Thursday, 2 October 2008

Of Babies

I guess there are lots of things in life that I don't understand, and probably never will.

Reborn babies are one of them.

Perhaps, I have never developed the maternal instinct in me. I never particularly liked dolls when I was a kid, either.

My Barbie™ dolls usually had their arms and legs mutilated not too long after they came into my possession. (Lego™ sets were more my thing - assembling and disassembling - which is probably why I ended up being an engineer.)

The truth is, I think I've never really figured out why women like babies, though I can understand why most women like men. :-)

Men make great companions. They like to:-

1) argue all the time,
2) fix stuff and find solutions,
3) protect women,
4) buy gifts for women,
5) make women laugh,
6) be taken care of (men are the biggest babies in the world),
7) eat up women's unfinished meals,
8) drive the car,
9) put a comforting arm round the waist

.... among others.

One day, I'm going to find a truly annoying man and decide I want to spend the rest of my life being irritated by him.

But in spite of the exceptional genetics that I possess - my obvious intelligence and my stunning good looks (ahem) - I'm not all that inclined to breed.

In fact, the only reasons I would consider having a baby, would be firstly, to appease my parents who cannot wait to display a grandchild to all and sundry. (I apologise in advance to people who know my parents.)

And secondly, because I'd want to clone my other half - the above-mentioned annoying man - because I think it would actually be emotionally fulfilling to also care for a miniature version of him.

Unfortunately, I'm very aware that the baby would also share my genetics.

Possibly not the (overstated and overestimated) good ones, but more of the smart-ass attitude that was obviously not mentioned in the instruction manuals my mother received at the UH maternity ward when I made my grand entrance.

Now that is truly scary.

My mother once cursed me, in a fit of apoplexy. She said, "I hope you have a child that turns out EXACTLY like you."

So that's why I'm staying off kids for now.

But what befuddles me, is why women who would like to carry, play with, and take for a walk, what looks like a real baby but isn't real at all.

A baby that doesn't bear any reason for emotional attachment.

It's like how the Vikings are taking over the world.

Scary shit.

Related: Women who collect lifelike dolls


Patricia said...

I really think I should introduce you to my daughter! She shares your views to the T! You two'd get along just fine!

And no, we've not asked for grandkids - and it looks like both my offspring don't plan to provide any anyway.

I always knew I wanted children. And so I had two. Many others really don't want them, but still have them - and that is sad. Because deciding to not have them is going to be harder than having them - society can be mean and intrusive. So can in-laws.

But you're just one-half of the couple now. See what you think when you find the other half. If you change your mind, good. If you don't - I salute you for knowing your mind.

Women are not just baby machines. If we don't want to reproduce, we needn't. If you need to mother somebody, there are enough bodies out there to mother.

And about men, all those things in the list - a woman can do just as well. But it is the '... among others' that I'm so addicted to!


walla said...

On babies
When they're in the womb, you play mozart music and read goethe's quotations to them and say 'i love you' in so many tender ways. You can feel them move as if showing their approval.

When they're little, you crawl under the crib with a torchlight at three in the morning to catch that pesky mosquito, and as you make them milk while you're still psyching your eyelids to open, you scorch your hand with hot water, thereby achieving the objective of waking yourself up, while your heart still palpitates from lack of sleep, and after you feed them, you tenderly stroke their backs so that you can hear those satisfying burps.

When they're little girls, you elbow your way around in the crowded warehouse sale a snarling madman, and you come home with a trunkful of barbie dolls that fill the whole boot. Not the ordinary ones. The premium ones with prissy dresses and motorised parts. And there they stand by the gate as if knowing he will have something for them.

When they're teens, their minds go completely independent. Their hormones run the gamut, and their personality turns tangential to yours. The planets around their universe now revolve about their friends and programs. Until they come back, you pace the house, look out the door and say a prayer or two, all the while muttering to yourself. Occasionally you blast the government for making you distrustful of everything under the sun that shines on this land.

And then one day when you can get them to sit still for a minute and not fiddle with their hand-phones or oggle at the next man on some soapy tv drama, you sing to them that old lullaby from yesteryear, the one you had composed along as you were singing it to try and lull them to sweet sleep. Suddenly there's a hush in the room when that something in their past as babies comes back to them.

In that pristine moment of quietness when time finally connects, their eyes say:

'it's alright, papa. we know.'

On women and men
Women's integrated circuits are three-dimensional. They're observers, commentators and supporters. Men are hunters, protectors and providers. Their integrated circuits are simpler, two-dimensional and almost italian in their branding. Veni vidi vici.

True love takes place when the two circuits somehow mesh and everything simplifies to one dimension. The oscilloscope goes rapidly sinusoidal. When that happens, expect some fireworks. Stars even.

Einstein would be aghasted how his theory has been given a new twist in this 21st century. The latest theory however says reality has eleven dimensions. That would be a challenge indeed.

Women can do everything men can do. Men cannot do two things women can do. Produce babies. And breastfeed them.

The end.

(shall i change my name to escape unbridled scorn?)

Axinar said...

