Babies are assholes.
There. I said it.
They’re little jerks who steal our time, our money, our social lives, our sleep, our personal drive. They make every moment about them-them-them and they never say thank you. Seriously. Don’t have one. Never have one. No one should ever have one.
Sure, all this asshole behavior might be because they can’t talk. But even if they could, they wouldn’t appreciate anything. Kids don’t really develop a sense of gratitude (as in a real, deep sense and not just pleases and thank-yous) until they’re not really kids anymore. Until they have a real-life apprenticeship or go away to college. Until they have a sense of what we went through with their jerkasses, if they have jerkasses of their own. So even if they had the words please and thank you as babies, they’d use them to beg for more time, more contact, more MORE! See? Jerks.
I didn’t know any of this when we tried for years to have a baby. I didn’t think he was an accoutrement like a purse or a pair of shoes, either. I just didn’t think he’d be such a jerk. I seriously do not understand why we’re killing the planet with our overpopulation. How can so many billions of us exist? How can all of us survived this most asshole time of life? (I’m not advocating abuse, of course, just marveling at mothers’ and fathers’ and mothers’ and mothers’ and fathers’ and fathers’ ability to put up with asshole babies.)
What I realized by the time he was here awhile is that I didn’t want a baby. I wanted a kid. How many days I wished I could pour water on him and he’d expand and grow like a dime-store sponge toy. How many nights I wanted to max out my credit card and fly far, far away from that horrible crying sound. How often I wished I could fast-forward the years until he was a well-behaved, verbal four-year-old who enjoyed playing dress-up and reading about dinosaurs.
But he’s here to stay and I am too. And we’re starting to figure each other out. It’s only taken a year. It’s only taken until he’s not really a baby anymore. But I suppose I take at least that long to get to know anyone. To see through the selfish, jerkface nature of any average person.
And there’s the rub. My jerkass son has taught me so much about that. He taught me that we all start out as jerks and it’s up to us, the parents and caregivers and adults of the world, to teach us how not to be. How to have empathy. How to share. How to see beyond our noses and the snot that comes out of them. How to be fully human. Not just another asshole.