be there at the moment the little sea monkey arrived. It was pretty cool getting to see my niece for the first time. But when they asked me if I wanted to hold her…well, let’s just say that I’ve never been all that keen on infants.
Now, of course, all that was quite different with the births of my own children. Me and my daughter, the first of my three, instantly bonded (the boys have always been much more connected to their mother, go figure). And although I may have tried my best to stay all manly and whatever, it’s quite possible that a tear or two of joy may have escaped my eyes at the arrival of each of the three kids.
But that didn’t really change my feeling toward infants.
Now, give me a kid of six months or so, and I’m quite more different in my feelings, but less than six months…
Okay, so, I’ll admit, it’s pretty cool getting to see them figure out how to smile, and giggle. Oh, and the first time they notice that they have control over their feet. Or when they try to actually reach out and grab things. Or when they attempt to sing. Or…
Yeah, I get it, babies are freaking adorable. Everything is new for them and all they do is try to figure out how to be more human-like. I’m being absolutely unfair when I say I don’t like babies.
What I don’t like is that it’s quite easy to feel entirely useless when it comes to babies, especially as a father. With my other two, I can wrangle them all day and night, keep them in life, provide for all their needs, do what needs to be done. When its me and the baby, whether there’s three kids or just one, I can’t even keep him happy, much less all of them.
Babies take work. So do kids in general, but babies…I’ve just never figured them out.
That being said…I do absolutely adore the little guy who currently keeps me up at night. I just wish I knew how to keep him a little bit happier…or asleep. I could really use some sleep…
Have fun out there!