Monday, 21 April 2008

Sam: Attack of the Killer . . .

Has anyone else started noticing a plague of small dangerous creatures that seems to be carving a swathe through your friends? Several of my friends have recently fallen victim. They have had their brains sucked out, spend all their time fervently nesting, and are incapable of having any of the interesting conversations that they used to be so good at. And fun, yes fun seems to be the prime victim of these nasty little creatures.

Baby Zombies, that’s what I call them. What is it that when your friends go and have kids suddenly they turn into baby zombies? I was having a coffee with a recently contamintated pair of baby zombies. At any point that the conversation turned away from babies for more than about 3 microseconds, immediately it went back to babies. There was a small glimmer of hope when one of them asked me how I was, but then, miraculously the topic turned back to babies.

And what I find most remarkable is that their attention is pretty completely and utterly focused on their new child. They jiggle, the goo, they coo at how beautiful the little grub is (let’s face it, all babies look like little grubs) and all you can do is really go along with it. You’d think that when it was just happily sitting there being contented and quite it might be possible to have a conversation. No certainly not.

I guess that’s why baby zombies flock together. When the rest of us are thinking about calling our GP to request a lobotomy while we listen to all the baby talk, they need someone who is just as excited as them.

But seriously, what really amazes me is how so few of the parents I have met have really managed to keep anything like a semblance of their social or intellectual life going after they have kids. I was on another visit to a pair of more mature baby zombies recently and it was actually possible to start to have a decent conversation with them, but not for long.

It seems to me, as an outsider, that they have their life pretty much sucked out of them by these little creatures. I only know a few exceptions to this rule, and they somehow seem to have immunised themselves against being zombotised.

Now you have to admit babies are quite clever. You’ve got to be clever to convince two grown adults to do everything for you except breathe, poo and cry, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Feed you, dress you, transport you, clean up your poo, put you to bed, wake you up, feed you again, put up with your screams etc etc. They actually have a whole range of tricks to make themeselves more attractive (like dilating their pupils) and I read something about some sort of chemical they emit that bonds their parents to them.

People tell me parenthood is a wonderful thing. The best thing they have ever done. I really just struggle to see it.

Personally the prospect of turning into a baby zombie scares the living crap out of me - from the outside looking in, it really doesn’t look like they are having much fun at all.


Anonymous said...

haha yes it is true.

A lot of fun can be had though if you are in the right mood with Baby zombies. I have tried it when forced to spend time with parents who can only talk about their offspring (or their nappy offerings) - you just keep trying to shift the conversation and you find yourself getting more and more outrageous with each attempt you make as they valiantly shift it back to children.

It helps if you are drunk when you try to do this of course.

I have four children and I love them dearly but it's nice to talk about other things when they are not around!

TheRose said...

"Stumbling on Happiness", an excellent if rather depressing book, reveals two interesting things:

1) Nearly universally, parents will say that having a child has made them happier.

2) When quizzed as to their happiness levels *right now*, a parent with a child at home tend to come out as substantially less happy than someone who doesn't have one.


Anonymous said...

It's not just in "real life" - blogs of friends who now have kids are just full of baby baby baby. I used to enjoy reading them, but now I have to sift through the baby crap to work out what's going on in their life.

And now all the comments are now other mothers calling themselves "YummyMummy" and such. Eugh.

Ms Robinson said...

As one who picked the wrong men at the wrong time or the right men at the wrong time I won't be having kids. But I adore them and am a godparent to a five year old and fifteen month old whom I took sole charge of last weekend when their parents went away.

I have to say I had a lot of fun and all that cuddling and kissing was fab. I was lucky in that mum is like an old fashioned parent rather than today's so called yummyfuckingmummy- she has routines for them and they must not invade adult time. I do think it's a modern malaise of the affluent- this zombie thing.

My own mother had three kids, very little money and had to work so she couldn't be a baby zombie. Result - kids who don't think they're the centre of the world.

Don't blame the kids; it's the parents.

