1. The “sooooo cuuuuuute!”
You genuinely think kids are cute. Well, some kids. There are others that are less cute. You just think certain babies are cuter than other babies, and you don’t know what else to do when you see a red-faced one in front of you screaming bloody murder. You fake it the best you can, but you know this is the equivalent of the palpably fake Mean Girls, “cute bracelet, where’d you get it?”
2. The capable, neck-supporting, yes-I-can-totally-do-this-naturally cradle hold.
Are there any seven words more terrifying than the dreaded “can you hold him for a second?” You end up looking like Rafiki on the cliff with Simba in The Lion King.
3. Knowing the age of a baby/child/toddler/infant/any living human under age 12.
They all look so young, like two years old, right? Or four? Oh, he’s 18 months? Wait…isn’t that a year? Please stop talking in months. I am too many months old for this shit.
4. Being able to baby talk.
You can baby talk better to a puppy than you can to a baby. You’d rather not do it at all, but it’s amazing how dumb you can feel when you’re the only person in a circle of adults who’s using full words instead of syllables that rhyme with “a boo boo boo!”
5. Knowing when certain developmental milestones should happen.
Shouldn’t this kid be talking already? Or walking? Or rolling around? You have no idea when you should be excited, worried, or nonplussed by someone’s child. When exactly do you get to drop them off at school for a full eight hours?
6. Understanding what clothes fit which babies.
Baby present shopping seems like endless fun and maniacal Pinteresting for everyone else, but not for you. You spend thirty minutes trying to decide which onesie will fit which baby, knowing full well that you could just ask your friend, but not wanting to seem like you’re completely inept. You wish that baby shower registries extended into every phase of life, so that you never had to think this hard. You end up buying something a salesgirl assures you is for an average sized five year old, even though you know this kid isn’t even 2 yet. He’ll grow into it.
7. The awkward “no” to babysitting asks.
You’ve accepted that at this stage in life, you just aren’t down with taking care of children. But it seems like no one else has accepted that statement. You think about posting some flyers in your local supermarket that are the opposite of babysitting ads: “Call if you want someone to go out with while someone else who knows what they’re doing takes care of your children!”
8. Being able to talk to kids like they’re kids.
You’ve found yourself talking to kids about how their evening is going at weddings, family functions, birthday parties, or even in restaurant bathroom lines. You start out with the stuff you know is normal, like their favorite color or cartoon character, but eventually you find yourself arguing with a four-year-old over the merits of the pink My Little Pony as if you’re debating climate change with an adult.
9. Acting like you like kids more than pets.
You tear up when the dog dies in the horror movie. You squeal when you see a cute puppy on the street. You scroll past a cute baby in your Instagram feed and you really want to have the impulse to ‘like’ it, but you would rather follow a Bernese mountain dog fan account instead. You like the baby picture out of guilt, and then you like seventeen pictures of a chihuahua that’s missing its front legs.
10. Not scoffing when your parents bring up having grandchildren.
*Spits wine out onto white linen Thanksgiving tablecloth while laughing, realizes that they aren’t kidding*
11. Figuring out if your friend is saying “I’m pregnant…” or “I’m pregnant!!!!”
You don’t know if or when you want to have kids, but you’re excited for your friends who want to– as long as you know they actually want to have them right now. You’re at the age where it could go either way, and it’s become increasingly hard for you to decide whether or not you should be excited or sympathetic. Or both? Damnit. This is one of those times that calls for absolute warmth, patience, and a feminine touch of emotional perceptiveness. And I know that I don’t have any of that, so just wait a second while I go to the bathroom and call my Mom.