Last night I saw a baby at the Green Leafe. Except for some minor toy-dropping, the infant (I’m guessing seven months) and his older brother (maybe three years old) were lovely table-neighbors. I’ve always been a proponent of children as long as they’re quiet, pretty and well-behaved. Oddly enough, these bar-babies met all of my criteria. If that’s all it takes, I’ll bar-crawl through all of my child-bearing years.
p. I’m a little concerned that seeing these little angels at Pint Night made me start wanting one. This is a serious fetal alcohol syndrome problem. It doesn’t help that I’m terribly impatient and judgmental about parents. I’m not going to lie, the minute I saw a woman with a baby-carrier walk in, my eyes were so far back in my head I couldn’t even pour the skipjack.
p. I like to think that I will be spared having a terrible child just by virtue of being a pretty awesome person myself. I even think I choose moderately acceptable partners (barring the first three semesters of college, so, uh, I chose one good one). Still, I ponder all of the complications. I just don’t want my kid to be a total loser.
p. I suppose I’m thinking about family planning against the background of senior year engagement madness. Plus, so much of my mental energy is used for life planning these days. Between juggling jobs, potential cities and apartment searches, certain baby-related details keep coming up. I’m forced to consider how healthcare choices vary, maternity leave practices are archaic, cities are child-friendly — everything matters. Whether or not I’m ever, ever going to squeeze one out. Ew.
p. So I start to think about the what-ifs. When would I let my child drink? Do I want to trek to Little League, ballet, travel soccer and piano? Am I going to age gracefully or try to hang with my kids? I’m not talking Botox and lifts (though that’s not out of the question), but about Juicy tracksuits and Uggs. Here are a few commandments I hope to follow:
p. — I will not disturb the diners/moviegoers/people in line/subway riders with my noisy child. I hope that I have angelic children, but in the likely event that I won’t, I refuse to be the person I judge today. My kid will be shushed, I will apologize and then we’ll leave.
p. — I will not film my birth. I don’t know about you, but I have no desire to see Ricki Lake’s birth documentary. It was showing at several New York movie theaters over break, and I can’t imagine the kind of sales pitch the distribution company had to give.
p. — I will not act like I don’t have kids. The worst parents are the ones who feel entitled to live just as they did before children. Oh yeah, let’s bring Junior to the opera! We paid for these tickets, our little screamer deserves to be here just as much as anybody else. Don’t get me started.
p. – Finally, I will not create another monster child.
p. I know there are more important things to worry about — thesis, graduation, jobs — but that’s far too real and scary. While nothing is scarier than birthing a terrible child, at least I can decide not to have one. Or at least wait until I forget about my commandments.
p. __Charlotte Savino is a Confusion Corner columnist. Her children will be drop dead gorgeous … or else.__