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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Sprogs [20080821|20:37]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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I had a pregnancy scare a couple of months ago. Now, they're generally awful, but the thing that worried me the most was that I wasn't totally appalled at the thought that a test might turn out positive.

So the question gnawing at the back of my mind for weeks has been, am I getting broody? (The horror, the horror.)

Last weekend, the bloke and I drove up to a wedding in Lincolnshire with a couple of friends of his. They have an eight month old baby. It took us nearly forty minutes just to load all the necessary accoutrements into the car. Pram, bed, car seat, food, nappies, rucksacks for the parents, clothing. The boot was completely full, and the bloke's car is not small. Said friends are also two of the sweetest, most laid back people I've ever met, and by the end of the two hour drive, even they were about as close to being snippy with each other as I imagine it's possible for them to get.

Even if the little darling hadn't puked at us when we were all feeling delicate with hangovers the following day, I'm firmly convinced the only way to have children is if you have enough money to hire someone else to deal with all the tedious disgusting stuff. And I can pretty much guarantee that I will never be that rich.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: smallfurry
2008-08-21 19:49 (UTC)
i have long maintained that is the only way to have children. at least you're in the UK where, even if you can't afford a nanny, you can send them off to boarding school...(they still do that there, don't they?)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-22 13:19 (UTC)
Oh hey! I hadn't thought of that. Plus, it makes therapy loads easier, right? Just blame everything on your parents having sent you away when you were small and vulnerable.
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[User Picture]From: smallfurry
2008-08-22 13:30 (UTC)
you still see them at holidays. and with the internet, it will be like they're just in the next room. :)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-23 14:14 (UTC)
I'm sure younger siblings or close cousins must be a factor in the perceived objectionable nature of infants, even without the special needs aspect. I was raised around other small children, because I had so many cousins, up until my parents sent me away to school when I was seven. After that my only sibling-like relationship was with a male cousin five years older than me. So I don't think I had the kind of exposure to the needs of younger children that would have aroused maternal instincts.
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[User Picture]From: sekl
2008-08-21 20:51 (UTC)

cute, but so are dachshunds

It's not as bad as cleaning a catbox, really. The usual ick factor (which still occurs with other people's kids) seems somehow programmed out of my responses to my own kids. Diapers, spitup, breastfeeding, no ick. The only ick was making the mistake of using formula with the first one...ever. There's nothing natural about that stuff and it takes awhile to get used to the smell.

Of course, I have a nanny to watch the kids while I work. It costs dear, but I don't go all yellow wallpaper, which would otherwise happen in the Bay Area, as most parents do daycare or nannies. Kids need other kids, adults need other adults, it's just the nature of being a pack animal.

Every developmental stage is also either love or hate--babies, toddlers...teens. But the real finger of fate is travel. Some kids love it, and others hate it. The fates decide what you get. And if you're a restless traveler a homebody will drive you nuts.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-23 14:18 (UTC)
Formula is definitely weird. The Brits seem to be more keen on breast-feeding than the Americans, so my exposure to it here has been minimal.

Yeah, I'm pretty firmly attached to the notion that if I ever do have children, they are not going to keep me from working. I would go crazy without the satisfaction that doing a skilled technical job brings.

The travel thing scares me. If I had a child, I'd want to be able to strap him/her to me and take off anywhere with a minimum of fuss.
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[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2008-08-21 21:06 (UTC)
It's funny. People always used to say what I am about to say and there is no way of fathoming it as true. Your own kids' vomit and poop and screaming and needs don't bother you at all. Also, the infant thing is infancy. By the time they are two, you just say "If you want a toy, get one now. Okay now get in your car seat." And then you buckle them in. And you don't have to be rich to have a nannie. Just live in Hong Kong or Australia or the Phillippines or Thailand. Of course, you might never want to live in any of those places.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-22 13:31 (UTC)
Or move your parents over to be assistant guardians! >:D
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[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2008-08-22 14:31 (UTC)
That's a big one. Hong Kong was very nice because we could afford a part time nannie so we could go out some. Neither one of our parents have ever taken Iggy for a night (not so sure we'd want that but they wouldn't do it anyway). One of us has been with him every day of his life except for when my brother and his wife took him for one night.
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[User Picture]From: cataragon
2008-08-21 21:24 (UTC)
Possibly it's not so much broodiness as a lack of some of the factors that make pregnancy scares so scary earlier in life.
If the aaargh factor is made up of such things as economic pressures, or one's own level of sanity, or miscellaneous fears such as labour pain as well as the, you know, actual fact of resulting in actual children, then some of those factors may well lessen as you age, even if the factual children aspect doesn't.

