“How’s the vessel?” Asks my aunt Rachel every time I talk to her.
The vessel is my uterus. Being a married chick of a certain age, this is not an uncommon question. The vessel is fine. Still unoccupied, thank the stars. Rachel has been asking about the vessel for years now, trying to get me to eat greens even during those time where pregnancy was so NOT the goal, in preparation for the day when the vessel would be leased out.
Now, I’ve always wanted to be a wealthy matriarch. You know, that old woman that will never die and hold the purse strings to a huge fortune with ne’er do well son-in-laws and powerful daughters. You know, Barbara Taylor Bradford style. I want my grandkids to love/hate me for my iron fist and steel-trap mind. The problem is that I’m not always sure I want kids. And as Markus’ lovechildren are still in hiding, if I don’t have my own, it’s so long skinflint granny.
I love kids. I love those sweet, sleeping babies, the giggles of toddlers and the quickness of older kids. I also love being able to write/read all day, travel at the drop of the hat, quickly run errands and sleep. I love the quiet of our house. And the cleanliness. If poop plays a part of my day, scooping it out of a box is preferable.
Yesterday, Strasbourg got replaced with the Frankfurt Zoo. Seeing as we were the day guardians of a seven-year-old, architecture and long walks through an old city might not be the best way to entertain Twinkle Toes. The fresh fish and quiche would not have been as exciting to Miss “Keep Me Entertated”.
So we nixed éclairs for fruit loops and headed off to the zoo.
Babies were everywhere and I wanted to take them all home, so cute and cuddly. Markus had to remind me that we had no way to care for them and the authorities might have a problem with me stealing babies. I wanted them all. The baby monkeys, seals and otters. The baby giraffe, goats and ponies. Even some baby turtles or the baby hippo. I did not, however, want to touch a human baby. The vessel wandered through my body, searching for escape, still not ready for occupancy.
Twinkle Toes was awesome. There are some really shitty kids out there; TT is not one of them. She’s great. Smart and kind. Hard to find in a lot of kids. She’d move out of the way to let others see the animals; she’d look around to make sure she wasn’t in the way of someone else. She was better than most of those shitty parents.
So, why did the vessel turn heel and run? The zoo was like a movie with fast cuts: Every turn of my head I saw the toddlers and their stiffened tantrums, the five year olds with red screaming faces, a three year old hitting his mother in the face repeatedly. It was the older brats that played with all the interactive exhibits, incessantly screaming and spinning the spinning parts not letting anyone else have a turn while the parents just stood stupidly in front of other exhibits preventing people from enjoying more than their screaming prodigy.
I love kids. Really. Yesterday, I was so happy that Markus and I could devote our time to an angel. And I was so happy that her parents came and picked her up. I was so happy when I realized that I have two books to read before Tuesday and that I could conceivably do it because I have no other obligations… like kids. Markus can fend for himself. Protein shakes and pudding and he can eat for a year. No spills except when I stepped into the tuna water I left out for the cats.
I read blogs like ELB and Zulieka with a weird sort of curiosity. I read Dooce and decide, uh, no thanks. As a chick of a certain age, I’m privy to all the horrors of pregnancy and childbirth. As a “civilized” human, I leave most animal behaviors to the bathroom. And bedroom. There was a certain period of time in college where I thought defecation was too animal-like; I wanted to find a different way of going about it. A certain mind-altering substance might have exacerbated my skeevishness at the time, but I don’t like bodily functions. The idea of pregnancy weirds me out completely. “Enemy Mine” cured me of the need to be pregnant.
Yesterday, I saw this fish. His mouth full of what appeared to be a fine steel wool. His eyes bulged and his mouth couldn’t close. I thought he was dying. I wanted to find a zoo guy to help remove the stuff from the poor fishie’s mouth. Well, I would have committed infanticide. He was a mouthbreeder, incubating the eggs in his mouth. Now, that’s how people should have babies. If Markus had to hold an embryo in his mouth for the entire gestation period, I wouldn’t have to explain why I don’t have kids. I could say; “The vessel is fine. He just can’t stop swallowing.”