I love you just the way you are, but you can grow up any time now

The other day, my wife started going on about wanting a baby.  I pointed out that there was a seven-month-old boy somewhere in the house and that if anybody wanted to take the time to locate him, he could be counted as a baby.

“But he’s old and stinky,” she replied. “I want a clean, fresh baby.”

I pointed out that, even though he is eating a lot of “people food” these days, and is therefore stinkier than he used to be, he is, on balance, a relatively clean baby. Then I realized it wasn’t about how stinky he is. The important point was that he wouldn’t be a baby much longer.

My wife has a perpetual craving for an infant in her life.

This is trouble.

Of all the people who see our baby and comment, “Enjoy it while you can; they grow up so fast,” 99% of them are women. The 1% who are men feel pressure to say something and so they repeat what they’ve heard women say, thinking that women must know appropriate comments about babies.

Most men avoid commenting on babies, because, “Won’t it be great when he grows up?” just has that feel of a statement that might not go over well with baby’s mama.

I don’t get the need for constant babies that some mothers have. I have three children whom I love dearly. Two of them are no longer babies and I’m fine with that. The third is a baby, and he and I are counting the days until he can walk and talk and heat up his own milk.

admiring baby

“How long before he can cook his own meals?”

Apparently, mothers spend a fair amount of time looking back and pining for the helpless days of their children. I have no wish to return to the infancy of either of my older boys. I like the generally drool-free children they’ve grown into.

To be honest, I might develop a little nostalgia for Buster’s toddlerhood when he grows out of it. Buster makes such an awesome toddler I sometimes worry that, at two-and-a-half, he’s peaked. If his jokes are half as good when he’s a schoolboy, I’ll probably be all right with his aging.

It’s not that fathers don’t like their babies. They’re just not in our favorite stage. We adore our babies, but look to the future in the same way that a lot of mothers adore their big kids, but regret the lost past.

A father works through the baby period, sustained by the dream that his little bundle of fuss will grow into someone with whom to watch football games and go on battlefield tours. Since we can’t seem to interest the baby in those things now, we bide our time.

I have sympathy for my wife’s feelings, but I can’t keep giving her babies as a pick-me-up. Also, I can’t afford to ply her with roses or expensive candy because three children. But she’s always welcome to sit down and watch football with her boys.

sleepless baby

“There now. Don’t cry. It’s a complicated sport. You’ll pick it up by and by.”


30 comments on “I love you just the way you are, but you can grow up any time now

  1. I love this. And the photos are just icing on the cake. I remember right after our first was born, my husband was sitting there holding her, just staring at her. Then he looks at me and says, “I love her and everything. But she doesn’t DO anything.” Now she is nine and argues at just about every little thing we say. I like to remind him that, “Look, she’s doing something now.” 🙂

    And I second the toddler phase being kind of awesome. I mean, yeah, it sucks in a lot of ways and is frustrating beyond all get out. But they are SO funny at that age. And everything they do looks cute, even if they are doing something that drives you bat sh*t crazy. I think it’s the little hands. Because it’s just cute when little hands do the same thing big hands do. It’s the same reason baby hiking boots are infinitely cuter than regular hiking boots, even though they are totally unnecessary.

  2. I was very happy to leave the infant phase behind. Now I’m just looking forward to the second one starting school. I like them better now that they’ve become real people who say stuff and do stuff!

  3. cookie1986 says:

    I side with your wife, but my husband sides with you. Tradesies?

  4. pjmcc2014 says:

    I have a 7 month old and sympathise with you, she is brilliant but somedays I yearn for the day she can walk and talk and feed herself, oh and change herself too……………..also I miss sleep…….football however does seem to calm her which is great.

  5. markbialczak says:

    Yup. Norman Lear. You are in trouble, Snoozer. Gack. So many infants in your future.

  6. stacybuckeye says:

    Just had a conversation like this tonight. A mom was saying she wanted a baby (her youngest is 3) and I said that I would never want to go back to the first year. If we adopt someday I’d be perfectly happy requesting a 3 year old 🙂
    It does sound like you might be in a bit of trouble if 3 boys isn’t enough 🙂 Good luck!

  7. susieq512 says:

    We have a 2-year-old toddler living with us, along with his 13-year-old and 11-year-old brothers, and 9-year-old sister and their mom (our daughter). My husband and I think pretty much everything the toddler does is damned cute, and we laugh all the time at him, even when he throws a fit. But he’s generally sunny and funny, so we excuse the fit throwing as being what it is, a failure to communicate. As cute as he is, and as much as we would like to keep him at this toddler stage forever, we don’t hanker for another one, and as Stacy says, wouldn’t want to relive the first year. Ever.

    AreYouFinishedYet is spot on with the reason for the cuteness—the little hands doing big people things, and the hiking boots. I keep buying them, because they’re just so darned cute. Yes, I’m besotted. 🙂

    We also have the 9-year-old girl who knows she’s right about pretty much everything. It’s not pretty.

    • Ha. Is there ever an interaction with a toddler that is not a failure to communicate? We don’t have any nine-year-olds yet, but they seem to know too much for their own good by age six anyway. And any time I might be tempted to buy cute toddler boots I recall that that’s just extra weight for me to carry since toddlers get tired of doing their own walking awfully quick.

  8. I’m a mama of big kids who occasionally dabbles in opening our home to littles and I’ve got to tell you, once I graduated from dippy cups and diapers and even tying someone else’s shoelaces, it became hard to go back. I love squishy, brand new infants but I no longer want to bring one home. I just want to borrow one for a few hours. And I am a mama who LOVED the baby years. So, there’s hope for your wife yet!

  9. yearstricken says:

    I love the line about providing babies as a pick-me-up, since that is every baby’s middle name. 🙂

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