Alison Berkley: New meaning for a bouncing baby
It wasn’t so long ago that I associated the words “Oh baby” with pleasurable things. These days I usually mean it literally, as in “Oh [my god, not another] baby!” Every other week I’m getting phone calls from friends with “exciting news.” They squeal and squawk so loudly that I have to hold the phone a few inches from my ear while I roll my eyes and gag before responding with false excitement ? as if I’ve already recovered from the fact that they’ve left me to get married and live a normal life in a house of their own with a man who can actually take care of them. I mean, give me a break!
Babies are not just en vogue, they’re in Vogue. Like, on the cover of Vogue ? touted as the season’s most fashionable accessory. “It’s official,” writes Vogue contributor Eve MacSweeny in the July 2002 issue. “A model’s chicest accessory right now is not her stack-heeled YSL sandal or her Vuitton collage tote but the baby on her hip. … Having children has become a trend.” The same month Vogue put Amber Valletta and her son Auden on the cover, Baazar featured Elizabeth Hurley and her newborn (as well as a lengthy expose about how badly she’s been treated by the baby’s father ? not a very pretty picture after all). A pregnant Sarah Jessica Parker graced the September 2002 cover of Elle with an eight-page spread, glowing in John Galliano and Marc Jacobs. “Impeding motherhood only enhances Parker’s casual chicness,” writes Holly Millea. “Her pale, round belly pops out between her black cotton yoga pants and tight spaghetti-strap top. By all accounts, she’ll slip into motherhood as easily as she does her Manolo Blahniks.” Excuse me while I go throw up, and I can assure you it’s not from morning sickness!
Just the other night I went out to dinner at Takah with a very young, good-looking local couple and their two gorgeous children. The 2-year-old wore her hair in high pigtails, spoke English and French and had some exotic, charming Hawaiian name I can’t remember. She entertained us with her cute antics and tiny little red-and-white Puma sneakers. The newborn slept ? well, like a baby ? throughout the entire meal on their laps. Her cheeks were barely visible beneath the hood of her pink crochet sweater, flushed with the warmth of sleep. She didn’t even wake up for the arrival of the “Phallic Combo,” an erect fried banana topped with an upside down strawberry and two chocolate balls. The enormous faux penis was almost too much for me to bear. Both delicious and sinful, it taunted me, perverse when juxtaposed against the innocence of this precious sleeping baby ? the root of all evil, or the tree of life?
I went home that night and had the kinds of nightmares you’d find in a psychology textbook. My baby dreams are always the same: I have a baby, but I can’t remember having it or remember its name or figure out who the father is. The baby turns into a gummy bear and then its head falls off. I try to put the head back on while the dismembered parts squirm around in the palm of my hand, and inevitably one end falls on the floor and gets squashed. The last dream I had, the baby’s head broke in half and it died and then came back to life and started growling at me like a dog. The next morning my roommate and I went out to breakfast with our friend Chris, an unemployed human resources manager who majored in psychology at CU-Boulder. When I told him about it over a plate of hash browns and eggs he said, “Oh, that’s easy. You’re the baby and you’re just starting to realize you can’t take care of yourself.”
My mom always used to say, “If you ever had a baby you’d be calling me going, ‘Oops! I left the baby in the oven again!'” This coming from a woman whose response to breast feeding was, “I don’t want some kid hanging off my tit. I am not a cow!” Still, I can’t help but feel left out, like I’m the last one standing after everyone has been picked for teams. I’m a loser! I’m so unfashionable I can’t stand it.
Maybe I’m not cut out for motherhood. I did leave my dog at a friend’s house and was so out of it that I went outside two hours later and whistled for him, thinking he was in the back yard. That might be unforgivable, until I did it again last weekend during Ruggerfest. We were sitting in the bleachers and it wasn’t until my friend asked me, “Where’s Sebastian?” that I realized I left him tied to a tree at the Farmer’s Market.
Having a baby would mean I’d have to keep track of its location at all times, and that’s without a leash. I’d have to get health insurance instead of good luck and find a job that has more rewards than the penniless privilege of seeing my words in print. We’d have to figure another place to store all of our bikes and skis and skateboards and maybe sell the foosball table (it’s wobbly and doesn’t work that well anyway) to make room for a nursery. Even then, the dog’s toys are always lying around, and lord knows I might trip over them and drop the kid. I’m sure my roommates would help out since dirty diapers would be a cakewalk compared to the poop cleanup required in our back yard. Oh, wait! I’d have to find a father, too!
Anyway, I think Chris was probably right. I’ve already got my hands full with one baby ? maybe I should figure out how to take care of her first.
[The Princess is on the pill and likes it just fine because the hormones make her boobs bigger. You can e-mail the Bustress at email@example.com]
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