Free-Floating Hostility

Monday, February 19, 2007

Take it Away, Dave and Sharon

My husband has baby fever. I do not have baby fever. This makes us, in the language of infectious disease epideimiology, Baby Fever Discordant. We are the sort of couple on whom benevolent non-profits will focus their ad campaigns. I can almost see giant posters on BART featuring a woman looking frankly at the camera while her ethnically ambiguous partner's head lolls resignedly on her shoulder under a caption that reads "I guess I thought if would be easier if we both had it. Now I know that's bullshit." I decided to confront this problem head on.

"You have baby fever," I informed Michael the other day, my tone making it clear that this was an intervention and I was exercising tough love.

"I do not."

"You obviously do."

"No I don't."

The conversation went on in this vein for some time. Finally Michael said, "Alright. I talk about babies a lot. But do you know why?"


"Because baybeezh are cuuu-uuu-uute."

The irony of all this is that Michael has spent almost no time with babies. Or, perhaps that's not so much an irony as a major explanation.

"You know," I broached this information as delicately as possible, "That babies do not smell good. I know they look like they smell good. But actually they spent most of their time drooling, crapping, and puking on your clothes." At this Michael did the imitation he has perfected of a drooling neonate. "Michael," I attempted to restore focus. "You do realize that we're not going to be raising lion cubs, right? They won't have fur and paws and adorable little manes? We can't carry them in our teeth?"

"We can try."

"And that then they'll grow up to be four-year-olds? And then nine-year-olds? And then homicidal, suicidal, crack-experimenting, rude, bulimic teenagers? And then Jehovah's witnesses? And there's nothing you can do to stop them?"

"Whatever, we'll teach them to tell good jokes."

I conjecture that Mike feels injured that I have not indulged his longing for a child when he's been so supportive of my longing for a dog. But apparently he does listen. He sent me this column by Bay Area sportswriter Michael Lewis on his kids' horribleness phase in response to my well-worn theme on how kids can't get to adulthood without going through the phase clinically termed "the asshole years."

I have refused to reenter the baby-having conversation until Mike has spent a serious amount of time around some children. I suggested he find a local children's group with which to volunteer, but he has so far refused on the grounds that people will think he's a pedophile. Queenie has put her oar in, stipulating that she wants no grandkids until we are thirty. And the circle of life spins on.

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