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Tony Grist

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A Conversation About Babies [Apr. 8th, 2009|12:26 pm]
Tony Grist
"Now there are real babies around," says Ailz. "I can see that my pets are simply baby substitutes."

"That's a woman thing," I say. "Women must have something in their brains that makes them respond to small helpless creatures. I know I don't have it."

"The need to have something totally dependent on you," she says.

"For me," I say, "babies are just potential human beings. I value them for what they're going to become. The sooner they're out of the drooling, up-chucking, helpless stage the better."

"I suspect the babies feel that way too," says Ailz.

[User Picture]From: greybeta
2009-04-08 12:33 pm (UTC)
Awesome! I'm totally going to bring this up in a conversation some day. =)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-08 01:13 pm (UTC)
:) This really is an area where the male brain differs from the female brain, I think.
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[User Picture]From: jenny_evergreen
2009-04-08 01:16 pm (UTC)
I completely agree about babies. I love my children and I'm a great mom, but I do NOT enjoy infancy, and cannot WAIT for them to be old enough to converse with.
Pets are definitely child-substitutes.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-08 02:56 pm (UTC)
I was a pretty good dad- I think- and did a lot of childcare through the early years- but I always looked forward to them getting out of the goo-goo phase and becoming interesting.
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[User Picture]From: heleninwales
2009-04-08 01:17 pm (UTC)
It's funny that you should say this, because I had come to a similar conclusion since acquiring our new cat.

Not that a cat is a small, helpless creature and I don't actually like tiny babies at all, so perhaps a cat fills the toddler/small child niche rather than the helpless baby? :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-08 02:57 pm (UTC)
Cats are a lot like toddlers- and can be equally destructive.
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[User Picture]From: qos
2009-04-08 01:39 pm (UTC)
Love it!

However, I'm not convinced it's an absolutely male/female "thing" -- I even found my own baby's helplessness oppressive.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-08 03:09 pm (UTC)
Our own babies are always a little oppressive- and that's because the responsibility they lay us under is so frightening.
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[User Picture]From: lblanchard
2009-04-08 01:50 pm (UTC)
I have never cared much for babies, particularly after having one of my own.

My pets are definitely *not* child substitutes. Having just taken one to be put down on Monday and being more or less over it, I can say that with some confidence. Even *contemplating* the possibility of the death of my son, on the other hand, makes me want to reach for the sedatives.

I just like having other life forms around the house, although after vacuuming two canisters of cat hair out of my home office I think I might be able to make do with the backyard birds when our other pets pass into the Great Beyond.

Edited at 2009-04-08 01:50 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-08 03:06 pm (UTC)
I like having other life forms around too.

But that's what they are- other life forms- unknowable and alien.
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[User Picture]From: pondhopper
2009-04-08 01:52 pm (UTC)
I have to say that I do not really miss my daughter's infancy at all.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-08 03:37 pm (UTC)
I've almost forgotten what my children's infancy was like.
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From: acathartes
2009-04-08 02:10 pm (UTC)
I'm with you on the baby thing. An intelligent, responsive infant or wee one is cute and interesting, a person in the making; a baby who's just a lump is far less attractive than my cute, intelligent, responsive parrots.

Of course, I think of *them* as my babies, to some extent. They *are* genuinely dependent on me, emotionally as well as physically.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-08 03:39 pm (UTC)
The rabbits are definitely not my babies. They belong to a very alien species. I'm fond of them- but there's no emotional dependency on either side.
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From: sculptruth
2009-04-08 02:33 pm (UTC)
Oh god, hysterical! While I have an uncontrollable reaction to the Cute and Fuzzy, I agree with you completely that I have no idea of what to do with little humans. I'm afraid to drop them! They drool!

I like them when they're about three and up. I love their potential. I love their limitless worlds when they're between that magical age of 3 and 7.

My boyfriend and I have this conversation all the time. He says "women cute/miniature things what the hell yadda yadda" and then I laugh when he succumbs to it. :)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-08 03:41 pm (UTC)
I detest drool.

I'm quite good with small people- and I think that's precisely because I relate to them as people- and not as fuzzy little packets of cute.
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[User Picture]From: mummm
2009-04-08 11:18 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: daisytells
2009-04-09 03:43 am (UTC)
Babies (and later older kids) are such high maintenance that it sometimes takes a huge effort to enjoy them. The newborn is not referred to as "the little stranger" for nothing.
Cats, on the other hand, are natural loners who do not really need me for anything other than to fill the food and water dishes and empty the litter box. They are very low maintenance. They also show genuine affection, and bond well usually with a single member of the family, while they either ignore or act in an offhandedly friendly manner to the other people. Unlike dogs, cats NEVER try to be human. They are smart enough to know that they will get fed without doing tricks. They don't make much noise, either.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-04-09 08:20 am (UTC)
I've had cats in the past. We once had seven. All at once. The deal breaker for me was the way they killed birds. I like birds. I like birds a whole lot better than cats.
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