Which is something I've noticed in some of my friends as we get older - they aren't more willing to have children, per se, just less terrified of the consequences. I am still the unofficial designated recipient of no less than three people's theoretical accidental children, though ;-P.

Oh and everything everyone else says about your own children is trueish, or at least in my experience is true of children you are fairly attached to.

I guess it's a matter of wanting/liking them enough to deal with that stuff.

C.
(remaining complicatedly ambivalent on the topic of procreation herself)



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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-22 13:39 (UTC)
If the aaargh factor is made up of such things as economic pressures, or one's own level of sanity, or miscellaneous fears such as labour pain as well as the, you know, actual fact of resulting in actual children, then some of those factors may well lessen as you age, even if the factual children aspect doesn't.

This is very wise. I have certainly reached a point where I feel I could financially (although not ideally) handle having a child, and likely emotionally as well. I would worry at the lack of familial stability, at least on my side, since my relatives all live in the States. So while I'm not in a hurry to have them, the thought of children is not repulsive, although the mundane reality of other people's still kind of is.

remaining complicatedly ambivalent on the topic of procreation herself

That's a good way of putting it!
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[User Picture]From: attictroll
2008-08-21 21:25 (UTC)
Bah. All that stuff is extraneous. I can fit everything we need for a day in my pockets. Longer means a backpack. People get too worked up about it all. The little snottlings are pretty simple. Input, output, recharge batteries, show them new things (er, install new software?).

As for snipping: no question, this is heavy stress testing of a relationship. But, if you can travel with someone for extended periods and no one dies or is maimed, you'll be fine with a baby.

The truly strangest bit: Your body will hijack you. You may congnify that you should find something gross or annoying, but the heroin-like happy drugs your baby induces you to produce reroutes your brainmeats. It has been a trip to observe.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-22 13:34 (UTC)
But, if you can travel with someone for extended periods and no one dies or is maimed, you'll be fine with a baby.

That's good to know. I can travel with the bloke for extended periods with only one outbreak of "There'ssomeoneconstantlyinmyspaceGNARGH". So I think that's safe.

Your body will hijack you. You may congnify that you should find something gross or annoying, but the heroin-like happy drugs your baby induces you to produce reroutes your brainmeats. It has been a trip to observe.

Is it sort of like constantly having that endorphin surge that you get, say, post-strenuous physical exercise? I'm always giddy for about an hour and a half after I finish a run. That's how I imagine post-natal bliss.
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[User Picture]From: attictroll
2008-08-22 15:24 (UTC)
Yup. It's good stuff, though less adrenaline and more a massive dose of Right-ness. I haven't experienced anything so intensely satisfying. I'd say it's more like the feeling after fantastic sex with someone you're in love with.

It's fun to hand her off to people and watch. I can see the moment their own body dopes them up.

Hell, I had no sentimentality node, so far as I knew. Now I /get/ LOL-cat macros, which is a fact I find a bit disturbing when I think about it.

Edited at 2008-08-22 03:28 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: girl_onthego
2008-08-22 00:23 (UTC)
Honey, I would totally come look after your kids for nominal wages. I could get a visa for that, couldn't I?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-22 13:24 (UTC)
I believe you can. Also, be careful what you offer!
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[User Picture]From: taische
2008-08-22 01:40 (UTC)
I'm with you on this. It's funny to hear even the occasional struggling single parent try to tell me how great it would be for me to have kids. I suspect that there's some tricky self-brainwashing selfish-gene-driven thing that happens once people procreate that's meant to stop them from deciding "this really isn't worth all the trouble" and just walking off too early for their progeny to be viable. Of course, some people do just walk off.

How eager many people are to see their kids off to college and get a bit of their life back as the time draws nigh is pretty telling, though. In all these years, I think I've only met one person- a friend and physics prof- who, despite having done a great job of raising his three kids and loving them dearly, admitted that he wouldn't make the choice to have kids if he had it to make over. Psychologically, it seems understandable that rationalization is a much easier choice long-term than regret with a decision that's not exactly reversible. The few happy fantasies I've ever had that have drawn upon images of raising a family (a large one at that) have involved a property of near-palatial proportions (for privacy), a large staff (to deal with the tedious and disgusting stuff you describe), and a time (as opposed to the much broader monetary) commitment to little more than play, teaching, and guidance on my part. In short- the fun stuff. Given their potential cost in terms of time and uncertain return in terms of quality-of-life (it's not like there aren't fun alternatives, after all), I could only see even considering them if extraordinarily rich, and even then the choice wouldn't necessarily be the most appealing of alternatives. For example:

"Should I have kids, or spend the next couple of years designing and building a luxury submarine love-nest and running off to search for pirate booty and study soliton waves with my hot girlfriend?"

