I am strong. My insides are strong because I’ve spent a lot of my life talking myself out of self-destruction, which turns your soul into a callous. My body is strong, too. Partly this is because I take care of myself, but it’s mostly because I have high levels of testosterone. If you need proof on this matter, I’ll show you my moustache and what happens to my arms after three push ups. I’ll make a believer out of you.

Which is why I can’t figure out why I want babies.

I want babies something fierce. The moment I hit my mid-20s, I woke up and decided I needed some babies. It was that instantaneous: one day I was using phrases like “little life ruiners,” the next I was moving back to the Annex.

When you’re a self-centered young woman with feminist ideals, wanting babies is a terrible burden to bear. It’s hard to reconcile the devil-may-care self image you created over Slits records and cigarettes with the nagging reality that you are now a reader of Mormon hipster mommy blogs. You find yourself researching doula training courses even though you are impatient and cold, because you want to bring yourself closer to the miracle of life. You start thinking of life as miraculous.

Around this time, people you are actually friends with begin getting knocked up. Except, they introduce this information with a beam and “We’re pregnant!” and it doesn’t matter whether or not it happened on purpose. Instead of judging them, or pitying them, or calculating provincial abortion costs, you squeal and hug them and tell them you’re so excited, because you are. You want to change diapers and go on trips to the zoo. Nevermind that, for the last twenty or so years, you have hated the zoo.

You put yourself on a strict five-year personal achievement plan so that you can start popping ’em out while you’re still young enough to get rid of them at a reasonable age. You have high hopes of emptying your nest by your mid-fifties, and it’s something you can almost get away with saying because you are still young and obviously a moron. Deep down, though, you realize there are things you can’t control.

Above everything, you trust you will be a good parent. Not just because you come from a ridiculously sized family with 20 cousins your junior to chase around, but because you have babysat for every crazy family in the city of Toronto and, through your fieldwork, have amassed a comprehensive list of things not to do*. You have also come to appreciate your parents, because they were A-ok. They will probably let you dump your children off on them for long stretches at a time, too.

I have the names of my children picked out. I’m not going to share them because I’m one of those jerkoffs who doesn’t want to risk getting my genius choices stolen, but I promise they’ll be worth the wait. My dad, who also has high testosterone, named me in high school. Years later, my Salvadoran mother was so touched by this kind of girly act that she allowed the name to stand, even though nobody in El Salvador is named Kelli. So it runs in the family.

I’m hungry for some babies, but not enough to make them happen for awhile. Trust. I have a pile of goals I’d like to cross off before I’m willing to put aside my self-absorption, and I enjoy the luxury of behaving irresponsibly. I’m also a huge slob; a child would surely perish in my household. But I will happily play cool aunt or babysitter to your children, and I will do a good job of it. I will peek-a-boo the shit out of any fine afternoon.

*There have also been refreshingly sane parents with the opposite effect. Unfortunately, the crazies outnumber them.

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