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Feb 06 2006

I Just Love Babies!


Young Finn Faster and her aged relative lounging professionally last week at El Rancho Deluxe. Their milliner, Madame Svetlana du Sporte, was unavailable for comment.

In light of my recent declamation on human reproduction, and just so there are no misunderstandings concerning my views on cute, pudgy infants, the fact that I appear to be flipping the bird in this photo is an unfortunate trick of the light.

43 comments

5 pings

  1. RCinProv

    Great picture, Twisty. And great story from Alaska. Sorry to be nothing more than effusive — but it is a nice way to start the week.

    I’ll look for some good ‘ol blamin’ tomorrow. Or maybe even later today, when Texas disgrace, Alberto Gonzales, contrives his lame excuse for illegal wiretapping.

  2. laughingmuse

    We all need more milliners. Love the matching ‘dos.

    :)

  3. anne

    I love the picture, Twisty. Thank you for sharing! I agree… it’s a nice way to start the week.

  4. Chris Clarke

    It is a great photo.

    And can I just say, as a confirmed uncle, and without any intent of expressing anything other than gratitude for that photo of cross-generational blamers, that the need for us types without child to continually reassure the world at large that we don’t hate babies is more than a little depressing.

    I’d like to see people with kids start feeling like they have to explain ritualistically that they don’t hate wildlife and open space.

  5. Twisty

    Truth be told, I don’t love babies at all. I love this particular baby, because she laughs at my jokes, but take her older sister Ro-Tel (please!). When that kid was an infant I wouldn’t touch her with a ten-foot pole. A bad seed, that one. Whiny and irritiating. Still is, pretty much.

    I am notoriously un-fond of everyone else’s babies. They are ugly and universally suicidal.

  6. sunny in texas

    chris, i understand your sentiment. the thing is we with children ALREADY are continually having to explain why we bothered to procreate. not only that, we get to hear people speculate on whether we know what condoms are for, or what causes pregnancy.

    one good thing about my very visible grey hair, having rendered me invisible, now no one bothers to ask me these intensely personal questions.

  7. Jodie

    “the fact that I appear to be flipping the bird in this photo is an unfortunate trick of the light”

    Yeah, sure, that’s how my brother always explained it to Mom when we were kids…

  8. Chris Clarke

    True enough, sunny!

    I only wish my visible gray hair protected me from people asking why I hate babies. And oh, how I hate them.

  9. SneakySnu

    And now a message from the other side…

    Full disclosure: I’m 12 weeks pregnant, totally by choice.

    I hemmed and hawed about responding to the zero population diary, except that I found that I was unable to do so without being defensive, or complicating the argument with my own made-up statistics regarding population differences in various regions of the world.

    So I’ll say this instead: I would never say that you hate babies just because you think people shouldn’t be having them. On the contrary, it is out of respect for the many people who are already here that you hold such a position.

    I’m not asking anyone here to respect my decision. Just thought I’d let you know that a regular IBTP reader and sometimes commenter has taken this argument seriously, even though I disagree with it in part.

    Yours in selfishness and hubris,

    Sneaky

  10. Sharoni

    So, I like particular babies, although I only ever had one and made sure I wouldn’t have any more after that; my baby had two babies, because she couldn’t stand being an only. My husband’s only baby is about to pop out one of HER own, and she lives in ALASKA. I DO like baby things – the soft little bankies, the clever diaper bag things, the shoes! Oh. My. God. The shoes they get are so tiny and cute they’re to die for! But the thing is, I don’t ever want to have one. And being around too many of them at a time (I occasionally appear at an elementary school to pick up a friend’s child) makes me distinctly nervous. So Twisty, I understand your position totally. I get to go acquire baby things, pack them into clever little bags, and send them away. Same thing you routinely do with grandchildren (except for the part about packing them in bags).

    I also love the matching dos. Blame on, Twisty, and feel no guilt about not liking babies in general, there are more of us out here than you’d think.

  11. Dianne

    Sneaky: I’ve got one kid, also by choice. My excuse is that I wanted to have a kid and like playing with her and anyone who wants to condemn me for that can kiss my butt. But only if they want to get slapped and sued.

  12. CafeSiren

    “When that kid was an infant I wouldn’t touch her with a ten-foot pole. A bad seed, that one. Whiny and irritiating. Still is, pretty much.”

    Yeah, but I’ll bet Finn has yet to offer you a telephonically-transmitted cheeseburger.

