Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

spacefem's timeline of baby tolerance

A few weeks ago at my great-uncle's 90th birthday party, one-year-old Josephine was the hit of the party. Everyone showered her with attention, fed her off their plates, said "awe" when she sneezed on them, applauded her dance moves... it was a breeze! And so good for me, because it's rare that I take my hurricane of a child out in public and don't have to spend the whole time chasing her & apologizing. But she was in a room of GRANDMAS, who I've learned are one of the most baby-tolerant segments of humanity in existance. Baby tolerance is not linear with age, it ebs and flows with life events and it's hard to tell by looking at a party where the people will be at. Here's how I've decided it works:

Spacefem's timeline of baby tolerance

A. You're a baby. Obviously other babies are AWESOME, aren't you?

B. You're an older kid. Babies who are small, grabby and get sympathy from other adults are not awesome.

C. You're a preteen who thinks babies are cute.

D. You're a young adult. Babies represent life-stopping anchors you'd rather not think about, and you are constantly having fun that is the opposite of baby fun. Nightclubs, float trips, amusement parks, the theater! What do they all have in common? No babies!

E. You're thinking of having a baby, having a baby, or just had a baby. Suddenly you like them again! Hey, you have to.

F. You have older kids. They're interesting and independent. You spend your time bragging about math assessment percentiles with other moms. You're past the baby stage. When some newbie mom's baby is grabbing at your brunch plate, you're glaring at her to intervene, certain that you were much more responsible and self-sacrificing seven years ago.

G. As your kids approach their 20s, you start to like babies again. None of your friends have babies so you don't get to spend much time around them, and like it when they're around. Gradually you become one of these people who think crying is cute and little messy footprints are, well, adorable little footprints.

I couldn't really put years on these because it's obviously different for everybody. I also realize there are people who never have kids, and I think their timelines are just a lot more even between points D and G. My older child-free friends have an appreciation and love for the baby that my older mom friends don't, because they realize they've set themselves free from baby invasion, it's not this looming threat.

So this is a revision to my previous opinion that I have to stop bringing the baby out in public for my own sanity... I can bring her anywhere, it's just that the time spent varies based on where the group falls on the continuum.
Tags: babies, motherhood, parties
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