I have been feeling oddly maternal lately. All of this started when I ventured into the Baby Gap a few weeks ago to buy a shower present for a family member. Soft cotton clothes in light pastel colors, mini baseball caps and itsy-bitsy socks surrounded me. And, much like a cartoon anvil comes crashing down on the unsuspecting coyote, my maternal instincts rushed through me.
It has only been recently that I've even owned up to the fact that one day I do want children. (One day. Not now. No no no. Not now.) So feeling overtly maternal, well, was more than slightly unexpected.
As I sauntered through the Baby Gap choosing between leaf green baby snugglies and soft fleece blankets, I was locked in a sort of intense daydream about children and having them.
(I swear, I just lost every last male reader I ever had. Ever. Guys do NOT want to hear about the wanting of the children. At least, I find that they don't. Or the ones I know don't.)
"Don't you just love that?" a saleswoman asked me, as I fingered a twee nightgown with a bottom that tied closed. "It is so perfect at night when you don't want to be messing with snaps. I always put my baby to sleep in that."
I smiled and contemplated the size. The nightgown looked small. I could not imagine a person fitting inside of it. I was about to ask her how big, say, a three-month-old child was when she interrupted me.
"How old is your child?"
I was taken aback. I am not a Mom! I do not give off a Mom vibe! I was on my way to dinner with the ladies before seeing "Brokeback Mountain" for crying out loud. I was staying out late. On a weeknight!
"Oh, I don't have one. I am, you know, shopping. For a baby shower."
She seemed disappointed that I wasn't a member of her special baby nightgown club. And at that moment, I have to admit that I was too. I selected a baby outfit with a darling matching hat that is reversible (to give baby more fashion choices) and left the world of tiny trousers behind me. I felt a slight longing for kids while at the actual shower, but in general, the feeling waned.
A few weeks later I was watching my younger cousins one evening. They were miraculously well-behaved, eating bowls full of gumbo like mad and generally entertaining themselves with video games. They didn't even fight me when it came time for baths.
The younger one was all dressed in his pajamas and sitting on the couch when I walked by straightening up. His hair was a little damp and it was pointing every which was but normal.
I smiled, grabbed a comb and smoothed his hair into place so it wouldn't dry all askew.
"You look like a nice little boy now," I assured him and kissed him on the forehead.
He got a devilish look in his eyes.
"Do I look handsome?"
He turned his head, pursed his lips and batted his long eyelashes, showing off his carefully groomed hair.
"Yes, babe, you look very handsome. Very handsome indeed." I smiled. And those maternal instincts fluttered a bit in my stomach.
Just now, I overheard a coworker talking to her child on the phone. She had this fabulous animated tone, so much happier than her normal tone.
"There was a fire truck at work today! Can you believe it?" She relayed the story to her son.
"No, no. There wasn't a fire. Or smoke. No, no one was smoking inside the building," she laughed.
She paused and I could tell that the child was talking.
"Yes, dear. You are right. It is not good for people to smoke inside the building," she said very seriously.
And now it's back. Stupid silly feeling maternal.
I will knock this feeling, I will. I'm so going to dinner with the girls on Friday night, staying out waaaay late, flirting with boys, drinking wine and wearing uncomfortable shoes. I will be young and fabulous and irresponsible and I will prove that I am no more fit to be a mother than Britney "Look at my baby drive!" Spears.
Hear that, Maternal Instinct? I'll show you!