If you’ve already decided that I’m a monster, I can’t help you. The simple reality for me is that I’m not into the chaotic, noisy, unpredictable and demanding nature of babies and children. When I’m around them, I get uncomfortable, anxious and frustrated. A lot of my friends have kids, and they know (or, at least they do now) that I’m not going to reach for their baby when I come into the room. I’m not mean to children, but I don’t have the energy or the desire to constantly engage with them on the level that they require.
I don’t generally bring up my stance on having kids unless I’m asked directly. I make an extra effort to inquire about other people’s kids, partly because I want to be a good ambassador for child-free folks in establishing that we’re not all hateful goblins gleefully plotting the extinction of the human race, and partly because my friends are funny and they have funny kids and I like hearing about the weird-ass, adorable, and/or terrible things they do. For all my aversion to and disinterest in parenting, I still see the appeal. I watch my friends with their kids, and notice how happy they are, and I think, “I totally get why people are into this.” And while I know we’re on the same page now, I occasionally worry about Patrick changing his mind. Because he’s human. And because for all that barfing and shitting all over the place that kids seem to be so very fond of, most of them grow out of it. They play baseball and tell crazy stories with their stuffed animals. They’re people you can someday teach to play the guitar and love 19th-century feminist literature. But the truth is, I’m a little bit scared of kids. I haven’t hung out with them much (I’m an only child, so is Patrick) and when I do, results are mixed. They frequently cry at me. Or run away. Or look at me like I’m the world’s biggest asshole for asking about their dinosaur toys. Obviously, they can sense fear. I prefer to keep company with people who at least barf at predictable post-tequila intervals.