Finding myself in the Middle East

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Big Girls Don't Cry

Most babies are intrinsically lovable, probably a G-d-given defense mechanism, like the skunk's powerful smelly weapon. Because if the skunk didn't have it's eye-watering stench, it would be prey for everyone from the brown bears to 3 year-old Catskill pilgrimagers. (Pilgimagers. Those who make a pilgrimage. No? Hm. Worked in my head.)

The kids that I watch in the morning vary in age, gender and looks. The most important is the temperament difference, I would think, with looks coming in second. I mean, I don't need The Gerber Baby, but cuteness definitely helps when they start the second hour of banshee-level screaming....

I have sweet beebees with hair that looks like the kid was plugged in to an electric socket and really should be on display somewhere, and sensitive prima donnas with big blue tear-filled eyes who cry when their mommas' leave and when another baby looks at them head-on. I have grinning, dimpled adorable monsters who succeed in destroying that which my own two kids left in semi-mint condition. I have living dolls who don't make a peep even when they fall over. And I have Adina.

It is terrible, really. Why don't I like this kid? My surface reaction is--well--she is--Adina! She scuttles like a crab, instead of walking. She wipes her always dripping nose on my skirt. She only wants toys if another baby already has them. She growls instead of crying. She sits on the other babies. Really, she does. Flat on. And when she makes one of her vile, loose, multicolored surprise-in-a-diaper, she squats down and grunts like--like--like something big, with horns, that smells, and eats small vermin, that squats down and grunts. Nothing about her in sweet or endearing.

I am the most terrible person in the world. That is all that I can reflect on when I play with her. Why can't I see beyond that, just as I do with the baby who never stops howling at the moon?

Outdoorsman snorted a great, knowing snort when I told him about my dilemma. He said, "It's because she should have been a boy. And women are the biggest sexists when it comes to things like that."

I responded to this accusation in a thought-out and mature way; I snorted right back, and informed him that as a former bleeding heart liberal and feminist, that is the stupidest thing I ever heard. Then I took my feminist tush and marched off to wash the dishes.

Over which I thought over what Outdoorsman had said. And I thought--OMG--he might be right. BUT I WILL NEVER GIVE HIM THE PLEASURE OF KNOWING THAT. I have some pride, you know.

Ahem. Anyway.

Is he right? Adina's behavior is unsavory and uncute because girls are supposed to cry in high-pitched tones instead of growls and be the hittee instead of the hitter? Eat neatly and not spray food everywhere and say please and thank you?

Bottom line question: Do you think that I would mind her less and love her more if she was just a rough-and-tumble boy?

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