I have five siblings, all older. And long before I had children, they had 10 children among them. Seemed like every year, someone was popping out a kid. I fondly recall the late-night or early-morning calls to the house, my mother squealing with excitement that another child had been born into the family. People squealing just because you were born? What a sweet gig!
Then came the visits. My mom would get so excited to see them. I would get so excited to see them. Cute, cuddly babies coming to our house! Way better than my dolls. These babies were breathing, giggling, waddling little beings. Real skin, real food. And that real brand-new baby smell.
And I would swell with joy at the thought of being able to babysit for them. I was the trusted younger sister (for once) who got to entertain a miniperson not even two years old. I couldn’t resist being around them. There’s an automatic lure to someone who is one-sixteenth the size of a full-grown human. Babies are like the model airplanes of the human species. It’s hard not to stare and ooohh and ahhhh over them.
Watching my brothers- and sisters-in-law raising their own young kids solidified that I too was going to have kids. The parent-child connection was amazing (remember I’m talking babies not teenagers here). When a baby’s cries lingered too long, I’d hand him or her back to the parents, and almost instantly, the crying would stop. If the baby was feeling sick or got hurt, they had the cure. It’s as if they were a mobile triage unit!
At a young age, I knew that motherhood was in my future. Until at some point, it was explained exactly where babies came from. Exactly where. And for several years, I believe that explanation may have been the cheapest, best form of birth control. That and what I recall one of my brothers saying about a baby’s head at birth—that it wasn’t much bigger than a coffee pot. After that, I saw babies’ heads in a totally different light. Coffee pots too.