Making faces at babies

I have a question. Why am I just plain silly over baby dogs, deer, quail, birds, anything but human babies? When I see baby animals, I hear myself talking in that high silly voice and melting in the way that other women melt at the sight of a human baby. But when I see a baby, I don’t know how to act. Aren’t they the same thing? So what if human babies have two legs and no fur? They’re as small and cute as any puppy. And yet, I don’t react the same way.

Last week, I was sitting in a restaurant in Missoula, Montana–Ruby’s Cafe, great place–watching this little guy about a year and a half old a couple booths over. Unlike the crazed noisemakers that can spoil the eating experience for some of us, this baby in his blue and white striped onesie was quiet and charming. He was a busy kid, climbing around on the table, playing with the silverware while his parents basically ignored him. One time when I looked up, he had a plastic tub of creamer in each hand. But he was quiet about it.

I watched an older man approach him. The man made faces and waved at the baby as the child grinned. They interacted for several minutes before the man moved on and I went back to my book, thinking why can’t I do that? Is it because I have no experience with babies? Am I protecting my heart from the pain of knowing I never will have them while I can have all the dogs I want?

What do you think? How are you around other people’s babies?