This one’s so trivial that I almost missed it, but as part of the background noise that almost always does go unnoticed, I decided to highlight it. A teaser on a breakfast TV show for a royal gossip story about “Wills and Kate” cooing over babies while doing one of their duty walkabouts for some community endeavour somewhere. The footage showed the Duchess making happy faces at a baby and stroking ou’s head while ou was being held the father, while the Duke was shown holding a baby and chatting with onlookers, yet the commentary was about how “Kate” was showing her clucky motherly side. Which one of them was actually shown as being relaxed and comfortable holding a baby again?
I’ve got no idea whether on this outing or on other occasions the Duchess does show a happy affinity for babies or not, but there’s nothing about this footage that demonstrates the claim being made. Yet that’s how they’ve chosen to spin it because that’s the social script – that women are more interested in babies than men. Obviously with this particular couple there are literally dynastic expectations surrounding them becoming sprogged up sooner rather than later, but would it really be all that terrible to entertain the possibility that the man in this couple might just maybe be the one who’s more looking forward to actual parenting?
Also? I know quite a few people who enjoy interacting with other people’s infants and small children who don’t want kids of their own, and I also know quite a few people who aren’t all that comfortable around other people’s children but who fiercely adore spending time with their own kids. I know others who, well aware that it’s expected to be enthusiastic about the charms of other people’s children, do a good job of politely meeting that expectation while hiding their apprehensions and lack of true engagement.
I genuinely love playing peekaboo with babies and admiring the toys presented to me by toddlers, I love their reactions to silly faces and nursery rhymes and all that jazz. But I know that not everybody else feels that way about little ones, and it would be silly to assume from that one facet of generational interaction which ones amongst us are currently yearning for the pitter patter of tiny feet.