I went to a barbecue at a friend's house a little while ago, and I have never been more terrified in my life.
We walked in, and even though there was no wall separating the dining room from the kitchen, there may as well have been. The dining room/play area was full of pants-pooping toddlers and those who owned them, and the kitchen was full of the rest of the adults. At first I thought that all of the parents were three feet tall, but then I realized they were all of normal height, you just couldn't tell because every single one of them was constantly bending over or crouching down to pull Cheerios out of their two-year old's nostril, or to keep their one year old from bashing the 8 month old's head in with a Teletubby.
I hid behind Alex (about as well as a sumo wrestler can hide behind a telephone pole) so that I could sneak into the kitchen where the regular adults were. I was petrified that if they saw that I was pregnant, they'd reach out and drag me into their circle with their diaper-smelling claws to be mauled by their sticky, shrieking spawn. I wanted to hang out with REAL adults, who were drinking beer, liberally peppering their speech with cuss words, and planning on staying out past six pm. It's not that I don't like kids; in fact, I like them a lot. I wouldn't be having my own if I didn't want to be on nostril-Cheerio removal duty for the forseeable future. And, to be fair, the two groups of people really didn't know each other so it was perfectly natural for them to be separate. A lot of the kids were pretty cute, too, especially the one who figured out how to use the garden hose.
Still, I couldn't help but feel what I can only really describe as rising panic as I watched all the mothers entertain and feed their babies and wipe their kids' faces for hours. (And I do mean mothers... there were only a couple of fathers in attendance, and only one of them was helping wrangle his kid.) Is this really what I have to look forward to? Is "socializing" going to mean being in physical proximity to an adult while I'm entirely focused on my damn kid's bodily functions? It didn't help that one very well meaning mother was telling me all about how I'd never get to play Ultimate again because the baby will be napping from 11-2, and you can't do anything while the baby is napping, or else she'll get cranky! I got lots of other helpful information, including exactly what I'd be doing every day for the next two years, and NONE of it had anything to do with fun. She was telling me all of this with a wide smile on her face. I'm sure she's completely in love with her daughter, and no game of Ultimate will ever compare with the feeling that having my own child smile at me and drool on me, but I wanted to shake her and scream, "LADY, do you have any idea how completely insane you sound?"
I had to leave the room before I burst into tears over my lost freedom and youth. Luckily, Alex was there to assure me that he'd be happy to stay home from 11-2 every Saturday so that I could play Ultimate as soon as I felt like it, and I know that I'm going to make my own choices as a parent that will probably end up having little to do with all of the advice I get. Still, I'm just saying, Baby... you had better be awfully cute.