Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

October 15, 2008

Destined to Never Have Kids from an Early Age

When I was a tyke, and for as long as I can remember, I have never wanted to have kids. I never said "When I have a baby" or wistfully looked an infant, longing to hold it. People used to say to me, "When you grow up and have children....." and I'd say, "I dont' wanna have children" and I'd get a patronizing smile and "You'll think differently when you get older". After I got older it was, "You'll think differently when you find the right man." Found the right man, and fortunately for me, HE didn't want kids either. Dodged a bullet there.

Years ago when we went back east for a visit, we had dinner w/ Jef's ex, and mother of his then-infant son, Cody. Lisa said, "Hold him for a sec for me?" and just handed Cody to me. He was 11 months old. I held him, under the arms, away from me, bewildered of what to do next, hoping he wouldn't leak some fluid on me. I gave Brian a stricken, "HELP-ME-WHAT-DO-I-DO-WITH- IT-NOW????" look. Fortunately, he came to my rescue and scooped him up, shaking his head. As Ross said to Rachel in "Friends", "He's a baby, not a bomb." Needless to say, apart from taking a couple of pictures, I steered clear. (Although my reader Kathleen will be happy to know that I actually didn't shy away from holding her properly when she was 3 weeks old. Fortunately, your mom was right next to me, ready to jump in.....).

Surprisingly, I was a very capable babysitter, as long as I didn't have to take care of a child still in diapers. My mom even came down to change a diaper one day for me b/c she knew I was not doing....WOULD NOT DO..... it and she helped out for the sake of the kid, not b/c I asked her to. Sure, she could have put her foot down and told me to take responsibility for my charge and DO IT, but I think she knew me well enough by then to know that I was too stubborn and would rather lose the job than change the diaper. From then on, I only accepted babysitting jobs if the kid was toilet trained or in kindergarten. To this day, I have NEVER changed a diaper. And I don't plan on it either.

I lived in absolute fear and dread that my parents would have another kid. While I wouldn't have minded having an older sibling, a younger one was out of the question. I made a silent vow that if another kid came along, I was NOT sharing my room and I was NOT babysitting, changing diapers or helping in any way. I just cannot relate to infants at all. Once they can walk and talk, that's one thing, but I just don't have it in me to coo and purr over human babies. Stuffed animals, yes. Puppies, yes. Kittehs, yes. Baby animals of any kind, yes. Human babies? Not so much. The sound of a baby crying and screaming sends my blood pressure soaring. Julie calls it "ugly sound."

When I would go over to my some of my friends' houses, inevitably the "what should we do now?" question would come up. They always enthusiastically suggested, "Let's Play House!" or "Let's Play School!" I'd counter with, "Naw, Let's Go In The Woods And Explore!" which was always met with a recoil of horror, to which I then said, "Oh OK, we can play school....I guess", meanwhile I'm thinking, "This is gonna be a loooooooong afternoon. Should I pretend to get sick so mom will come get me?" Small wonder I preferred to play with the few girls who enjoyed the woods and exploring as much as I did.

I wasn't all too fond of most my dolls either. A shrink would have a field day exploring why I used to beat the crap out of them, tell them I hated them, and then me and my stuffed animals would shun them. I used to take Baby Tenderlove and spend hours outside, tossing her over the power line that ran from the street to our house, over the front yard, and laughing as she bounced on the ground, till one of my parents caught me and told me to knock it off. But I think they were more concerned about my ripping the power line down than they were about the doll's welfare.

My mom tells the story of how creeped out she was when she'd go get me in my crib in the morning, and I would greet her with a maniacal, toothless smile and giggle, while holding the head I'd pulled off of one doll. She wailed to the pediatrician, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY BAYYYBEEEE??????" That actually had a decent explanation. The doll was one of the first mechancial walking dolls and it was too heavy for me to lift, so I pulled it's head off and carried it around.

I had some baby dolls that you could give a bottle to and then it'd "pee" and you could change it's diaper. I think I gave it a bottle once. Once.

I also had a doll carriage that I used to turn upside down and spin all 4 wheels with my hands to get them going as fast as they could. My mom would repeatedly turn it right side up and tell me to push the carriage with my doll in it. I couldn't steer it. It always tipped over. So I went back to turning it upside down and spinning the wheels. One day, the carriage mysteriously disappeared after my mom came in the living room and found me spinning the wheels again, except this time I had a shoelace around the neck of one of my dolls, and had it wrapped around the wheel so that it was choking to death. Another call to the pediatrician, "WHAT'S WRONG WITH MY CHIIILD??????"