Good heavens ... your moms looked like such a nice, polite young lady.

You get your crankiness from your dad's side, eh? :)

zewt said...

those babies look scary!!!???!!! yeah, why would anyone wanna even buy one at all?

Knights Templar said...

I listen to the voices of dismayed women who do not define themselves as instinctively maternal. Yet the defensive cries ruminate not from a childless void, but from within a society of the idolized mother figure. They cringe at being criticized, accused and taunted by mothers of young children who cannot comprehend such a betrayal of the female caricature. When under this critical fire the non-maternal begin to wonder why it is that they cannot connect with the want to want to have children. They question their inner voices and feel there must be something "wrong" with them. When they are with their child-free friends, they can comfortably feel the bliss of adult conversation and periods of uninterrupted silence. They enjoy vacations, work and home life unencumbered with child related demands or emergencies. Yet when the scrutiny hits they again enter the loop of questioning their vital femininity.

So, why is there this split dichotomy among women, and why all of the turmoil? There seems to be several layers to this issue of the ultimate Madonna - the female maternal instinct.

First, I see the ever present emphasis on the pregnant woman and the Mother Idolism Myth - the marble Madonna figure with child poised idyllically on the ornately chiseled pedestal. It is the psychological "mother earth/mother of God" symbol that has been so romanticized that the image of a childless woman seems nearly occult in comparison. Under the pressure of this idealized vision the non-maternal woman begins to look at herself as "childless" and sees something not so venerable as the lovely Madonna. Suddenly her value as a woman is diminished and she feels that in some way that she has failed her gender. She bounces back and forth between the bliss and the angst of a child-free life.

Next there is the Western Want Syndrome. We think we are just fine, then there is always someone entering the scene that seems to be happier than we are. It suddenly becomes a powerful trigger to want what it is that they have in order to achieve "real" happiness. Suddenly your own happiness isn't good enough anymore. We are dutifully trained to respond to others' happiness with jealousy and this is compounded with the never ending influx of the media flashing images of what "happiness" really looks like. It triggers feelings of inadequacy, spawning the new desire for the "ideal" happiness that someone else gets to have and you don't. Many times this image of happiness is immortalized by the "perfect family" scene; the slender blonde mother splashing along the shoreline in her white gauze summer dress, handsome and fashionable smiling father lifting the angelic curly locked two year old up toward the blue of summer sky - all in slow motion. The child-free woman suddenly becomes captivated and craves the wanting of it, and again falls short.

Then there is the "us-we" and "them-they" disease. We tend to cluster ourselves with a particular sect of people that form the "us." They have similar belief systems which serve to bolster our own. We feel secure, validated in this circle of friends. Anyone outside of "us" is "them." Sometimes there is the self-proclaimed non-maternal friend who begins to feel a stirring of maternal instinct. She begins to mention the want of it and the friendship circle begins to feel wobbly. If members of our "us" team begin to turn their attention to "them" we feel betrayed, less powerful and somehow infiltrated. Suddenly we feel marginal and we begin to break down. Members of our "us" team are suddenly one of the dreaded "them." The childfree sister-friend becomes the mother who raises the eyebrow at the non-maternal. She begins to defend her new position. She is now a member of the "they" team.

"They" are perceived as the volatile enemy. "They" invade your sense of self by attempting to erode your perceived happiness. "They" also suffer from the Western Want Syndrome. "They" see others' happiness and want what they have. In the case of the non-maternal woman "they" are the mothers who long for the relinquished freedom of being child-free. Sometimes, the raised eyebrow is couched jealousy; suspicion masking the longing. Sometimes "they" question their own decision to bear children, to yield to the "maternal instinct."

So, what is the non-maternal woman to do? Love where you are, want what you have, feel your core beliefs and know that they are valid with or without approval and generate a support system that you can be flexible with. Most importantly, don't be hooked by the big lie - that your happiness is not good enough; that being "maternal" is a fact of nature; that the society of women who choose to bear children reserve the entitlement to question your maternal instincts and the choices that you make.

ewoon said...

Beside being a "smart ass," you can be funny, too. No?

Anyway, this post made me smile!

*** A correction on your "Malaysia Today receives over a million hits" a day in your Walking The Talk post ***

At the Wharf one evening just before his incarceration, i asked the man himself for confirmation as to MT's hits per day (as i had been going round and telling people that it was over 2 million per day.)True to his blunt style, without the rudeness or offense, he told me point blank that it was 15-20M per day. No mistake, the M stands for millions. After hearing what i was told, guess how many 'engineers' it took to finally figure out how to get my lower jaw back up? (2 beers for the right answer :-)

Crankster said...


haha, I'd probably get along with your daughter pretty well!

You're right - the world sees a woman as a mother and not an individual in her own right. Which is why a woman who either cannot or chooses not to have a child is viewed with a slant.

I haven't made an absolute decision on having children. It's not a definite 'yes' or 'no' at this point. More of 'see-how-things-come-along'.

You're addicted to the "...among others" eh? ;-)

Crankster said...

