Thursday, April 23, 2009

Baby Talk - Sort Of

There’s a new kid in the family and every one of us is excited! Little Leila looks just like her dad when she was a day old, so much so that when my brother joked: “Am I really the father of this child?!” he was immediately shot down by everyone with: “Duh! She totally takes after you!”. Now that she’s about a week old, she’s starting to look a bit like her mother, but we’re not complaining. :D

That’s the good part of this entry. The bad part is that I’m trying NOT to write the Top 5 Reasons Why I’m Not Meant Ready To Procreate (Which Totally Does Not Include The Entry “Because She Has No Sperm Donor Husband Yet”) and I’m discovering new reasons each day. I love kids, I really do.I especially love them if I can give them back to their parents. But childbirthing scares the crap out of me. I try not to listen when mothers are exchanging war stories about the time they gave birth, whether of the normal or CS variety. Then you have to actually take care of the child. On Leila's first weekend at home, my mom and I had to look after her because my sister-in-law had a fever. And she was bawling like a… well, baby. Seriously, hearing a baby cry makes me panicky. It’s a bit scary, not knowing exactly what was wrong with her (though I learned later that it’s probably because of two things: either she’s hungry or she just finished pooping and wants to get cleaned). Plus you have to adapt to her body clock; as of now, Leila is totally awake at night (and after midnight, too). I’m not in a rush to become a mother.

I’m not immune to the whole “parenthood is very rewarding” thing. I’ve seen how becoming a father made my eldest brother a more responsible, more patient, less temperamental person and I like how much he dotes on my nephew. I can see the same thing with my new-dad brother: he’s normally stoic but you can sense his excitement and nervousness when his wife went into labor. He changes the diaper, washes the bottles, arranges the crib and puts the baby to sleep. (I try not to laugh at his choice of lullaby (it’s that TV ad that goes: “bata ka pa pero kaya mo na…”) because I haven’t even attempted to sing a lullaby to Leila). (And I know I came across as too surprised that my brothers are this involved in the parenting of their children but that’s not because I don’t believe men are not responsible enough, only that my brothers are not exactly the most dependable brothers around.)

Parenting is a, pardon the cliché, 24/7 job. You don’t even have performance bonuses to look forward to for doing a good job. Right now, seeing Leila stop squirming to pay attention to our cooing and baby-talking (or non baby-talking - most of us talk to her like she’s an adult already) is our sort of reward. It's kind of nice, really.

But I don’t see why parenthood should be the only path to a rewarding life. I’m not trying to make this into a single vs. married debate, what I just want to say is that just because I’m about to become an old maid still single doesn’t mean I'm not happy now or I won’t have a satisfying life. I’m not in a hurry to hook up with the next available man just because my biological clock is ticking. This is not because I just want to rebel against society’s norms or because I think that marriage sucks or I have a great dislike for the opposite sex (totally not true!:p). Maybe I’ll get married. Maybe I won’t. I refuse to worry about those things and I refuse to change the way I deal with it just to make myself marry-able. I want to be responsible for my life, and isn’t that how you start your path to becoming a good parent? That before you can bring another person into this cruel world and be responsible for that child’s life, you must know how to take care of yourself first?

So, yeah, right now I am nowhere near being a Mom. I hope one day I could be. In the meantime, I must learn not to panic when little Leila starts to cry.

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