That's not to say that I didn't have dolls that I liked. I had Triki Miki, whose arms and legs all had joints, and she came in a jumpsuit. All the clothes for her were really trippy, 70's patterns and go go boots. Half the time I had her dressed like Pippi Longstocking w/ her hair braided so it stuck out each side of her head. I'd have her ride my fave stuffed horse, Trax, as she was the perfect size. My 2 Dawn dolls were cool too. But baby dolls? Not so much. I couldn't interact with them like I could w/ the dolls that were grown up looking like Triki Miki and Dawn. I had a Barbie & Ken but I didn't play w/ them that much and Ken's smooth molded bump really confused me. lol

I don't mind little kids though, and I adore all of my friends' kids (Holly: I really need to see more pictures). It's just that 2-3 year diaper/non-verbal stage that I cannot deal with very well.

The following photo is the only one that exists of me playing inappropriately with a doll. It's my absolute fave picture of me from when I was little. It was taken on Springhill Beach, on the Cape, some time in 1967. Note the sick grin as I water the doll, which lays naked and twisted on the rocky beach.

Good thing I never had any kids, eh?


  1. I did have some dolls I liked (I even knitted clothes for some of them) but I always preferred Cowboys and Indians.

    As the youngest of my generation I was never called on to babysit family, and in the end I never babysat anyone. EVER. My only nappy-changing experience came last year when I helped a Learning Support Assistant in a school change a teenage girl with severe cerebral palsy. I just helped with the putting-in-the-hoist.

    But yes, baby animals, cats, dogs, birds. Much more interesting.

    I once got told by someone that I "had no right" to be sterilised age 23. Who did it affect except me? Surely it would have been much worse to have a baby because it was expected, then make my own and its life miserable?

    The person who said it had had three daughters. I was kind enough NOT to mention the piss-poor job she must have done, since one of her girls had committed suicide.

  2. Anonymous4:15 PM

    I never wanted babies either. Never had the slightest interest in them, never regretted not having one, or seven.

    Of course, I find what's left of my hormones wanting to make Vincent D'Onofrio's babies, but that's probably more to do with the sex act than producing anything at the end of it ;0)

    I had one doll when I was little, but I was never as fond of her as I was of my almost bald, one eyed teddy. One of his eyes had fallen out of it's socket, which hung - and still does in fact - by a thread almost on his cheek. If ever my mother suggested sewing it back in place, I'd get quite hysterical....

  3. It's good to know that I'm not alone!!! I, too, have been told that it's "selfish" not to have kids. OK, yeah, so what's their point? I think it's better in the long run to recognize my parenting shortcomings than to bring a child into the world that may suffer my wrath.

  4. too bad more people don't think it through as you have, jojo. there would be a lot less abused, neglected kids.

    i always wanted children, and i adored the baby phase more than any other. it's the teen years i despise.

    my 2 grown kids say they do not want kids, and i am just fine with that. the way this world is crumbling, i don't blame them.

  5. it's all good; i'd go from barbie/ken to my "motorific torture track"
    but, i ALWAYS was an animal lover. tons of stuffed animals...and still do.
    i woulda loved being a mom; i love children and have been fortunate to have surrogate children!

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  7. I've never understood the whole thing about being silfish cos you DON'T want kids..seems it should be the other way round,given that as parents we try and impose our beliefs on the kids (if that makes sense)

    The earliest picture of me playing with a doll has me sitting under a tree smacking it's kids are glad I grew out of that phase :-D

  8. That is too funny. I've always liked babies, but swore I would never have one. Until I found myself pregnant six months after my brother had died, and I changed my mind. I'm still not sure I'm "mother material", but I'm doing the best I can.

  9. Annie - My inlaws surprised me when they supported our decision not to have kids, after I told them we didn't have the patience, temperaments or responsibility for kids.

    Fen - You've been a great surrogate mom. Brian and I supported a Lakota girl from age 5-18, so that's our contribution having kids.

    Eliza - you MUST post that picture on your blog!!!!! I bet you'd rather be spanking Vincent's bottom.

    Fancy - I bet you are doing a great job. Besides, the children of Deadheads are always good kids.

