When I was 11 or 12 I bought a baby doll with my allowance. We were visiting my grandmother and for some reason that was the time to buy this particular doll. If you are of my generation you may remember this doll...it had a diaper that you took off and swirled in a bowl of warm water. The diaper melted away and you were left with a plastic packet telling you the gender of your baby---perhaps even a name, I can't precisely recall. Anyway, I had seen the commercials of the surprise gender reveal and the little girls having a joyful reaction. I was all for that. I realize now that I was pretty much only interested in the magic disappearing diaper.
When I got the doll back to my grandmother's house I borrowed a bowl and went into her bathroom. I filled the bowl with warm water and removed the baby from the packaging. I dutifully placed the paper diaper into the bowl of water. It didn't magically disappear, instead it kind of turned into wet paper pulp and from that pulp I was able to extract the certificate. It was a girl. I wonder if there were boys? This doll was marketed to little girls and I imagine the demand for girl dolls was pretty high. Anyway, I tried to play with the doll, but the interest wasn't really there. She found her way to a box in the closet at home and then eventually a new home. I just wasn't really that maternal I guess. I wasn't one of those kinds of kids.
I see those girls now that I am a mother. You know the type, usually a pre-teen girl. She spots a baby and her eyes glaze over, she coos from across the room and flutters over to a given baby, hoping that she might hold it for just a moment. I don't judge that, but I don't get it either.
Growing up I mothered my brothers. I couldn't help it. I was overbearing and ridiculously overprotective. In high school and college I had friends who needed mothering and often found myself, somewhat uncomfortably, in the position of mother. Oddly, or perhaps as a result, I never was that girl who swooned over the newly born. Babies were all good and well, but I never found myself eagerly anticipating the days when I would become a mother.
So it always confused me when people seemed to think I was just aching to become a mother, as though I held a secret calendar and quietly marked off the days until I could become a mother. I always figured that I would be a mother, but I didn't feel any rush. I was busy doing stuff and that mother version of me seemed to be living in a different world.
When I was ready for motherhood I did feel a gentle pull, but it wasn't urgent. I just kind of knew that it was time. I was very excited to be a mother, but I was never that baby crazy lady. Once I became pregnant I did begin to take note of other people's children, mostly from a scientific perspective. I was vaguely worried. Would I be a detached mother? Why wasn't I nuts about babies?
Then I met my own kids and I realized that I was totally crazy about them specifically. I also really care about children that belong to my friends and children/babies in a general sense.I am just not one of those baby crazy types. I enjoy other people's children. Sometimes I even feel the need to step in, but when I see a baby I don't feel like I need a piece of that sweetness. I celebrate the joys of others as they move into parenthood. I am thrilled to hear about the developments and milestones, but all from a warm distance. I am a mother, but I am not baby crazy. Both types are fine and both make great mothers. What type are you?