Friday, November 18, 2005


We spent our first full weekend back from our honeymoon with my best friend, her husband, and their two sons -- T, who is 3, and N, who's already pushing 5 months. I came to a very satisfying realization this past weekend.

1. I love and adore those boys
2. Nope. Definitely don't want one

I couldn't have been prouder when T took to us immediately, as though he remembered us from our visit when they lived outside Vancouver. Little N seemed to like us lots too -- and what a good baby! Seriously, I've never been around a baby his age for such an extended period of time who was so low-maintenance. ADORABLE!! We played with T, let him show off all his favorite toys. It was a really fun afternoon and exactly what we needed.

But it wasn't T's meltdown that reassured me. Three-year-olds have meltdowns, especially when they're overtired, overstimulated, and not getting their usual amount of attention because mommy and daddy want to talk to their guests. It happens and it's understandable. It's part of the job. And it wasn't that he woke up earlier than anybody wanted to, or that we had to change the channel and watch cartoons with him in the morning. We wanted to do that. It's part of the job.

You see, that's the entire thing. It's a job. It's a full-time, 24/7 job. Their lives revolve around their children. We waited to go out at night so she could feed the baby. Again, not a problem, we didn't mind in the least. But again, the kids were the center of the universe. As they should be, mind you, but A and I felt very secure in the fact that we don't want to live in that universe. It's fun to visit, to play with the kids, to keep them occupied while the parents get stuff accomplished. And we love these kids. But 24/7 seems like a bit much.

It's the same thing when I spend an extended period of time with my niece. I honestly feel like I couldn't love her more if she were my own. I feel protective of her, I want to be with her, I want to be her role-model and I worry about her a lot. I brag about her constantly to people at work and proudly show off new photos. I secretly find it super-cool that she looks a lot like me. BUT, I don't want the commitment of taking care of her full-time, having my life revolve around ANYTHING, even a child.

At the office I hear constantly about parents' weekends dominated by their kids' activities, struggling to figure out which child's event to go to when their schedules conflict. Baby-sitter emergencies ruin date night plans, sick children require vacation days to be drained. It just doesn't sound like fun. Yes, they can look at you with their big eyes like T does, and that makes it worth it... for you. It's just not enough payoff for me.

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