Monday, May 29, 2006

Milestones and Mistakes

Today I spent some time in Central Park with two friends, one of which has a baby. While we were sitting on the blanket, participating in basic gossip and commenting on a group of the most amazing hula hoopers I've ever seen who were shaking their hips nearby, my friend's baby sucked his thumb for the first time. Last week, he discovered his feet, and now he spends much of his time grabbing on to them, which makes him look as though he is performing amazing yoga-esque feats.

I've never been much of a baby person. (This particular baby is actually the first baby I have ever liked, but he has opened the door for many more babies.) It is amazing how many little milestones there are in those first few months, and how exciting the achievement of these milestones are for the adults in that baby's life. I spent an inordinate amount of time exclaiming over his thumb-sucking, while his mom was calmly saying, "Now, I'm going to have to break him of that."

Later, his mom wanted to go shopping, so I told her that I would play with the baby while she tried on clothing. I sat down on a couch near the entrance of the store and cooed and kissed and made faces for quite a while. Three separate people came up and told me how beautiful my son was. (I only corrected two of them.) To me, this is a glaring mistake. How could anyone possibly believe that this child was actually mine? It's not that I'm not old enough, it's that I have no clue what I'm doing. But somehow, others look on and think it fits.

After several hours of baby-time while my friend took care of the many errands that can pile up on the single, working mother of a four-month-old, I got on the bus and made my way back home. I had a great time, but even with the thrice-made mistake, motherhood is one milestone I know I'm not quite ready for.

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