  13. CafeSiren

    By the way, it has recently occurred to me, as a single female acquaintance of mine attepmts to become pregnant through IVF, actually forces single women *away* from adoption as an alternative — most domestic and many foreign adoption agencies either will not let single women adopt, or make them prove that the child (of whatever sex) will have “male role models” around regularly.

    God forbid any sprout were raised by women! That would be way worse than being in a state-run facilty, or being shuffled from one foster home to another!

    In other words, unless she wants to let various government agencies minutely inspect her life, her friends, her home… she’s back to compulsory pregnancy.

  14. Ms Kate

    Awwwww. Twisty performing one of her many varied spinster aunt duties. Sweet.

    It might do your non-breeding heart good to know that my 10 year old son pretty much agrees with you (accept he likes small kids). He told me that he doesn’t want children of his own because the world has too many people on it and we don’t need to make any more. Because too many people throw away their girls (his words)and that is wrong and sad, he one day hopes to adopt and raise all that he can afford (partner or no).

    When he was six or seven, he was strenuously lobbying for a little Chinese sister. Go figure.

    Bless his heart.

  15. bitchphd

    I don’t think you hate babies, Twisty. Just that you should be forced to bear as many as possible, to fulfill your feminine destiny.

  16. CafeSiren

    My apologies to all for the dropped clause, clumsy use of the subjunctive, the typo, and (of course) the ellipses in most recent post (That’ll teach me to post before my first latte).

  17. Christopher

    I love kids.

    Somehow, though, I ended up running in circles where I almost feel ashamed to say that, like it’s a character flaw.

    Twisty, those sun glasses make you look like King Mob from The Invisibles.

  18. Chris Clarke

    I think that’s an appropriate use of the ellipsis, CafeSiren, and would that more people attempt to use the subjuctive, even if clumsily.

  19. Burrow

    Looking good there, Twisty.

    I break babies. Really. They’re so….breakable (looked for another word, but that one’s too perfect). Now kids on the other hand, you know, the ones made out of rubber that fall down, cry for two seconds, and then are back to running around usually trying to use me as a human jungle gym: those are the kids I like. Disliking babies excludes me from breeding.

    Actually, I get to be the “crazy auntie” for most my kids friends and I frequently get asked about my own children when playing with them. Sometimes they mistake my friends kids for mine. I calmly tell them that I’m not having kids to shocked and horrified faces. If I ever feel the need to get all parenty I’ll adopt, but goodness knows I like giving the kids back when I’m done with them (and when they get all tired and whiny).

  20. WookieMonster

    I feel very similarly about my niece. She’s one of those kids that never really cried unless there was really something wrong, and she’s almost 2 now and smarter than your average 5 year old, not to mention just freaking adorable. The 10 year old neice is great now that I can reason with her(sometimes), but when she was wee I could only take her in very small doses.

    99.9% of kids fall on the “leave it” side of take it or leave it for me. Obnoxious little brats most of the time, it could be the parenting, but I think it’s just in their nature. Lends true meaning to the idea that only a parent can truely love a child (“parent” not meant in a biological meaning, more of as a role that is played).

  21. Laura

    I have a whiny and irritating little being on the periphery of my life, too. And he was totally born that way. I look at how he’s sucked the life’s blood from the very marrow of his mother’s bones, a woman who used to have a sense of humor and got to sleep through the night, and I am so deeply grateful that I didn’t have one of those little fartlings, I could witness for Jesus, if I believed in such things.

  22. Burrow

    Oh, and one thing I forgot. Like any good aunt (or uncle) I love to hear the words “But Burrow lets me!” I wouldn’t be able to spoil them right if they were mine. It’s apples and oranges.

  23. kactus

    Oh, I love babies of all sizes and shapes. I like young children too. I just can’t stand teenagers. I dread the day (coming soon) when my youngest will start hitting puberty and turn into a whiny argumentative freak.

  24. Frumious B.

    Me, I hate babies. Hate all of ‘em. They are vile, disgusting creatures. I can conceal my revulsion enough to feign interest in the spawn of my friends, but my good friends know better than to ask me to touch them. Eww. Keep ‘em in pens until they are 25, I say.

    That said, I have tolerance for people who choose children b/c I want someone to staff the grocery stores and laundromats when I get old. I have sympathy for people who don’t want children and end up with them anyway. I have zero sympathy for people who try IVF or artificial insemination. I have no understanding of why shared DNA is a prerequisite for raising a child, and it sickens me that there are so many adoptable babies in this country who nobody wants b/c they are black.

