The lady with the fake baby

While wandering through the aisles of Racines today searching for someone who turned out not to be there, I saw a peculiar thing.

A well dressed woman in her thirties carrying around a fake baby. She looked far too hipster to be the mother of a child, which perhaps explains the fake baby. And she was accompanied by a younger blonde woman, who looked tolerantly on as fake-baby-lady quizzed Becky about paintbrushes. As I slunk around the folder endcap, I couldn’t help but look back every now and then in an attempt to figure out what, exactly, was going on.

Why a fake baby?

School’s out, so it’s not as though she’s some mature looking high school student doing some sort of arcane home ec assignment. No one else seemed to have any issue with the strange scene, so perhaps I was merely hallucinating. Yet, her hand was clearly supporting the fake baby head, which lolled back suspiciously from its body. The fake baby hair was wispy and perfectly arranged, and fake baby was wearing a pink warm up suit. (Which is a deeper issue in and of itself–what sort of baby, fake or otherwise, would require a warm up suit? For heading off to baby yoga?) I realize that some women are, for some reason, desperate to spawn, and that they express this in strange ways, but usually they get dogs or something. Had she perhaps stolen the fake baby from younger blonde lady?

I read somewhere that babies born to deaf parents don’t cry after the first few weeks, because they learn it’s sort of a pointless endeavor. I’m wondering if maybe there could be some sort of deaf parenting foster market, where they could keep the newborn for the first few months, just to get it accustomed to the idea that crying is a terrible, terrible idea. But I digress.

Was she considering pregnancy, and trying to get accustomed to the concept of carrying around a leaden weight? But can’t you borrow other people’s children for that, to get a more realistic idea? Was she just hoping for attention? If so, it was an utter failure, because no one mentioned the baby. Usually people are all over babies. But maybe it’s only real babies that extract that reaction. The rest of the time, people are thinking “uh, ok, whatever, it’s a fake baby. Good for you, lady.”

I ruffled through a display of miniature journals made out of recycled banana mulch while I pondered the issue. Perhaps it was performance art, and she was intending to throw a dramatic scene in a few moments, declaring that her baby was dead! Maybe fake-baby-lady’s own child had just died, and, consumed by grief, she decided to carry a fake baby around for awhile in a transition stage. Or could it be possible that she was the victim of some rare mental illness, which compels the victim to…carry a fake baby around?

What is it with babies, anyway? Everyone seems to find them so fascinating–to me they just look like skinned monkeys. They squirm and wiggle and make terrible sounds and awful smells, two of my pet peeves in life. Humans have the longest developmental period of any animal known, and to what end? To turn into adults? You’d expect a result that was a little more exciting after that long, like wings or maybe amphibian tendencies. Plus, babies aren’t cute. Baby animals are cute. Babies=not cute. Babies=gross.

As I peered at fake baby lady through a forest of gently waving feather quills, the baby suddenly moved, revealing its true colours at last. The baby was not fake, only sleeping. If all babies were that relaxed, I’d be a lot more into them.

[Fort Bragg]