It happened again; or, rather, it happened for the first time at this office. My coworker with whom I share an office brought her 8-month-old child in for the first time. And nothin’. As people crowded my space to see the baby, beg to hold the baby (who clearly didn’t want to be held by anyone other than Mommy), talk to the baby in babytalk and just stare, I quickly went back to work. Wrong answer, apparently.
“Not a big fan of babies, are you?”
Oh no gals, just have a bit of a migraine, I lied. I didn’t want to hold the baby. Sure he was cute and my tiny little Filipino friend was adorable with her son. But the way everyone just ogled and stared, I just didn’t get it. I greeted him, then turned around to work until I started to feel self-conscious that I was not ignoring everything but the baby.
My childfreeness has come up a couple times at work, where it seems to be more accepted than in my suburban jobs, but moments like this just single me out and people start asking uncomfortable questions. It seems weird when I don’t pay attention to the kid. I just don’t care, and sometimes I wish I did at least a little. I can appreciate a cute baby, but it’s a glance and move on sort of thing. I’m the same way with puppies. They’re nice to look at for a bit, but then on to different things. Apparently this makes me weird.
And it was noticed.
Usually my friend opens the day with a funny story about the baby, and it’s cute. It’s part of who she is. Since this incident (and it feels like an “incident”), I initiate conversations about him. It’s like a rift was erected… oh, SHE didn’t want to hold Anthony, she didn’t want to play with him or goo-goo-gaa-gaa at him. What’s her problem?
And it makes me sad. I’m glad we’re moving desks next week and I won’t be sitting next to her, because while I’ve really enjoyed sitting beside her, there’s a palpable awkwardness that’s just stupid and it doesn’t need to be there.