Well, my little Single poppets, if there is one thing most of you and I have in common it is the lack of the patter of little feet in the home.
The pattering stage is not my favourite, though. My favourite baby stage is when they are crawling. When they are really tiny and still kind of purple and their eyes are not focused and there's some mysterious crushable place on their poor tiny heads, I'm a bit terrified of their helplessness.
And then when they put on some fat and develop neck muscles so they can hold up their own heads but mostly just lie there, they're a bit dull. But when they begin to roll around and figure out crawling, then they get exciting.
It can be heartrending watching a poor baby desperately trying to crawl towards some toy and not quite making it. I am terribly tempted just to get them the toy, especially if they cry with frustration. However, I think it is better to encourage them to try again. And when babies do manage mobility, they seem absolutely delighted with their new powers. Usually they crawl backwards at first. Then they figure out how to crawl forwards. Then they crawl speedily everywhere, and anxious adults have to comb the carpet for the tiny objects babies long to swallow.
I very much enjoy visiting crawling babies because then I can get down on the floor and crawl around myself. Life after 18 months can be a drag, so it is great just to get down there and crawl again. Babies have a lot of cool toys, too. Two of the parish babies (now, alas, abroad) had an amazing spinning top of which I could never get enough.
Sometimes, though, after playing with babies--although not right after, usually not until the next Sunday Mass--I wonder where my baby is. How come I don't have a baby? What's wrong with me? How come I wasn't chosen to be a baby mother? I'm a nice lady. And I don't smoke crack or shoot heroin. I'm even married. So what is the deal, Lord? I don't see why I shouldn't have a nice baby that I can take home and keep.
This, however, is a dangerous line of thought and leads to crying in the choir stalls and possibly the altar servers wondering why. ("Maybe he beats her.") It is better just to think about the babies who exist already and how cute they are. Fortunately, there are always new babies. People are always having new babies. Unless they are, of course, me.
I would love to tell you what a comfort the medical establishment is at such a time, but I cannot. And unfortunately this is where culture shock and the British brand of socialized medicine and political correctness all play a part. When I finally did have the courage to talk to a doctor, I was handed a scary looking kit and told to test myself for a Horrible Social Disease of which I have no symptoms except, apparently, childlessness. So I went home and did nothing. Of all the things you can say to a childless woman, "Hey, go home and test yourself for syphilis" has got to be among the worst.
The result has been petrified inertia. I wrote "Roman Catholic" on my registration form, but God only knows why they asked, because certainly no-one at the medical centre seems to have taken on board that there are some issues around reproduction that Roman Catholics are very sensitive about, especially if we ourselves did not go to medical school. Never has my Torono family doctor--Lutheran, mind you, pro-choice but perfectly aware I'm not--seemed so far. And nobody mention Naprotechnology or I will have a stroke. This isn't Ireland. All anyone here can think about is IVF.
And nobody mention adoption either. Thousands of Scottish babies, or, as the NHS nurse who was extolling folic acid to Catholic me corrected herself, fetuses die from violence every year.
Any nobody cry for me. I have two nephews and a niece. There are babies in my immediate social circle. Other friends in my social circle are very likely to have babies themselves. I am not totally deprived here. I'm just feeling cranky.
Update: And now for something complete different: my random scrapbook of Polish stuff.