    I also hate adults, but I cut them more slack since they don’t leak from every oriface.

  25. emjay

    I’m going to be trying alternative insemination soon. Hate me all you want. I don’t much care.

    I do agree with CafeSiren above, that I would be inclined to adopt an already-born child instead if it wouldn’t cost me five figures in adoption fees alone (come on, I’m a single dyke working for a non-profit–like I can afford that), I wouldn’t have to sign affadavits and find witnesses to do so saying that I’m not a lesbian, and I wouldn’t have to have various social workers visit my home. I went through enough when I got a CAT from the shelter (though the shelter staff were a bunch of dykes too and didn’t make me sign anything saying that I wasn’t one). I’ve also looked into “free” adoption through the foster care system, since I’m not particular about the racial or ethnic background of my child. In order to adopt a baby, I have to first try to reunite him or her with a biological family who may be: abusive, drug addicts, alcoholics, neglectful, or otherwise unfit to raise a child in any of a variety of ways. Not exactly a great incentive: here, love this child for a few months, then give her back to people so they can beat her, and then when they’ve beaten her enough times, you can have her back again.

    The desire to parent is too strong to ignore because the adoption system is stacked against me. I’m glad that so many of you don’t have a desire to parent, since I do believe we need negative population growth. It takes me off the hook a bit for the one child I plan to have.

  26. Teenagecatgirl

    Christ, that baby must be a good eater, her head is almost as big as yours, Twisty!

  27. magikmama

    Frumious – for those with health insurance – it is likely cheaper and involves alot less hassle to do the IVF route than to adopt.

    And the fact that this is true is a sad testament to the way adoption works in this country. As someone who wanted a second child and had absolutely no interest in being pregnant again or adding to the world’s overpopulation, I quickly discovered that despite being a loving, stable parent in a 2-parent household, working-class but with our own home and debtless, we still would be denied as prospective parents by many agencies because *gasp* I was treated for post-partum depression.

    Since we couldn’t pony up the legal fees for a private adoption, the genetic route was pretty much the only way we could go.

  28. Twisty

    Nobody’s hatin’, emjay. Just so you know.

  29. Buffalo Gal

    magikmama – I never cease to be astounded by the sheer dumbfuckery of so many human endeavors. Adoption would give you a good chance* to avoid hormonally mediated depression that could interfere with your ability to care for an infant – so therefore, the only way to have a second child is to run the risk of another post-partum depression. At least you know about the treatment options now.

    *I suspect that a partial cause of ppd is the adjustment to new circumstances, chronic tiredness, etc., as well as hormone changes so if you tend to ppd, you may experience it after adoption, too. This is a guesstimate based on my own experience and fevered imaginings, not on any actual research.

  30. emjay

    Oh, I didn’t think *you* hated me, Twisty. That would be too great a burden to bear, seeing as I have such a crush on you. I was talking about everyone else. :)

  31. Carol

    geez, what’s next: kute kuddli kitties that say “hang in there, baby?”

    ;)

  32. miscellanneous

    Ah, but there is nothing like being the aunt the nieces and nephews can turn to when they need to leave home for tattoos, purple hair, frisee, or tuition money.

  33. A White Bear

    Isn’t it strange how, even though everything in our culture joins hands to celebrate absolutely every single aspect of baby-production (except the sex), someone who chooses not to procreate has to defend that decision almost every day? No one who gives single people shit for not procreating ever has to apologize, while those who merely choose not to procreate themselves must constantly apologize for their implied hatred of those who do.

    Maybe I’m sensitive to this because I live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, where 9 out of 10 households contain babies. All coffeehouses and restaurants have a “baby hour” during weekdays, when they are mobbed with bourgeois mommies and strollers. There are many websites with scathing reviews of Park Slope restaurants whose owners don’t personally come around to meet and hug your baby when you arrive. When I walk around during the day without a stroller, I get the stinkeye from all the mommies with double-wides. (Then again, most of those with double-wides have nannies.)

    What irks me most is that we live in a time in which single people who live alone without kids get the shaft at every turn. We don’t get to share health insurance with a partner. We come home to empty apartments. We don’t get exemptions on our taxes. We die sooner than married people. We don’t have anyone to walk the pets or help with laundry or do a dish or kiss us goodnight or wake us up in the morning. Our parents hassle us about “settling down and growing up” well into adulthood. We pay ridiculous rents on studio apartments in areas that are safe enough to come home to by ourselves. And we’re selfish?

