As the manager of domestic affairs in my household, it’s often presumed that I’m also equipped with motherly instincts and the ability to nurture. While I’d like to think I’m pretty good at interacting with children, I’m not exactly comfortable with them when they’re at their softest and most erratic i.e. during the baby years. As a result, I tend to act disinterested in the babies when they’re being passed from person to person, only giving them attention when they’re secure in a chair or other sort of restraining device (this tends to be in regards to stranger or acquaintance babies, family babies aren’t quite as worrisome). When asked if I want to hold a baby, I politely say, “No thank you,” which I assume people think is rude . Quite the contrary as the amount of thought I put into the reasoning behind my refusal should demonstrate just how important I believe your baby truly is.
When I was little, I watched the movie Terminator with my dad. Perhaps it was a bit young for me to view such content, but I’ve managed to become a relatively well balanced person regardless. That being said, one aspect of that movie did get imprinted onto my mind, a concept that makes me view electronics with suspicion and babies as potential saviors in a post apocalyptic world.
In the movie, a cybernetic super soldier is sent back in time on a mission to kill a pregnant woman named Sarah Connor. The thinking behind that plan was that by killing Sarah Connor in the past, she wouldn’t be able to give birth to the future leader of the human resistance (if you haven’t seen the movie, the plot is that sentient machines take over the world).
Outside of intent, there’s very little difference between a robot coming back in time to prevent a human child from achieving its destiny and me accidentally dropping it and doing the same thing. There’s a reason I was a lineman when I played football in high school; I lack appropriately accommodating hands. They’re great for holding onto small objects when the stakes are low, but as soon as increased value is introduced, my hands lose their edge. Babies, while not large, do seem to be highly valuable to their family members thus causing my hands to crumble under the pressure.
In my eyes, all children have the potential to be the last line of defense against whatever science fiction like scenario could potentially befall our planet ( I guess they could also grow up to be cancer doctors or philanthropists as well). With that in mind, it’s the job of the parents to do their best to protect those children from threats great, small and unexpected. Just imagine how movies like Independence Day or Predator would have turned out if the parents of the heroes in those films had allowed an amateur baby handler to pick them up.
My apprehension is not based solely on my inability to properly handle a baby, however. Another downside to the way my hands function is that they tend to exist in a constant state of clamminess. This has been brought to my attention on several occasions, by both adults and babies alike. Obviously the babies couldn’t communicate this to me directly, but their facial expressions made it quite clear that they didn’t appreciate me wrapping my moist, cold hands around them. On the same token, parents can only bring so many onesies so a lack of interaction with me will definitely save them a change of clothes. While this wouldn’t necessarily jeopardize a child’s future, taking a babies comfort into consideration is never a bad thing.
When I see babies being paraded around, I don’t just see a human in its earliest stages of development, I see a future doctor, humanitarian or grizzled, robot hunting badass. It’s not that I fear or dislike babies, but that I respect them too much. So instead of risking me bobbling your baby around like a contested jump ball, why not give me and others like me the benefit of the doubt when it comes to our lack of interest in cradling your offspring; future generations will thank you.