I know. I know. This is the last thing you’d ever expect to hear from me. It’s very off-brand, and frankly, I’m as confused about it as you are. I never thought this day would come. When this year began, I was just your average dude who loved cheap beer, day drinking, and getting overly competitive at casual rec league sports. Of course, none of that has changed. I still love all of those things. But something else has arisen. From deep inside me, I feel a yearning I can’t control. It’s like a sickness, a virus I’ve caught. Perhaps even an illness.
It’s official, I’m a dude with baby fever.
It all started a couple weeks ago. I was walking around the mall with my mom so she could buy me a winter coat (because I’m a baby myself), and I saw an adorable little kid. Like, hamming it up, chubby cheeks, smiling and waving at everyone he passed in his stroller, adorable. Shit was cute. Contrary to what all of my ex-girlfriends have screamed at me at some point in our relationship, I do have a heart. And that chunky baby stole it. “So what?” you ask, “Everyone thinks babies are cute.” Not true. Up until a few months ago, I was not a fan of any human being below the age of 19 (I guess I like my brother). Babies were annoying, crying, grating, tiny devils, and little kids just seemed like a nightmare.
I’d watch a dad try and wipe some unknown filth off his crying offspring’s face, and I’d thank every god I could think of that I never managed to knock a girl up in college, despite taking zero precautions to prevent it. (Seriously, no precautions. I don’t think I wore a condom or pulled out at any point in my five-year college career, and the fact that I have no children or STDs today is my greatest accomplishment). I’d hear people talk about how cute a kid is, or how adorable their newborn niece or nephew is, and I wouldn’t get it. Sure, if a baby stops screaming and shitting themselves long enough I can see how they’re tolerable, but when does that even happen?
But anyway, as Roy Moore would say, back to the story about this cute baby at the mall. After seeing this kid in the stroller, I made a terrible mistake. I turned to my mom and told her about my changing opinion. I told her how recently, I’ve started thinking babies are cute instead of screaming hell beasts. I knew as soon as the words escaped my lips that I had made fucked up. This is the woman who has been dreaming of grandchildren since her own kids had grown out of the “cute child” phase and into the “horrible teenager” chapter. She grabbed my arm with the ferocity of a starving lioness who had caught a gazelle unaware, and the “OoooOOooh” noise she made echoed throughout the aisles of Nordstrom Rack. She looked at my horrified face and “whispered” loud enough for the entire store to hear, “Looks like it’s finally happening. Someone has baby feverrrrr!”
Despite what my mom may think or want, let me make something clear. I do not want to have a kid anytime soon. I have a mountain of debt, a career I just started, and I don’t know what city or state I’ll be in a year from now. Not to mention the fact that I am in no way ready to stop blacking out at shitty bars or become anything resembling a mature adult. All I’m saying is, for the first time in my life, the idea of having kids is appealing to me. I always thought I would want them, of course, but actually thinking about having them was terrifying. Now, when I think about teaching my son how to throw a football accurately (after someone teaches me, I guess), or going to my daughter’s school play, or even when I see some poor sap wearing one of those baby carriers, it doesn’t sound so bad.
Sure, it’s not much of a change. I’m still adamant in my stance that I will never change a baby’s diaper in my life. The idea of spending my Saturday watching six-year-olds chase a soccer ball round sounds like my personal hell. I’m still terrified of holding someone else’s child. But, if it was offered today, I think I could hold a baby. Not for that long, and I’m not going to, like, actually take care of it or anything, but I would hold it. It’s official, I’m taking small steps towards being a father (in 5+ years). .