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Baby Crazy

A friend of mine posted a comment on Twitter the other day about women who announce their pregnancy as soon as they find out and then proceed to fill the next nine months of YOUR life with updates and comments and ultrasound photos and all things baby.  It reminded me of my sister-in-law, who was fairly non communicative with me until she got pregnant, and once she had her daughter has been texting me more in a week than she did in the entire pre-baby time we’ve known each other.  In some people’s cases, they just want to brag and show off.  Others are simply oblivious to the fact that you don’t care as much about their bundle of joy as they do.  A few are delusional enough to think they are the first person to create life.  And in general, most people who give you way too much information about their personal lives just don’t give a damn whether you want to hear it or not.

Bringing a child into the world is an amazing thing, but it’s hardly a miracle.  Tune into to 16 And Pregnant on MTV or read stories about moms dumping babies in dumpsters, and let me know where the miracle lies.  Any idiot with functioning body parts can have a child with any other moron with working plumbing.  Conception is basic science and getting the sperm to the egg is a process that is instinctual to us all (and if you’re confused, you can just watch an episode of Jersey Shore).  As simple as it is to have a kid, women will still continue to act like Beyonce and talk of their new baby as if they invented childbirth.

I’m not saying that it’s wrong to be excited about your pregnancy or proud of your children.  I’m also not saying you should be ashamed or reluctant to share an ultrasound picture or the news that your little boy cut his first tooth.  I’m saying that when the little plastic test gives you a positive reading, you aren’t obligated to tell every single person you know about it within an hour, then post a photo of your test on Facebook right after tweeting half a dozen times about being a mommy now.  The whole process of creating and raising a kid is exciting, but that excitement isn’t going to be shared by everyone and it’s important to remember that if you have any interest in not alienating your friends.

Part of being a good friend (or whatever relation you are to someone) is knowing the boundaries of your relationship and what you are to each other.  The guy who has never been more than a drinking buddy and who you’ve never spoken to sober will probably not be all that interested in hearing details of your weekly check-ups.  The woman down in accounting, however, with kids of her own, is probably a good place to swap stories and get advice.  You need to know your audience and make sure you’re not overloading the wrong person or people with information they don’t really care to know.

My friend who tweeted about baby-crazy ladies doesn’t have any kids of her own, so to throw information at her is to basically use her as a set of ears only; it’s not like she can trade stories back since she hasn’t popped out a kid yet.  Humans are conceited creatures, yes, but I still find it unfair to throw your baby news at someone who isn’t a parent yet (or has no intentions of becoming one) because you know damn well they won’t have any stories to come back with and you can just talk and talk and talk…. you get the idea.

 

Be happy, be excited, and be proud.  But while you’re being those things, don’t forget to be a friend, a sister, a colleague, or whatever you were pre-baby.  Don’t forget why you talk to this person in the first place and don’t let baby replace your old conversations.  Don’t overshare and end up overstaying your welcome with the people you interact with on a daily basis.  Don’t be selfish and assume that time stops for you when you have good news to share.  Be a proud parent without losing your former self and your friends.  Do you know how annoying it is to hear someone go on and on about their AMAZING vacation that you can’t afford to a place you’ll probably never go, showing you photo after photo?  Just as annoying, if not moreso, when you do it about your damn kids.

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About Jamie C. Baker

“Long time no see. I only pray the caliber of your questions has improved.” - Kevin Smith

Posted on June 8, 2012, in Kids, Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Boy, can I relate.

    My wife and I held off having a baby because we liked spending time together traveling, cruises, zip lining, all the fun and reckless stuff you don’t want to do when you have a kid. We enjoyed each other too much. Three’s a crowd. The pressure was always on us to have one from friends and family and we just pushed back on them and said we’re never having one…go away. Finally they stopped…mostly. Moms are always pushy about it for some reason. It’s just an irritation we had to live with.

    We decided to have one for the simple reason that we had had a lot of fun together, and we started to think about our lives in old age…and that it is inevitable that one of us will die first. Neither of us could bare the thought of leaving the other on Earth without someone to know and talk to and love that was part of both of us. Someone who was a little bit of the person we lost. Pretty mercenary, when you think about it.

    We never understood the people who made a big deal out of being pregnant, or getting pregnant, or having a baby. My wife would purposely try to irritate them back by comparing her maltese to their baby, saying things like, “Oh yes, my maltese is very advanced too.” The dumber they were the more offense they took to it. It was our secret pleasure .