Not easy.

...

Oh, and I get the "With genes like yours you owe it to humanity to have kids..."-thing all the time. Don't fall for it. I usually blush a little and express my appreciation, then gently point out that I've never signed a contract to that effect and that other family members, close and distant, have already passed along a good portion of my genes. Even if valid, though, the suggestion of a genetic debt to society would only seem to be an argument for egg or sperm donation!

Edited at 2008-08-23 01:28 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-23 14:28 (UTC)
In terms of people who are in the public eye, I think Brad and Angelina are the only people in a situation to have as large a family as they do and maintain their relationship under nearly ideal circumstances.

I just keep thinking that I'm working so hard to get to a place where I'm satisfied with the conditions of my life, and having to scrimp and save and sacrifice so much to get there, that I can't see wanting to give that up for at least a few years after I finally have the studio and the job in the right place and the love-nest with the bloke. And I worry that I'd have a hard time viewing adding a totally dependent person to that mix as a positive thing, even if my biological clock hadn't ticked well past children by that point anyway.

I don't know. Still on the fence. But I guess there's no urgency, and even if I suddenly have the desire post-biological-clock-going-bong, there's always adoption.
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[User Picture]From: impix
2008-08-22 07:46 (UTC)
see i always thought that i couldnt cope with nappies and stuff, but i think when its your own you have some sort of immunity to it? my mum HATED sick, but she said when we were little and ill it didnt bother her one bit because we were an extension of her.... does that make sense?! one thing that makes it ok though- BOOTIES! seriously, the cute.
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[User Picture]From: impix
2008-08-22 12:42 (UTC)
and as an after thought, no nannies- no one can bring up your kids better than you!





oh god, leah you've made me (even more) broody!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-22 13:18 (UTC)
I liked having a nanny while both my parents were working. Then again, we also had lots of extended family around at that time, in Honolulu, so my grandparents and my aunties were nearly as important to me as my parents. My nanny was ace. She taught me how to eat fried rice with chopsticks. An invaluable skill, I think.

Hehe, little Widgerette, d'aww!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-22 13:16 (UTC)
Yes, I seem to keep hearing about the immunity when they're your own. The thing that worries me is, what if I turn out to be an exception?! I don't want to be a bad mum.
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[User Picture]From: impix
2008-08-22 13:20 (UTC)
you wouldnt be! you could teach them about space and cool stuff !

my mum says as long as you give lots of hugs, everything will be ok. she says alot, my mum.
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[User Picture]From: guyinahat
2008-08-22 09:49 (UTC)
Here's another perspective. The dumb and lazy tend to breed more then the smart, hardworking and successful.

What legacy for tomorrow? An intellectual equivalent of a George Romero film?

OK, so take that language with a pinch of salt, but there is a serious issue buried in there.
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[User Picture]From: smallfurry
2008-08-22 13:36 (UTC)
you make a good point, and one that comes up often in the "kids or no kids?" discussions my bf and i have. i think we're already seeing the previews for that film, the number of stupid people definitely seems to be on the rise.

it would be nice if you had to take some sort of aptitude test before reproducing (nothing extreme, the equivalent of a driving test for parenting skills), and possibly come up with a $10k bond for their initial care and maintenance.
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[User Picture]From: nationofsheep
2008-08-22 14:44 (UTC)
Idiocracy is a farce by Mike Judge about specifically this subject. Stupid people take over the world because stupid people are the only ones breeding. Natural selection doesn't always choose our best traits. It's one of those movies I think about all the time now. "Welcome to Costco I love you."
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-23 14:09 (UTC)
My Mate Josh sent me a copy a while back. I must watch it. Thanks for the motivation!
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[User Picture]From: rhc
2008-08-22 18:16 (UTC)
I'm on the side of the selfish genes. It is your duty to humanity to pass on your genes.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2008-08-23 14:08 (UTC)
Perhaps I can convince a cousin to do it for me...
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