D often says things about how "unhuman" I am - as in, he finds that I don't behave like a human being, that I don't react to events and situations like other human beings, etc. I usually find this both very insulting and deeply unfair (no, I don't necessarily react like he does, but that doesn't make me a freak). But he once said he didn't think I am very maternal. And I got very upset with him at the time, because I love my little girls more than life itself, and I do hug them, and kiss them, and tell them I love them, and comfort them...
But this evening, I decided that maybe there was more than a little truth in what he said.
Let me explain.
I read a lot of "mommy blogs" as they're rather irritatingly known. In most cases, as soon as a baby comes on the scene, the writers (and their commenters) go into a sort of trance about the adorableness of the new baby, how seeing a new baby makes them want to have another one, bla, bla, bla. Me, I look at the photos of these new babies and think, "yeah, that's a cute baby" but that's IT.
Anyway. This evening, for around one and a half hours, we had to look after our neighbours' little boy, Thomas, who's just turned 5 months old. He's very good-natured, very sociable, and generally about as cute as a 5-month-old baby can be.
I gave him his bottle, held him on my knees, carried him round the flat, showed him the Christmas tree, nuzzled his not-as-tiny-as-I'd-expected head... The usual, in other words.
And yes, I was quite content to be doing that to help out our neighbours, and yes, he's a cute baby, and yes, there's something very nice about such a tiny, helpless little being.
But the longer I spent "entertaining" him, the more I realised that I really, really, really couldn't face the thought of going through all that again - the relentlessness of it all, the thanklessness of it all (changing nappies, cleaning bottles, feeding, being drooled on, being vomited on (Thomas didn't do that, but my younger daughter, L, did, ALL THE TIME), the not sleeping, the crying...). Seeing a baby so young makes me realise how much BETTER it is to have children who can walk, and talk, and do pretty much all the essential stuff themselves. I love the ages my daughters are at (C will be 7 in 10 days, L will be 5 in 4 months), and seem to love each new age more. I don't miss their baby days AT ALL. C was, admittedly, a pretty easy baby - but turned into the Devil's Spawn when she was 2. L was cute as hell, but a difficult baby (wouldn't sleep, wouldn't eat, puked endlessly despite no allergies...) and morphed into a hellishly difficult toddler. Now, at more than 4 and a half, she still has her moments, but basically 3 was better than 2, and 4 is better than 3.
I wouldn't go back to their babyhood for all the tea in China...
Does that mean that the famous "maternal fibre" really is missing in me? Is it because I failed so dismally with breastfeeding? Am I missing some vital, motherhood gene? Is there something wrong with me? Or are there actually other people out there who don't get all gooey-eyed at the sight of a new baby?
This evening made me feel like a freak - and that freaked me out!