Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The power of platonic touch for men

Two articles and a story.  It is funny watching him try to hold the baby.  He is so awkward.  He did not grow up babysitting or helping out in nursery all the time.  He holds the child too far away, at uncomfortable angles, but the baby is a smiler, and the baby smiles at him and loves him and wants to be held, and you watch him just melt before this beaming beacon of love, trust, and genial good cheer.  This is why some babies are adorable: because they adore you unconditionally. 

He is not married, has no children.  Some of his friends are having children, but, like most young marrieds with small children, their lives change so radically that they no longer really intersect his, and they don't stop to think that he might like to learn about caring for children that aren't his.

It's not like he can offer to babysit to try to stay part of their lives; he doesn't have the experience and isn't comfortable with it (he might be if someone could teach him, but most parents have so little energy to spare for that).

It's not like he even knew how rewarding (and challenging) the simple act of playing with children can be because when does he even get to do it?  Now that he does know, I wonder if he will be less afraid to help.  He will certainly be more sympathetic about how much work it is.  Maybe he'll realize how kind it is to volunteer to clean or cook or do the dishes or tag-team with a person with more child-caring experience to give weary parents some time off.

Maybe he'll become indispensable to his friends with small children because he will sometimes help them shoulder the burden and reap the rewards.  Or maybe he'll never get the chance to play with babies again until/if he has his own.

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