Are you surprised to hear these things from me, Firecracker Mandy, Spokeswoman for Childfreedom?
Don't be. Here's the thing. A person can find babies adorable, love to touch and hold them, enjoy other peoples' babies to the hilt and yet have not a single inkling of desire to have one of her own, and here is why. Unlike most women who lose all sense of reality and perspective when their heartstrings get pulled by the siren song of Rose Petal Cheeks, I am keenly aware that the cute baby phase is fleeting and lasts only a couple of years before the adorable bundle of joy turns into an awkward, annoying kid, a surly teen and often, a troubled adult.
I see the evidence of this all around me. Take our next door neighbors, Len and Clarissa. These poor people are ready to jump off a cliff thanks to their troubled 18 year old daughter. It seems like every week there is some drama going on at their house. We've witnessed full blown screaming matches between them and their daughter. We even witnessed Len smashing a bat through their daughter's car window in a fit of rage and frustration.
Last year, while they were away on vacation, their lovely daughter had a drinking party at their house, a fight broke out and one of the kids threw a cinder block through 2 of their windows to the tune of $2,000. Last night, my hubby was out doing yard work and Len came over to chat and told him the latest about his lovely daughter. He and Clarissa have discovered she has been stealing money from them and after reviewing her cell phone bills, and seeing that most of the calls were to slum ghetto areas, they deduced she is into drugs. So they did something they have never done before. They went into her bedroom and snooped around and guess what they found? A crack pipe. After years of countless episodes, they are finally going to throw her out of the house.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. It seems Len is constantly updating my hubby every time he sees him with awful stories of how their daughter is ruining their life (as well as hers). One time, I ran into them in Macy's and we stood and talked for about 20 minutes. The entire conversation was them bitching about their horrible daughter. These are nice, clean cut middle class people whose worst offense has probably been being too permissive as parents. And look what they got.
But I bet she was a really cute baby.
Last night, we were checking out a rental property (we're selling our house and downsizing). The landlord met us there to show us the property. When we entered, the place was a mess and she was packing up stuff in boxes. She told us her son had been living there. So I asked why she was packing his stuff instead of him. "He moved to Florida". Okay, so he left all the packing for his mom. Nice. During the course of my discussion with her, I told her several reasons we would be good tenants, one of which was the fact that we have no kids to destroy the place. "No kids? You are LUCKY." Putting aside the fact that luck had nothing to do with our being childfree, it was clear that she was conveying she regretted having kids.
I bet her son too was a really cute baby.
This morning as I was getting ready to leave for work, I heard the news that the Craigslist killer, Phillip Markoff, committed suicide in his jail cell, after scrawling a bloody message on his cell wall. Looking at the footage of him on the t.v., I thought to myself - I bet his parents never expected him to grow up to become a murderer. By all accounts, he was a clean cut, preppy medical student, had a beautiful, intelligent fiance and was planning his wedding. On the side, though, he was leading a secret life of perverse sexual escapades via Craigslist and killed one of the women he had a liaison with.
I bet he was also a cute baby.
I realize not all babies grow up to be crack users or Craigslist murderers, but let's face it. There are a lot of troubled people in this world and most of them were at one time cute, cuddly babies. Even normal, well-adjusted people like myself cause their parents unending grief. I was an A student, high-achieving, fairly goody-two-shoes kid and teen (no drugs or drinking), but between my teen years to the present (mostly due to personality conflicts) my mom and I have had more estrangements and fall-outs than I can count. Our relationship is an unending cycle of a year or two of peace, followed by a year or two of strife. The last fallout resulted in an estrangement of over a year and a half.
(And in case you are wondering - yes, I too was a cute baby.)