Maybe this trend pre-dates me. It probably does. But because my friends are having babies, I’m just noticing it now: every time I’m around a group of women with a baby, one of the women says to the mom of said infant, “I want to eat your baby!”
Actually, let’s back up. No one starts at wanting to eat a baby. That would be crazy.
First, the women gather around the child, who is cooing and doing cute things such as discovering his fingers. He has completely blinded everyone to the fact that he is a sleep-depriving poop machine with an all-consuming lust for milk, college tuition, and adult sanity. What the gathered women see is 15 pounds of chunky cuteness in a onesie.
It starts with “He’s so cute.” This leads to “He’s adorable,” which levels up to “What a little munchkin!”
By now, we’re on our way to “I just want to squeeze those chubby little cheeks,” which begets “Look at this LITTLE MAN!”
And that much nonsense can only be trumped by …
“Oh my God, I want to eat this baby!”
The mother, who would flip over a cement truck if it threatened her child’s life, nods in appreciation, as if it’s the highest compliment she can receive. Thank you, this nod says, I want to eat my baby, too, but I can’t say that in front of my husband (the jerk).
And that’s that, right?
Next, the women pass the baby, and when the baby puts its hands anywhere near a woman’s mouth, the woman makes “Nom!” sounds, envelopes the baby’s hand with her mouth, and pretends to eat it. The jump from talk to action has been made. The women nibble on cheeks, they playfully bite calves. They even put little feet in their mouths.
So the baby is treated like food, and everyone has a good laugh — except for the men. Eating babies is not something we joke about, and for good reason.
“Hey, Tom, that’s a cute baby you’ve got there. They grow up so fast. Mind if I eat it?”
“F— you, Steve. You stay the f— away from him.”
“It’s just an expression, Tom.”
“Do you have any idea how much this baby costs? How little sleep I get? How I have NO LIFE? And you want to eat my baby?”
“Calm down. I only meant to say it’s cute.”
“If ANYONE eats this baby, Steve, it’s going to be me.”
At kids’ parties nowadays, I can often be found staring into space while my wife and her friends dote on newborn babies, which gives me lots of time to develop theories on why women say they want to eat babies.
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way. An adult and a baby make a great comedy team. Case in point: The Hangover. Babies are the perfect comedy foil; they’re always the object of the joke and seldom its source. Therefore, it’s funny to say you want to eat them. The stupider an adult acts around a baby, the more fun for everyone. This is why your parents, if they were any kind of parents at all, have a photo of you sleeping in a high chair surrounded by empty beer cans.
Also, babies kind of resemble food. Maybe the mind makes a subconscious connection. Babies are porky and tender. They’re milk-fed. Parents are constantly fattening them and their little Michelin-man arms up. There is something about the sight of a six-month-old baby that makes you want to dip it in a giant bowl of ranch. Lovingly, of course.
But so far, the best theory I’ve been able to come up with is this one: many women who see a cute baby want to have a baby of their own inside them. “Eating the baby” is a symbolic plea for pregnancy. (It’s a sad commentary on the state of lovemaking in this country that the preferred method of insertion is digestion.)
I asked my wife about this very topic after we attended a one-year-old’s birthday party. “I don’t understand,” I said. “Why do women say they want to eat babies?” And she replied, “I don’t know, but I wanted to eat that baby.”
So, I think this means we’ll be having a baby soon — the regular way, not for dinner … I hope.