One Fine Weasel said...

hear hear to every single word in this post. and im a female of childbearing years! my cervix is unstretched and i intend it to remain that way. i like people very much and have to include children in this as they too are frequently people; but sometimes i wonder what all the fuss is about.

interesting point made above - the centre of the world thing. i fully agree. parents pandering to their kids' every whim appears to be creating people who don't understand it's not actually all about them.

im not endorsing the victorian 'seen & not heard' thing but sometimes it's useful to know you're not actually the most wonderful, special, talented person on the planet. i can think of several minor "celebreties" who, without this belief, would be safely tucked away out of sight doing something useful like working in a call centre.

we're all just monkeys at the end of the day (well, i am).

thanks for another good post.

One Fine Weasel said...

celebrities. i meant celebrities. sorry.

badgerdaddy said...

Couldn't agree more.

My wife has a daughter from a previous relationship, and frankly, it's taught me that there is no fucking chance I will ever father a baby. Always said - since I was a nipper myself - that I would never have kids, and so far so good.

That said, being a stepdad is pretty cool.

Katie said...

I'm a mother of 2 and I have to say that although I adore them, course they have their faults but now I wouldn't be without them.

BUT. I go out to enjoy time with friends and we don't talk about the kids. I go on weekends alone and with friends, and I don't talk about the kids (unless asked of course).

Having kids is fine as long as they only take over parts of your life. It's so easy to keep time to yourself as well.

Weird, I have two kids yet a nightmare of mine is going to 'child friendly' pubs and stuff. Mine know how to behave. When mum is having a beer sit still till she's finished!!!

Anna said...

My boyfriend doesn't think he'll ever want kids, which has put me in an interesting position because I don't either.

Of course, it can never be that simple, and now he's got me wondering if I might blossom into a broody nightmare when I turn 30... but that's a long way off, and I don't believe that we need to have everything sorted from the start.

True Lateral said...

one fine weasel: love the unstretched cervix!

I admit to being a baby zombie, although I try not to be. When he was small, it was just that I never got to do anything that didn't in some way involve the baby, so all too soon I had nothing else to talk about. I asked other people about their lives, but apart from saying what I had heard on the radio recently, it was baby baby baby. This is exactly the kind of parent I always hated before I became one. Maybe it is hormonal. I certainly didn't want to turn out like that, and thank god my friends didn't desert me!

These days (two years on) as long as he's not with me, I'm fine. If the kid is around I am only half listening to anyone else because I'm waiting to have to control him in some way. That said, my baby zombie-ness is not due to thinking he is the centre of the world, and he certainly doesn't get indulged.

I also really relate to the happiness thing. When I feel happiest as a parent is when the boy is asleep!

blueskies2day said...

I don't want kids at all, but I worry.
A lot of the adults (mainly women, I think, perhaps because they're more or less programmed to have kids) I have known who chose not to have children (or couldn't have children), seem very different to people who have had kids. In later life, it's as if because they have never had the responsibility for a completely dependent human being (their spawn), they are a bit self absorbed. And because they have had a lot more time, they think too much and are therefore a little bit mad.

Maybe having kids (or working with kids or looking after them a lot) is good for people's mental health, in the long term.

Sarah said...

I would give anything to be a baby zombie. Both of my babies are dead.

It's a really narrow minded opinion to have - that "baby zombies" are not having fun at all. Just because a person has maybe grown out of binge drinking, sleeping around and spending all their disposable income on holidays and clothing doesn't mean that they're now boring. Having children is a lifestyle choice and to other people with children too you ARE interesting and you find them interesting.

Maybe i am so offended because i have tried so hard for 3 years now to achieve what you can so flippantly mock and look down on. We have come close twice, but had to say goodbye to a son and a daughter.

This is the first article on your blog i have found insulting and i'm dissappointed quite frankly. It's one thing to state your opinion on how you feel about having children, but quite another to pass judgement on those who are obviously over the moon with their offspring.