  10. That was a good post :-) I had no idea you had so much aggression in you (j/k!) The picture of you is cute. Some people just aren't meant to have children and there's nothing wrong with that! I still don't feel sure sometimes, but too late for that! What's funny is that I always said that I didn't want kids and Dwayne said the same thing. After we got married one day we just kinda looked at one another and both said we wanted one. Funny how that worked out.

  11. You weren't scared of holding me because you knew I was smart enough to not let myself get dropped. Haha. :D

  12. I wanted kids, I could have had a 9 yr old kid by now, but then I thought about it better and decided not to go through with it. Feeling sorry? No. It's a sin? Don't give a sh*t! What would I had done with a broken marriage and a kid at the age of 19?

    So I don't want kids and I love being single. It's as simple as that.

    And btw, I love dolls, always had :-P

  13. I had lots of Cabbage Patch dolls,but what can I say?However,I preferred my kid-sized kitchen,which was *gasp* metal and had sharp points.I had a cupboard,stove and fridge,it was awesome.

  14. I had no interest in sprogs either; I was one of the eldest of many cousins who I used to babysit; I used to tie them up.

    My ex wanted babies and I indulged him not expecting to fall pregnant immediately; I did. I also fell madly in love with this little scrap who gave me grief throughout the nine months and the birth. I was blessed with two more and saddened to lose a much wanted fourth.

    Your life is never the same again and never yours again, not ever, not even now they're all married.

    When I speak to No.1 son and he says grandma's on the phone and I hear them shouting my name and rushing to talk to me, my heart is fit to burst; the love is so overwhelming and I never believed there was anything remotely maternal about me...

    I wouldn't say choosing not to have children is selfish, but to be a mother means being selfless, there's no two ways about it

    have a lovely weekend

    lotsa luv ann xxxxxx

  15. Averie - No idea I had that much aggression in me? Clearly you have never driven w/ me. lol In all seriousness, my temper scares even me and I was too afraid I would just whale on a kid.

    Kathleen - Don't make me post the baby picture of you in your mom's arms on FB. lol

    Madi - Hey it happens and I don't think it's a sin at all. I know lots of women who have accidentally gotten pregnant and not in a good position to raise the kid. Hell, I even took a friend of mine to a clinic in Boston once.

    Bryde - If you think that was bad, you should have seen the toys we had when I was growing up! Talk about dangerous!!

    Ann- That's the thing, I'm not selfless enough to have a kid and put their needs first. I recognized that about myself at a very young age.

  16. I had tons of baby dolls, baby clothes and a baby carriage. I cut all the hair off my dolls, dressed my cat up in the baby clothes and wheeled her around the neighborhood in the carriage. She always let me do it, but afterwards she'd run away for a few day's...

  17. Kathleen - I will then! :P

    Tess - LOL!!! Your poor kitteh!! I gave my Dawn dolls and Triki Miki haircuts too. Holly told me she used to do that to her dolls as well.

  18. hey jojo, came to your blog via white rabbit's
    reading your blog made me laugh so hard! Actually given your down to earth approach to things you would have made a brilliant mum imo, but making a conscious decision not to have any was totally yours and rightly so!
    Thank god we live in times where you can make this decision without having to explain yourself to every Tom,Dick and Harry (and your mother-inlaw). Personally i am at the glorious old age where i do not get asked when i FINALLY will get pregnant.

  19. Welcome to my blog, M! Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by. :)

  20. I have the oldest one in the book --- Got knocked up. Plain & simple.

    Can't STAND kids....any age or form. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but I run to the hills when I even SEE them approach me.

  21. I am at the age I really love babies, seriously. As a young woman, really the opposite, hated them. (The first child I ever diapered was my own, out of necessity!) I have no explanation for this gradual shift; I have always blamed it on hormones and menopause, since that sounds reasonable to me. Also, I do think I'm getting, overall, more gooey with age. :)

  22. my little sister's like that... she has ALWAYS said she never wanted any kids. she's 18 now, and still is professing she'll never have kids. i use to think she'd grow out of it and now im starting to wonder...

    im quite the opposite. i cannot wait to get married and have babies of my own. i've always been like that. i've always envisioned having kids of my own in the future. we'll see if that ever works out for me. first thing's first, i gotta find a good guy and get married :P

  23. Michelle in Maine3:30 PM

    Oh my gawd! I laughed and laughed when I read this blog. Joanne, we would have had SO much fun together as kids. I HATED dolls and abused the crap out of them, except for my neighbors MALE Johnny West dolls. We had Geronimo capture Jane West and we sawed her boobs off with a jack knife. Sick, sick, sick..