When I was a teenager, I couldn't wait to have a baby. I loved to babysit and kept it up well into college. I planned for the day I'd have my baby and thought about what toys and books I'd buy her and admired every picture of a baby that appeared in a catalog or magazine and every live baby who passed my way.
When my daughter was born, though, I more or less lost interest in other babies. They were still cute, but everything had changed. All of those other babies, after all, had just been reminders of the baby-to-come. Once she was in my life, everyone else paled in comparison. And so it went for several years.
But she's thirteen now. Don't get me wrong--I'm no less excited about her than I was in her infancy. In fact, I continue to be surprised by how much it doesn't change, by the way that each new age and stage has its own magic. But she's clearly not a baby anymore; she's a teenager and very nearly a woman. And that means that the whole "in comparison" thing doesn't come into play anymore. At 43 (and long past the point at which I could think about giving her a sibling), I find myself coveting babies again just as I did in my teens.
This afternoon, I went to my cousin's baby's christening. The place was awash in babies, and as I listened to new mothers complain about the lack of sleep and constant crying and older mothers talk about how glad they were that those days were gone, I was thinking about whether or not I could still adopt.