Mozart and Desertification supporters insist that 2006 is their year but what 2006 is shaping out to be is the year of the baby. Baby watch frenzy has reached a fever pitch as a motherlode of celebrities pop buns out of their ovens this year: Gwyneth Paltrow, Katie Holmes, Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, Brooke Shields, Gwen Stefani, etc.
On the personal front, a few female relatives and a co-worker are all pregnant. I've rubbed tummies (with their consent) and shopped for baby stuff more than ever before.
Then there are the questions about when I am going to contribute to the population. These are usually accompanied with sage advice like, "Because you're not getting any younger" or "You don't want to be an old mother."
I am not adverse to having a baby, especially in the face of such peer pressure. When both Angelina and your cousin are (practically) pushing their enlarged torsos in your face, who doesn't wave their arms in surrender and start listening for the patter of little feet?
Like military training, I have started acclimatizing myself for my own bundle of joy. While I haven't actually stopped using contraceptives, I have taken other measures:
- when a baby starts wailing on public transit, I now force myself to smile and enjoy the sounds as opposed to covering my ears while humming or jumping out/through the window
- sleep deprivation and vigilance are expected by any new parent. To simulate similar conditions, I stay up late playing video games then check on my spouse from time to time with questions like "Do you want some milk?" or "Don't you have to work tomorrow?".
- I stare at other people's children, trying to see their positive and cute traits. For instance, kids are adorable when they are bundled up like baby seals and their flesh is probably equally soft and juicy ... perfect for stroking with motherly love, of course.
These are baby steps towards my ultimate goal of joining everyone else on the bandwagon. To see Britney pregnant again, within three months of giving birth, convinces me that if she or any unspayed animal at the Humane Society can do it, so can I.