    I think being a mommy or daddy must be really draining and important and a weighty burden and totally exhausting. But any mommy or daddy worth her or his salt knows that it’s all worth it when your adorable progeny comes to you and says “I love you. Please read me a story?” Don’t tell me it’s thankless.

  34. Ms Kate

    Ah, but there is nothing like being the aunt the nieces and nephews can turn to when they need to leave home for tattoos, purple hair, frisee, or tuition money.

    Bwahahahahaha!

    Add to that list: sterile belly button piercing options (when she’d half done it already herself), Repo Man movie night, and My First Lallapalooza Moshpit(tm)!

    Said niece is now mid-twenties and just became a mom today. Memories. Sigh.

  35. kactus

    White Bear, your description of the moms & babies out with their double wides reminds me of my gentrifying neighborhood, where all the trendoids go about with their big status symbol dogs.

  36. ae

    Twisty, happy to see you looking well, and the young relative is adorable. Calls to mind the Szymborska line, “O fatty dishes of love!” She is lucky to have an aunt who, among other things, shares her milliner.

    No kids here, but I am the lucky auntie to two gorgeous godsons, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I’d like to weigh in w/ the ‘don’t pity me because I have dogs’ childless person complaint. Dude, I want dogs. If I wanted kids, I’d have them or adopt them. Not everything is a borne psychological scar. Jeez.

  37. renee

    When my son was a baby, strangers would approach me in the grocery store and coo at him and say, “Don’t you wish they would stay this tiny forever?” And I would have to repress the urge to scream in horror. God NOOOOO! I can’t fucking wait for him to feed his own damn self! I haven’t slept in 10 weeks, bitch!

  38. jezebella

    Hey White Bear -

    Last I heard, single women live longer than married women, while married men live longer than single men. Which means that, if I got married right now, I’d (statistically) be handing over actual years of my life to the man I married. Talk about your disincentives!

    I’m not sure if the stats are adjusted for parents/non-parents within the single/married numbers, as I’m pretty sure parents also have reduced life expectancy.

    Either way: not all single people die sooner. You are correct that we do, however, have to do our own laundry. Which is fine with me, since I never have to deal with anyone else’s laundry either. A worthy trade-off in my view.

  39. WookieMonster

    True ae! I have a dog because I want and love dogs, not because I wish I could have children. Kids are adorable brats while dogs are just plain adorable, it’s not even a close race, I’ll take the dog any day.

  40. Joanna

    What a babe! Kid’s cute, too.

  41. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    happily for me, other people in my family have spawned enough to provide me plenty of cute babies and little kids to coo over, play with, love, and send home. this has also forestalled any desperate urge I might’ve had to reproduce myself. being a spinster aunt agrees with me enormously. I highly recommend it.

  42. Frumious B.

    “single women live longer than married women, while married men live longer than single men.”

    Not true. Married people of both sexes are healthier and live longer than single people. The difference is greatest for divorced and widowed people, and smaller for never married people. This is true on average, not for specific indivduals. Health info from the CDC:
    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad351.pdf
    Couldn’t find life expectancy info, but I’ve read it there before.

  43. A White Bear

    My guess is that there’s serious grass-is-greener stuff going on with the parenting/not-parenting thing. Before the mother of my boyfriend’s kids was a mother, she was a miserable pothead so desperate to be a mom that she made absolutely sure her new hubby would immediately procreate with her. They did, twice. Then a few years later, she meets a single childless pothead dude at work and fantasizes about how unbelievably awesome it would be to be single, childless, and partying. So she left her husband and kids. Within a few months, she was engaged and pregnant again. Five months later, she dis-engaged and aborted. Now, guess what? Engagement ring is back on and she’s off the pill once more. In fact, she’s also wearing the engagement ring from her previous marriage, and thinking about either abandoning her kids completely or trying to get complete custody of them, and refusing to finalize her divorce even as she plans her wedding.

    My guess is that some women have been taught, somewhere along the way, that having babies and getting married is a really good way to deal with emotional instability, instead of, you know, spending some time on your own, tai chi, going to therapy. Clearly, she’s got serious emotional problems of her own, but the only answer she can come up with is popping out kids or getting rid of them. This is why kids can’t exist merely to satisfy someone’s need to define themselves or move their relationship “to the next level,” whatever that means. The kids that are already here, fine, I’ll celebrate their existence. I adore these particular little boogers. But most of the rationales that people develop for creating them in the first place are beyond sickening.

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