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Not on board the baby train

I was sitting on the beach in California last week wondering what kind of mother I’d make when my friend Cara’s 18-month old kid punched me in the nose and screamed, “No!” when I went to give her a kiss.I was in California for Cara’s wedding, which, like the rest of my girlfriends from San Diego, took place sometime after the proverbial knot was already tied – in the umbilical cords of all those unplanned babies. All four of my girls – Ashley, Cara, Risa and Anna – got knocked up at the exact same time, abandoning me for the men of their dreams and the children that would change everything. Of course I totally expected I’d feel out of place with all those babies. I just didn’t expect it would smack me in the face, so to speak. I know Sydney is young and all that and I probably shouldn’t take it personally. But I swear that kid gave me the stink eye. She glared at me out of the corner of those big, blue eyes like she could see right through me and knows I’m not the type to breast feed or show up at PTA meetings.I tried to go along with the act, like she’s actually going to remember me when I see her again in five years, have some clue of who the hell “Auntie Ali” is. I cooed at her, told how pretty she was and all that, but she clearly wasn’t buying it. It took all the self-control in the world not say something that might traumatize her for life, like, “I never would have taken that hit of ecstasy if your mom hadn’t eaten it first. And by the way, you were illegitimate for the first 18 months of your life!” The trip got off to a bad start. On the first night of my visit, I stayed in Orange County with Eric Segel, the only single friend I have left. I was telling him how all my friends are saddled with rug rats and I was sort of worried I might not find anyone to do tequila shots with. And he goes, “You can’t be a mom. You’d be the worst mom ever. You’d be like, ‘Where did I put the baby again? Did I leave it in that pile of dirty laundry?'”Never mind that Eric is almost 40 and shares his house with a bulldog named Herbie and a roommate who is 60 years old and never comes out of his room. “What do you want to be a mom for, anyway?” he asked as Herbie jumped all over me, drooling profusely and snorting like a pig. “I mean, being pregnant and gaining all that weight? It’s terrible.”So understand I wasn’t in the best frame of mind for the inevitable trip to Babyville. It’s especially hard because these were my surfer girls, my friends who joined me on the wave that was my 20s. They’re the ones who broke me out of those genderless fleece-and-denim mountain togs and taught me to live in a bikini and wear sundresses and tall shoes. They held my hand when I got my first tattoo and encouraged me to get my belly button pierced, introduced me to things like avocados and mangos and how to use the juicer. They taught me what it means to live by the sea, to manifest the beauty and grace of a mermaid. Well, the party is over. No more salty margaritas after a long sunset surf, no more wild parties and new drug experiences, no more crying in our beers over bad men and broken hearts. Gone are the days of big hangover breakfasts, neighborhood backyard barbecues and naps on the beach. Now it’s all about diaper changes (spare me the play-by-play – I don’t need to know the size, shape and texture), breast-feeding (isn’t that dangerous once the kid has teeth?), and every little detail about every little thing their child does every waking minute of the day. Dinner is now at 5:30 and breast milk is the only drink being served these days. I’m wondering if these girls plan to breast feed until their kid gets their driver’s license or what. They tell me how fast they lost weight and still kept their swollen boobies. “Thank god I never got implants,” they all raved. The best part, they say, is burning 1,000 calories a day without having to set foot into the gym. But when I see Ashley’s son clutching all over her, reaching up and down her shirt and screaming, “Doo da! Doo da!” (the phrase he coined for when he is hungry for something other than mashed-up avocado), I’m thinking an hour on the treadmill and a little surgery would probably be a lot easier.The worst part was fielding questions from everyone that I couldn’t answer like, “So, can you hear your biological clock ticking?” and “What’s up with your boyfriend? Is he the one?” The only stories I had to contribute to the “funny, cute little things my kid does” went something like, “Psycho Paws was doing great on his meds for awhile. Then he broke the window trying to escape from the new boarding kennel and tried to kill another dog on the busiest street corner in downtown Aspen. But the police were really nice about it.”I get it that it’s different when it’s your own and all that. I’m sure it’s worth all the sleepless nights and diaper changes and incessant crying and turning your whole life upside down. But maybe Eric is right. Maybe I’m not ready for the joy of motherhood. I should probably deal with all my dirty laundry first.The Princess loves offseason and is really happy to be back home in Aspen. Send e-mail to alison@berkleymedia.com


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