A friend of mine emailed me today that she was pregnant with her second child. I wrote her back, sending my congratulations, and as I was hitting the send button, I saw one of those ads that Gmail puts along the right side of the screen. You know the ones I'm talking about- where Google has picked some word out of your email and has bombarded you with ads that it thinks will appeal to you based on that word. Being that the word Google had latched onto was "baby", the entire right side of my screen was filled with baby-related websites. Normally, I am really good at ignoring these things, but one in particular happened to catch my eye. It was the "Are you ready for a baby?" quiz. And I thought, what the hey, I'm bored and I have a minute...I'll take it. (Not that this means anything! I repeat! Baby quiz means NOTHING! Read that again...especially you, Mother. I just like quizzes! IT MEANS NOTHING!)
Anyway, this particular baby-readiness quiz peppered me with such insightful parenting questions like, "Do you find that you have often forgotten something (purse, groceries, etc) in the hot car?" and "How do you feel after a night with no sleep?". (If you answered "often" to the first question, then even I, baby-dunce that I am, can tell you that you don't need to be in charge of the safety of a minor, and anyone who answers anything other than "Cranky as hell" to the second is a flat-out liar liar pants on fire, and probably shouldn't be watching over anyone who is morally susceptible anyway).
Regardless, I finished the quiz, and 15 unimaginative questions later, the results were...inconclusive. My baby-competency meter was lukewarm at best. The gist was, "Well, we don't think that you'd kill your offspring on purpose, but maybe you might want to remain child-free just in case. Either way, don't sue us if you screw it up".
I think the answers that hurt me were the ones where I admitted to being unemployed, and having an aversion to baby poop. (Seriously, does anyone claim that they like baby poop? It's another person's fecal matter for crying out loud! You put up with it, sure, but to claim to like it? That's a cry for serious therapy, my friend). And while I can understand where unemployment might make the baby quiz people nervous, that completely rules out all those stay at home moms, and they never once asked about my fail safe: Tony.
I have often thought that a good partner overcomes your weaknesses with his strengths, and vice versa. And in the event that we were to suddenly find ourselves in a family way (Heaven help us), I would be totally secure in the knowledge that Tony's maternal instinct far outweighs my own. For one, he actually has an income that can take care of our needs, and two, the man has an incredible tolerance for poop. (I mean, he used to be a zookeeper...he spent all day scooping animal poop. And even now he comes home and empties out litter boxes morning and night without complaint. Obviously, of the two of us, he has a much better relationship with, erm, waste product). So I was not worried.
At least, not until I happened to mention the quiz and the results to him in passing.
"You're going to have to learn to handle poop", he said.
"Really? I thought we could, you know, divide and conquer. I'll be in charge of input, and you handle output", I wheedled.
"No", he said.
"But we can play to our strengths! I'll teach the kid to read and do all the late night last-minute science fair projects, and you take care of diaper duty".
"But you're okay with poop! You did poop at the zoo! You do the litter boxes! What's a baby but another little defecating animal?"
He shook his head. I panicked.
"Okay", I said, "How about this? I'll take care of all the wet diapers, and you just handle the solids. That's only, what, once or twice a day?"
"And", I pressed, "they're only in diapers for what, two or three years? At two poops a day for let's say two years, we're only looking at, um, carry the one...1460 poopie diapers! I'll bet we can foist at least half of those off on the grandparents, and if we employ daycare for when we're at work...you're only looking at an average of 350 diapers total! That's a steal when you compare it to 12 years of Popsicle-stick dioramas and 3am Playdoh solar systems!"
He looked at me. I looked at him.
"We are soooo not ready for a baby", he stated. End of discussion.
I was shocked. Here I was, secure in the fact that I had found a natural nurturer that could counterbalance any emotional and/or physical damage that I could possibly inflict on my future unsuspecting young, (thus saving them years of therapy), and he was balking at what I considered to be one of his no-brainer strengths. Poop tolerance is a rare gift in my book. I'm lucky to have found someone who possessed it in abundance! (Tony is my child-bearing loophole). Still, it seems that the baby-quiz people might be onto something here. If left to my own devices, my kid would survive, but neither of us might be very happy.
Perhaps instead, I should just start trying to leave my purse in the hot car more often.