Sunday, March 4, 2012

Meeting a Baby


I don't meet many babies.

I see a lot of pregnant people, women mostly. I work with them, I see them on the train, but I don’t really interact with their babies.

I see a lot of babies out in the world, all the time actually. But as a result of my lifestyle (single guy with no close friends with kids) I don't encounter many fully formed baby people with whom I spend time with.

And even when somebody I do know has a baby, I usually meet it when it’s fresh and just kind of hanging out. It stays in the stroller. I don’t usually volunteer to hold the baby or pick it up because, well, I mean what if I drop it?

People ask me if I’m ready to have kids, hell I’m barely ready to hold them.

I held my former boss’s baby about 5 years ago. It was a very strange experience. The baby just kind of hung out and stared at me. Her eyes were wide open and she was hot like she’d been in an oven. I wasn’t really sure what our interaction was supposed to be like so we just stared at each other while I sat in a chair.

The next time I held a baby was about 2 months ago. My friend had a football playoff party and this nice couple brought their boy baby. The baby’s mother asked me if I wanted to hold him.

I thought for a second before responding that I was OK.

I was curious about holding the baby, I was interested in potentially holding the baby, but want? I didn’t feel a want to hold the baby. So I didn’t.

Well a couple of weeks later we were all at the same apartment for a Super Bowl party and the baby was back. His mother asked me again if I wanted to hold it and I said yes.

I figured if I said no again she’d start to believe I thought there was something wrong with her baby. And I didn’t want her to think that, it seemed like a perfectly good baby. It didn’t cry. It didn’t yell. It just hung out. Kind of like me.

And so I held the baby. And we stared at each other.

And that was pretty much our interaction for the half hour we hung out together.

Two babies in five years and the interaction had been nearly identical. I had no real expectations; these were basically stranger babies that I wasn’t going to ever see again.

But I was about to meet a baby I actually wanted to know. And this baby was older, a full year. It was somebody who probably had favorite foods and colors and a personality. It probably had a blanky and it’s own set of tips and tricks.

It wasn’t until I was actually en route to the brunch where I would meet this baby that I realized…

What if this baby doesn’t like me?

There are plenty of adult people who don't like me. I have kind of gotten used to it, which is not to say I've accepted it. It drives me crazy. But usually people who don’t like you will just lie to your face or ignore you.

But babies typically aren't good at lying. At least I don’t think they are. I really don't know. Like I said I don't know many babies. But I have never had a baby lie to me. If a baby doesn’t want to be held it just cries. If my friends don't want to be held I think they just humor me.

But I want this baby to like me. I NEED this baby to like me. After all, I'm crazy Uncle Ricardo.

You see, a couple of years ago my friends Josh and Marissa got married, and we were talking about the kids they would one day have. Marissa then told me that when they did have kids they would call me Crazy Uncle Ricardo.

Now Crazy Uncle Ricardo can only be one of two characters. Crazy Uncle Ricardo who lives in a tee pee, has a collection of magnets and builds ant farms. That's the Crazy Uncle Ricardo almost nobody wants to be.

But then there is the Crazy Uncle Ricardo that bursts into song and tells funny stories and shows up with donuts and stuff like that. That is the one I want to be.

How could I do that?

The answer was clear: I would bribe the baby.

So I went to the Disney Store to pick up something to make this baby like me. Since I don’t regularly shop at the Disney Store I did not know the store hours and I ended up waiting outside before it opened.

Thank god there was a family with an actual child who got there before me. I felt really strange waiting outside the Disney store. I became very aware of the fact that I was wearing a black coat and sunglasses which also seemed conspicuous.

When the store finally did open I was very glad I was not the first person in the store because Disney a whole big key opening ceremony every single morning. And it involves a procession, a magical lock, and a lot of questions. And the person who actually gets to open the gate is the first person in the door.

I felt a little panicked worrying that this whole shebang would make me late.

Can we just hurry this up? I have a baby to bribe.

But I kept my cool, the ceremony (which was actually pretty cool if you’re a kid) only took a couple of minutes and I was off in no time.

As for how the meeting went?

Well, it went very well. As I found out something like this works like a charm.



Score one for Crazy Uncle Ricardo.

4 comments:

DangGina said...

I understand being nervous to meet an unknown baby who, as it turns out, it's very important that he likes you. I know lots of babies and lots of children (I'm a speech therapist at a pediatric clinic), and I've only ever actually met one kid who didn't like me. I'm good with kids and we seem to mesh. (maybe it's because I'm on their level?)

Anyhoo, about 2.5 years ago, my brother married a gal who had a son who was almost 3 yrs old; I didn't get to meet him till the day before the wedding, and I was NERVOUS! Totally scared that this little kid might not like me, his future aunt!

I did the same thing: Marshall's bday was literally like one week away, so I bought him a present. Hd liked the gift and was pretty excited about it, but he totally loved me. Instantly. I had nothing to worry about; most kids like most people, I think.

Although a gift never hurts, I'm sure...

KG said...

I don't particularly like mushy babies. I don't really like holding them. If they can't hold their own heads up, I don't really want to hold them up either. I don't know when this dislike began...but it seems rational to me.

Once they can hold up their heads and have some kind of personality, I'm all about the little ones.

I'm sure you'll continue to be a great Crazy Uncle Ricardo.

Caroline B said...

I do like babies but can never quite understand the rational behind asking non-immediate family if they want to hold one - unless the parent just wants a rest! (I can so relate to that!)But you have learned the main basic rule of meeting with a small child - bribery. Never fails - I work in an infant school, I know!

Pat said...

I think once you get over your nervousness, you'll find that you will enjoy babies, or probably you'd enjoy small children. You are an entertainer, and kids love to be entertained! But of course, bribery ALWAYS works!