As the flu makes its way around the country, another type of fever appears to be taking hold of many of my friends and family - baby fever.
Everywhere I turn, it seems someone I know wants a baby, is having a baby or had one and now can't stop talking about the baby. And I have become the odd-woman-out.
I will confess. I am not a lover of babies. There. It's been said. You can stop reading now if you think all women are programmed to love babies. We're not.
That's because we are as varied and different as the men of this world are. Some of us get excited at the thought of having a passel of kids and family game night on Thursdays. Some of us get excited about saving lives in Africa by increasing sanitation standards. Some of us get excited about becoming accountants or teachers or even journalists. I can guarantee, not one of us gets as excited about cleaning the kitchen floor as television commercials would have you believe.
The fact that women aren't cookie-cutter duplicates of themselves is what makes this baby fever so interesting. All of the women described in the previous paragraph are friends of mine, and most of them are talking about babies.
With the baby fever in full force, I find myself constantly thinking about that Seinfeld episode, when Elaine's friend keeps bugging her about having kids. "Elaaaaine. You gotta have a baaaaby."
I'm not much of a baby person, and I think the babies can tell. Babies tend to cry - loudly - when I hold them. The last time I held my youngest niece, she screamed so loud I thought an ear drum was going to pop.
When people discover my inability to go gaga over a newborn, most tell me I'll feel differently when I have my own baby.
That may be true. I might actually come to love changing my own child's diaper. I may marvel at the spit-up that will stain the shoulders of my shirts for years to come. I may even begin using the most dreaded form of the English language: baby talk. But right now, I don't love any of those things.
That's why I love being an aunt. When I'm holding my niece and she starts to scream so loudly you'd think she was being chased by a chainsaw-wielding murderer, I can just give her back to her parents. I get to have just the fun part of being around kids. Being an aunt is pretty awesome.
Being a mom, on the other hand - let's just say the hushed awe emanating from a crowd of people surrounding the crib of a newborn child is not something my kid would experience. I think his introduction would be more along the lines of: "This is Henry. He pukes a lot, smells kind of funny and refuses to sleep through the night."
So, as my friends infect each other with baby fever, it comes as no surprise to most of them that the fever has yet to take hold of me. I've been staving it off with patently unbabylike things: growlers of craft-brewed beer, uninterrupted afternoons of reading novels on my couch, spontaneous weekends of fishing or snowshoeing or B-movie marathons.
But I do have to admit, those little baby booties are the cutest.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Jackie Stark is a Chocolay Township resident and a staff reporter at The Mining Journal. Her column appears bi-weekly. She can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org