    When we decided to have a baby and we found out she was pregnant, we told no one. In fact, we told nobody anything for almost seven months. We would have went longer, but it just wasn’t possible to hide it any longer. Her brothers thought she was just getting fat. She wore her clothes at work to hide it. I did not tell my family or friends. It was like it was not happening. We did this not because we weren’t happy about it, but because it was nobody else’s business, and our egos don’t need legions of people congratulating us for performing a bodily function successfully.

    When our peers did finally find out about it, our heat shields were red hot trying to absorb the high friction frenzy of congratulations, kudos, sooooo excited’s, screaming, jumping up and down and of course the inevitable and downright insulting…”When’s the next one?”

    For one cousin-in-law, I actually had to grab her hands and tell her, “Calm down..we’re not as excited about it as you seem to be. Take a deep breath. There you go.” She calmed down and asked us why we weren’t jumping for joy (which of course we then realized these crazy people are going to interpret as that somehow having the baby was an accident) so we explained to her that…”We decided in May to have a baby, and just like the BILLIONS OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE WALKED THE EARTH BEFORE US, we were successful in August. It’s not like we went to the moon, which like…10 people have done.” She was very confused.

    When we found out, we did not Facebook it. The first Facebook picture of the baby was a few days after she was born and for no other reason than to keep the massive roaming barbarian hoards at bay who were all demanding pictures. It was just easier to post a few on Facebook as a way to bring up the drawbridge and fend off the assault.

    Ironically, my cousin-in-law was pregnant around the same time, and gave birth a month earlier. Her approach was completely different. Her and her husband threw up on Facebook with ultrasound photos, his bruised thrumb from putting together the crib with a caption, “He’s worth it,” pictures of the baby clothes they bought, him making a heart with his fingers over her pregnant stomach, holding a baby hat above her stomach with baby pants below her stomach with the ultrasound taped to her stomach so it looked like the “baby” was wearing the hat and the pants…get it? Get it? Go vomit if you need to, I’ll wait.

    And it only got worse after, with pictures of all of them together in bed, him holding the baby, her holding the baby, holding the baby to the left, to the right, near a window, near a couch…it was rough to watch.

    All told I think we have maybe six pictures on Facebook of the baby, none of us and none of us WITH the baby, now three weeks old. We are sending out announcements by horse drawn carriage because of the old people asking for pictures who don’t know how to use computers and still rely on the Pony Express to stay on the cutting edge of the information highway.

    I told my boss the day my wife went into the hospital and only because I would have to take a few days off work. I guess he told some others who of course asked me about it. Thankfully guys kept their inquiries to grunts, snorts and comments like, “Good luck getting any sleep for the next three months” or “I guess we’ll be seeing more of you at work for awhile” followed by a chuckle and a slap on the back. These comments I appreciate, since they are based in reality. “Guy-speak” is always quite refreshing to me. When the women co-workers talk to me, it’s hell. My goal is always to piss them off so they go away.

    DAY ONE
    THEM: “Let me see the pictures! I wanna see some pictures!”
    ME “I don’t have any.”
    THEM: “WHAT?! Why not?”
    ME: “I don’t know. BUT HEY, I got some great new ones of my dog, she just got a haircut, wanna see!?”

    DAY TWO
    THEM: “OH…MY…GOD….when are you bringing her in?”
    ME: “I’m not.”
    THEM: “OH…MY…GOD…why NOT? We HAVE to see her!”
    ME: “Because I don’t know how many diseases you have.”

    I don’t pretend to care about them, their family or their babies, because I do in fact, not care. So when someone pretends to care about me, my family or my baby, I can’t participate. The reality is, most people are only interested in my baby, or anyone else’s baby, so they can talk about their baby. Countless conversations I have overheard between mothers pretending to listen to other mothers only to take advantage of their turn to talk by comparing their baby to what was just said and, if possible, one-upping it.

    MOM #1: “Susie was burping so much last night, I barely got any sleep.”

    MOM #2: “Oh wow, Sophia was the same way…burp burp burp, went on for weeks.”

    MOM #1: “WOW..weeks? That is tough. Susie was only burping so much last night but she had an ear infection for a month two months ago…she was screaming and crying, we were up all night for so long we forgot what day it was. Hahaha.”

