A Baby Is A Person!


My 4-year old sonny boy is hell-bent on getting a new baby. (We’re all less enthusiastic.) He has played both birthday AND Christmas- present cards, and made many creative arguments like “all I need is one egg…”

I blame his preschool friends, who made such a big deal about their new babies, and how “cool” it is to help out, yadda, yadda. (Put a cork in it, Bellissima.)

they're nothing but trouble pudding

they’re nothing but trouble pudding

Since a flat “no” hasn’t worked (does it ever?), I have been trying to sell him on the harsh reality of living with a baby. They cry. They wake up when we all need to sleep.They barf when they’re not even sick. Their bones don’t support them. Apart from being chubby and cute, they really have very little going for them.

My plan backfired when I mentioned they poop and pee in diapers. I should have known the allure poop and pee have to a four year old, especially one who always needs to know exactly how each phylum, genus and species poop and pee (or not, in the case of birds. It’s all one action, as it turns out.)

Diapers are now so fascinating that we spend hours in Target looking at the wide variety of sizes and brands. He admitted he wants to be a father (the youngest ever) so that he can change diapers. It’s not good enough to borrow someone’s baby (Bellissima’s mother now thinks I might be mentally unstable), ever since we read What Makes a Baby, he wants one with his DNA.

I had to pull out the big, PBS guns. Hoping I could convince him that a baby is a real person (not a toy or a pet), we watched the Nova episode, Life’s Greatest Miracle. I waited while he took in the creepy, gauzy images of embryos at 4 weeks when the brain is exposed, 7 weeks when the genitals are undefined (this earned a nervous giggle), and sixteen weeks when the eyes are black and alien, and the skeleton is easily recognizable.

He was unfazed, although a little horrified that babies live off their mother’s blood. And how do they pee and poop?… Glad you asked! AND, how to they come out? His conclusion, after careful study of the delivery scene, was that they come out through the mother’s armpit. I’ll let him think that for now.

All out of ideas, I reminded him that babies don’t stay babies for very long. They become toddlers (a class of people he abhors), and later children (like him), and adults. I also pointed out how impossible it was for his sister to keep her toys from him, and if we had a baby, the baby would want his toys.

That put an end to the negotiations.



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