Don't worry, I know I'm an idiot. I think it's just that this reinforces my feeling that even the people facilitiating (ha) our adoption believe that we're somehow deficient because we haven't spawned, and need serious remedial help. Of course, it probably would do me good to change a few nappies, to make sure I can do it without skewering a baby on the nappy pins. And honestly, if someone else near me had adopted a baby, and was willing, I'd be around to their house asking for nappy-changing-time so fast you would only see dust. Or if my sister didn't live in Australia, this wouldn't be an issue because I would have already done so much aunty-time (no, really, L, I would). But neither are really an option, and so what's the alternative, if I really wanted to learn?
I know I probably should be asking my truckload of fertile friends if I can practise on their babies, but I. Just. Cannot. Do. It. Sometimes, it's hard enough just being in the same room as these people - it feels like being the only person at a table for one in a fancy restaurant on Valentines Day*. And yes, I know this is stupid - whatever I may feel like, my friends did not have children just to make my life difficult and I should just get over myself already. We're all in our late twenties and early thirties - it's normal for them to have kids. And it's nice that they enjoy those kids. Sure, it would also be nice if I felt like we had anything in common any more, or if they had anything to say to me that didn't start with 'when you have kids' or stop at 'so... Claudia.... how's.... umm..... work?' but like it or not, they are the ones with the normal lives and I have to get used to it because normal ain't changing anytime soon. But asking to borrow their babyfor a 'let's pretend I'm a mother' session just feels too much like going up to someone in that fancy restaurant and saying 'hey, when you go to the bathroom, do you mind if I sit in your seat for a while? Just to see how it feels?'
So instead we've just volunteered to do some common-or-garden-variety babysitting. Tonight, we're babysitting for some friends, who know about our homestudy and know that we need to do our hours (and they've got a concert that they want to go to - symbiosis at its most beautiful). And while I've just had a big moan about some of my friends, these are two of the only people I know who really haven't changed since they became parents. Or, if they have, they've been kind enough to keep the 'I've-only-really-become-a-whole-person-since-I-became-a-parent' rhapsodising away from me. Which I really appreciate. And I'm hoping that tonight will be another tick in the box for us, and that will all be great, and so on and so on and so on.
But I still resent it. I resent it because it's compulsory, and also because this kind of babysitting teaches me nothing - NOTHING - about childcare. It teaches me to sit in someone's lounge, drink their tea and watch their DVDs. While these are all essential life skills, they're really not going to help me become a better parent.
I guess we had a choice of 'swallow pride and learn something useful' or 'retain some shreds of dignity and waste time'. Looks like we went for the latter. What do you think are the chances they'll have series 4 of House??
* I have never actually done this. I am just making assumptions.
By the way - check out Emily's blog for a great adoption cartoon that made me bwah-ha-ha out loud.