    MOM#2: “OH MY, that is TERRIBLE…you are such a good mother, though. I remember when Sophia had an eye infection. It wasn’t bad at first, but we had to put drops in her eye for almost three months every few hours. It was so bad we set a timer by it and whatever we were doing we had to just drop it and run and give her the drops.”

    I get nauseated hearing the conversations because each mother is seeking adulation, praise and sympathy. I don’t know if it is because I am a guy, or because I don’t need or seek out attention that this really bothers me. Perhaps it is just a “chick” thing. Guys, or maybe it is just me…just suck it up and deal with the problems and find solutions. I’m not interested in getting other people’s opinions or commiserating. Another reason I am not on Facebook…the online system of perpetual narcissism and one-upping.

    Additionally, I really hate the “Office Baby Parade” where proud parents, almost always the mom, somehow feel like I want to see what they dropped. I really have to say, I could care less. You would have to walk into my office holding a tire iron wrapped in prosciutto being nibbled on by a beaver before I would consider looking at your baby.

    And some of these girls…they never stop. There is a group of girls, about six, without calling out stereotypes, but they certainly fit the bill…that never…ever…stop. They are each on their second or third which means that at any time in the office for the past two years, one or two of them are out on maternity leave, one or two are pregnant but working, or one or two are doing the Office Baby Parade. Meanwhile, they drive cars that fall apart, have no money, have no ambition, dead-end jobs, no plan, nothing.

    Then one of them comes to me when she finds out and wants to sell her $800 stroller. They know we don’t hurt for money. My first thought is, “WTF are YOU doing buying an $800 stroller.” I told her my wife wouldn’t be interested, so she asked me why. And I said, “Because not even my wife would spend that much money on a stroller.”

    So that is where we stand at this point. Squarely facing the headwind that is baby making society at large. Carry on then.

    • I love it when your comments outshine my blog 😉 I want so badly to be shocked by people asking you when the next one is before the first isn’t even here yet, but sadly I can’t!

      • Incredibly ironic addition to my comment for you today…

        I came home from work last night, grabbed a beer, put my feet up, was talking to my wife. She starts telling me about the Office Manager at her company, who is this dinosaur that is so proud to have worked for the same company for 30 years, displays her martyrdom by never taking vacation time, loves flying the company flag, and LOVES to one-up…she is a classic example of what I wrote in my comment.

        And incredibly, when I came home last night, she did it AGAIN…and EXACTLY how I wrote in my comment about the bull crap comments I hear moms say to each other all the time…the only difference now is that this is the first time I have heard this crap spoken to my wife, now a new mom…check it out…

        Wife: I talked to today and Jennifer said she was surprised I asked for a maternity leave extension. So I told her I didn’t ask for one, they just filed one automatically for me when you have a c-section.

        Me: She said she was surprised? Why was she surprised?

        Wife: She said it doesn’t sound like me since I was so against having babies. I told her I am not against anyone having babies, I am against having other people’s babies foisted upon me, and I am FOR taking every hour of benefits available from having one that is offered, so why would I be stupid and go back to work before I absolutely had to?

        Me: . I am sure you confused the hell out of her. Time off from work? What the hell is that? .

        Wife: So she asked me how much time I would be taking off and how did the c-section and delivery go. So I said all 12 weeks, that I was in labor for 20 hours, so they did the emergency “c” and just lately the incision had opened a little but everything was okay.

        Me: What did she say?

        Wife: She said she was in labor for 24 hours before she had her c-section, she went back to work in 9 weeks and her incision got infected.

        Me: WTF. So she upped you. She was in labor four more hours than you, went back to work three weeks sooner, and her incision not only opened, it got infected.

        Wife: YES! I am a loser.

        Me: Clearly.

        Both:

        There. A real-life honest to goodness example that happened just last night. She only asked my wife the question, so she could talk about herself, and hopefully, one-up her. CLASSIC!!!!! A perfect example of what I was talking about. It happens ALL the time, in person, on Facebook, at work…EVERYWHERE.

        —————————————————————-

        On a different topic…

        Your blog is a pressure release valve for me… 😉

        My blog is all politics, economics, with the occasional personal rant when I am just “over it” – but really, pretty dry stuff. Your blog lets me join forces with you, pitchfork in one hand, lantern in the other, chasing down the dumb, the irritating and the senseless that goes on around us EVERY DAY.

        It gives me a chance to vomit my personal opinion about the problems and observations about people and society that you routinely identify. And as you can see, and we’ve talked about before, there is no end to how long it takes me to type out all my vitriol….hahaha.

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