I wasn't one of those little girls who played with dolls and pretended that there was a mommy, daddy and baby living together in a pink dollhouse. I did have a few Barbies, but I used them to practice braiding hair, cutting hair, and primitive amputations of limbs. I wasn't that type of kid who played house. I read. I sewed badly. I played computer games. I think I'm the first generation who grew up with computer games, and I loved them. I have had a computer since I was 6 years old (holla TI-99 and the Atari and the Intellivison!).
But I have a kid now. I never thought I would have one. In none of my childhood fantasies was I ever a mommy. Plus, I'm weird. Not in a "OMG, lock her up!" kind of way, but more of a "hmmm should Amy Farrah Fowler really have a child?" kind of way. I might think of my daughter like a science experiment sometimes. There are some good parts to that. I can think of how I'm going to parent in a more analytical way. "What kind of behavior am I trying to get out of her? What can I positively reinforce behavior in that direction?"
Yet, (shocking!) there are drawbacks to being a weirdo with a child. There are many, but I'll mention one from when my daughter was a toddler and one now.
1) Weirdo with a toddler: My daughter fell on the playground. She came up to me crying. I look at her knee. It looks fine; there's no blood--there's not even a scrape. I say, "You're fine. Go back and play." She just stands there. I turn her around and show her the playground like she's deaf. "Go play."
My husband told me that I needed to kiss her owie. "But she didn't even scrape her knee!" He looks at me and tells me, "Just kiss her knee." So I did. And she happily turned around and went back to play (Neither of my parents kissed my real or imagined bruises.)
2) Weirdo with a kindergartener: My daughter was invited to a boy's drop-off birthday party last month. She had her first and only drop-off party previously back when she was 3, so it had been a while. She was fine in theory about last month's drop-off party until the day of. Then she wanted to back out because she was scared that there would be people she didn't know, and we wouldn't be there. My response, "You've got to learn to meet new people, and we're not always going to be around."
She sniffled, "But what if I'm scared and need a hug?"
What do I say???
"Ask ________'s mom for a hug." I'm a pretty bad hugger anyway, and a hug is a hug. Right?!
And then she blubbered, "But I want YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!"
This little person wants me. Why? I have no idea. I don't even want me most of the time. Does she only want me because I'm familiar to her like that teddy bear she sleeps with every night? Am I like that wire rhesus monkey that they put something soft over in that experiment? Or does she want me for other reasons?
Regardless, she wants me.
It's only now after being a parent for over 5 years that I realize why people psychologically want children. Because, let's be honest, if you do the cost/benefit analysis of having a child, the costs FAR outweigh the benefits from the time and money perspective. Then there's the:
"But I want YOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!"
How do you graph that? And if you have more than one child, you have your own personal fan club.