Walla, that was such a sweet piece. So you hunted down mosquitoes down to the crevice under the crib, huh? That's dedication, I'm telling ya.

As for men and women, the last time I checked, a woman needed the male component to have babies. I don't reckon we can be independent of each other.

I'm perfectly happy to admit that there are a lot of times when I need (and cherish) a man's assistance.

I guess I come from an environment where I'm not discriminated against and I feel free to admit my weaknesses, instead of just displaying my strengths.

Crankster said...

Axinar, what crankiness would you be referring to now? I'll have you know that I'm a fine, young woman.

I think I look more like my dad, and I probably inherited the personality from mom. I thought we had this discussion, like, 2 years ago? :)

Crankster said...

Zewt, my point exactly. I don't know why anyone would buy it and they cost USD1000 a piece.

Crankster said...

Knights, thanks for the article, man. What unnerves me is the whole maternal thing, where women are supposed to ignore everything else but their kid.

Now I know men do get obsessed with their new toys - be it cars, motorcycles or boats. But while they are chastised, women are applauded for their single-minded devotion to their new... living, breathing, toy.

What I find unappealing about this whole child-bearing thing is that there are too many rules.

If the kid takes a tumble and scrapes his knee, I don't feel compelled to drop everything, rush to his side and scream murder and insist on taking him to the hospital to get an x-ray.

Maybe he'd get a kiss and a hug, but you can be sure of some stinging purple potassium permanganate as well.

It's like hysteria and hype are prerequisites to good motherhood.

I wonder when someone will show up to knowingly tell me that I'll change my mind once I have that kid.

Crankster said...

Ewoon, thanks for the compliment.

15 to 20 million hits?? Whoa. 3 engineers? 1 to review the drawings, 1 to analyse your jaw structure and the other to assemble your jaw components back?

Is this like the lightbulb thingy then?

walla said...

Can i borrow $25?
(for aspiring parents)

A man came home from work late, tired and irritated, to find his 5-year old son waiting for him at the door.

SON: 'Daddy, may I ask you a question?'

DAD: 'Yeah sure, what it is?' replied the man.

SON: 'Daddy, how much do you make an hour?'

DAD: 'That's none of your business. Why do you ask such a thing?' the man said angrily.

SON: 'I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?'

DAD: 'If you must know, I make $50 an hour.'

SON: 'Oh,' the little boy replied, with his head down.

SON: 'Daddy, may I please borrow $25?'

The father was furious, 'If the only reason you asked that is so you can borrow some money to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you are being so selfish. I don't work hard everyday for such childish frivolities.'

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even angrier about the little boy's questions. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money?

After about an hour or so, the man had calmed down , and started to think:

Maybe there was something he really needed to buy with that $25.00 and he really didn't ask for money very often The man went to the door of the little boy's room and opened the door.

'Are you asleep, son?' He asked.

'No daddy, I'm awake,' replied the boy.

'I've been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier' said the man. 'It's been a long day and I took out my aggravation on you. Here's the $25 you asked for.'

The little boy sat straight up, smiling. 'Oh, thank you daddy!' he yelled. Then, reaching under his pillow he pulled out some crumpled up bills.

The man saw that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.

The little boy slowly counted out his money, and then looked up at his father.

'Why do you want more money if you already have some?' the father grumbled.

'Because I didn't have enough, but now I do,' the little boy replied.

'Daddy, I have $50 now. Can I buy an hour of your time? Please come home early tomorrow. I would like to have dinner with you.'

The father was crushed. He put his arms around his little son, and he begged for his forgiveness.

Antares said...

Such literate readers on this blog who leave such thoughtful, leisurely, "Reader's Digestive" comments. I'll keep mine brief just to be different.

Lovely vibes here, you and Pat must be soulsisters :-)

Crankster said...

LOL Antares, must be then!

I've taken to reading your blog, Magick River as well - under the recommendation of Pat. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Crankster

I felt exactly the way you do now when I was your age...:) Believe it or not, I have a pic of myself and mom like the one you posted!! How uncanny!

I hated dolls and all the girlie stuff and grew up with toy guns and cars and the few dolls that I were maimed because I amputated their limbs, and they looked like Cinderella because of the awful hair jobs I gave them.

Having said that, I never felt the maternal instinct (er yes, I am female) and even after getting married, hubby and I did not feel the need to breed until six years after our marriage.

And when I had my two boys, horror of horrors, one of them turned out to be my mirror image.

For nine years, I fumbled as a mother and it was only when my second boy was born that I realized that heck - I am not such a bad mom after all!!!

And now, I don't think I can ever live without the three guys in my life.

Whatever your choice in life, I am sure you will do very well because you strike me as one who knows what you want and what are your responsibilities.

Am glad you read Antares...I recommended his blog to Pat who recommended it to you. Pat told me about your blog and here I am! ;)

Pleased to meet you and hope we can be friends.

All the best to you.

Crankster said...

Thanks for your story, masterwordsmith, it makes me feel better about the whole maternal instinct thing.

We seem to have this whole networking thing going on. :) Thanks for dropping by. I'd love for us to be friends.