As it stands now, and much to the never ending dissappointment of my parents, neither BF nor I have any desire to have children.
My parents still see me as the most likely of their three children - all boys - to provide them with grandbabies. They have made this extremely clear to me. The last time my mother came up to visit she was polite enough not to bring it up around BF, but the moment he left to take out the trash?
"So, have you two considered having kids?"
"What!? No. Not yet. I don't know. We still want to finish our educations. Get our careers started. Buy a house. Travel..." I replied.
"I bought my first house when I was twenty-three, and I had your older brother by then. Plus, I was going to grad school," she explains matter of factly as she sips her iced tea.
My Mom: high school track star, debutante, honor roll, and general perfectionist. Currently, in her mid-sixties, she's now retired, traveling the world at least twice a year, and a marathon bicylcist. Incredibly admirable, but she's one of those excrutiating perfect examples that is nigh-impossible to live up to if you're in any way related to her as my siblings and cousins have lamented about her and her brother with his three Ph D's.
"Traveling with a kid is hard, mom. You know that. You took children to Spain and we were little nightmares."
"No you weren't!" she lies to herself, or maybe she really doesn't remember it that way. "It's hard, but if anything I proved you can do it," she firmly asserts.
"Well, that was you. Plus, I'd probably rather adopt."
"But sweetie," she pleads, "you have such good genes!" It's an semi-narcissistic compliment and argument both my parents make whenever I bring up the adoption idea.
"We're gay. Doing the turkey baster thing is expensive and the mother has rights so it doesn't always work out. Plus, there are plenty of older kids in foster care who need a home. If we adopt it'll be a kid around six to ten. Plus, YOU adopted! Remember?"
"That's true, but you don't get to name the child!" mom wails.
"So?" I say. I've named a few cats and they never come when you call them. From what I hear children are the same once they go past the age of seven.
(Given, if I could, I do have baby names picked out just in case. Aaron or Noel for a boy. Claire or Viola for a girl. Family names for middle names, of course, those being Michael, Brandon, or Suzanne. Else the family string me up for neglecting tradition.)
"Doesn't BF have a sister who could provide an egg?"
"MOM! No! Lord, dad, asked the same thing last week. It's not like asking for a cup of sugar."
"But, honey, you'll miss the best part. The baby stage," she sighs and I can tell she's remembering the days when she was a new mom three times. I think she's mentally blocked the parts where my older and younger brothers were tiny terrors. (By her admittance I was the perfect child.)
Still, she has a point. I have a weakness for babies since I work in adoption services during the day. I'm surrounded by them constantly so it was only natural they wear me down a bit. I flushed with joy the first time I held a newborn only three days old. I cheered watching another take his first steps. A few months ago I was horrified when a kid I was watching seemed to instantaneously learn how to imitate the words "Oh shit!" from me after I gave myself a paper cut. The parents were only somewhat amused since this brought her vocabulary up to now five whole words.
The other day was one of those days I did waver on my desire for a baby. A couple and the baby they were fostering were in the office. The baby in question is not just adorable, but fucking holy crap oh my god adorable. Adorable enough to make grown men squeal like a tween girl attending a Bieber concert. A tuft of blonde hair, blue eyes, and a poofy purple dress with a matching bow on her head. It was impossible not to squeal with delight at the sight of her.
She was as perky as debutante's side step and smiled as if she had just caught Santa sneaking into her living room. She giggled generously and flung her arms around with joyrful intensity that made the room glow in an emotional phospheresence that was practically hypnotic. She drooled profusely as she was teething, and as she determinately crawled around the room on a personal mission known only to her she would periodically attempt to suck in the drool flowing from her smile. The attempts to do so did little good and she giggled obliviously at this, which made her only all the more endearing.
She seemed to have fixated on me and was determined to follow me through the office. I hid behind a door and afterwards she plowed across the room to find me. When she did I would jump out, "Oh my god! You found me!" She would scream with glee and crawl away as fast as her chubby limbs could take her, her cheeks jiggling with every movement. After going a few feet she would turn around, my cue to hide again, and she would come searching for me again, laughing the entire way.
Repeat for the next half hour.
I wager that my mother could psychically hear my testicles screaming for a baby that day. Indeed, given half a chance I would have kidnapped that baby and taken her home.
The only instance I have been more succeptible to the desire to procreate as soon as possible was when a child I had gotten to know was about to meet his new foster parents. When he met them he immediately grabbed my leg, began to cry, and begged, "But I want YOU to adopt me!"
After encouraging him that we would always be friends and he could contact me whenever I locked myself inside a room and cried for a good hour.
Immediately after this game of baby hide-and-seek another baby was brought in to work. No. Not a baby. A shrieking banshee spawn in the shape of a baby whose cries were like sonic icepicks stabbing into my brain for a solid hour before vomiting everywhere in the play room. Yeah. Super fun. I'm pretty sure my tubes tied themselves after that.
So as it stands now I'm still undecided on the baby/child issue. I know I don't want one right now. I've got too many plans; too many things I want to do with my life that do not involve having a tiny person strapped to me forever.
However, I'm always happy to revel in the babies of others. We gay uncles - or guncles - make the best uncles. We're thrilled to babysit for a day and we get to be the cool adult in a child's life. It's like being a grandparent: all the perks, none of the mess.
Furthermore, I always have a bit more time to whip up little things for my friends with kids. Things like coffee cake. Yes, it doesn't take much time to make a coffee cake. Barely any at all, in fact. So little, I suppose, that if you had kids you could find time to make this cake.
I enjoy baking one up for friends who come over with their baby or who've hired a sitter. It's a special something with a somewhat familiar flavor made just a bit mysterious with the use of pears and cardamom. Incredibly moist and packed with enough spice to make it a pleasant comfort in a world of day care and immunization shots for preschool it's a cake that has a place at any parent's (and non-parent's) table.
I looked back at mom and saw in her eyes that she wanted only the best for me and that the best meant children. Babies. My own, preferably.
"Mom," I said, handing her a piece of coffee cake, "I'll talk with BF more about it."
"Good. Now you should also," she pauses to take a bite, "-Wow. This is good, honey. What's in it?"
Best of all? It's also good enough to hopefully make your parents forget about babies. At least, for a few minutes.
Pear Coffee Cake
Adapted from New York Times
For the filling:
2 large pears; peeled, cored and diced
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the crumbs:
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) butter, melted
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
For the cake:
1/3 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
6 tablespoons softened butter, cut into 8 pieces.
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter an 8-inch-square baking pan.
2. For the filling toss together the pears, sugar, cornstarch, cardamom and ginger and set aside.
3. To make the crumbs, whisk together sugars, spices, salt and butter until smooth. Stir in flour with a spatula. It will look like a solid dough. Press it down and set it aside.
4. To prepare cake, in a small bowl, stir together the sour cream, egg, egg yolk and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom and salt. Add butter and a spoonful of sour cream mixture and mix on medium speed until flour is moistened. Increase speed and beat for 30 seconds. Add remaining sour cream mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of bowl with a spatula. Scoop out about 1/2 cup batter and set aside.
5. Scrape remaining batter into prepared pan. Spoon the pear mixture over the batter and evenly spread out as well as you can. Pour on the rest of the batter and spread out evenly.
5. Using your fingers, break topping mixture into big crumbs, about 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch in size. They do not have to be uniform, but make sure most are around that size. Sprinkle over cake. Bake cake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean of batter (it might be moist from rhubarb), 45 to 55 minutes. Cool completely before serving.