Ok, nobody freak out.  I’m not degenerating to the point of kidnapping, and I’m not rushing into hasty decisions that would change the course of my entire life by putting new life in my unprepared hands.  I’ve always loved children; but as of late, what used to manifest itself as maternal instinct and a passion for babysitting has morphed into a desire to gather up other people’s children and make them mine, all mine.  What’s bizarre is that it extends not just to the adorable children at my church (including the unborn – see my mantra in a comment on Ken’s latest entry), but also to MISBEHAVING CHILDREN.  Yes, that’s right:  those obnoxious, spoiled, screaming, rambunctious, hellacious brats that make people say, “Holy $#!+ I’m glad that’s not my kid!” – sometimes I want to take THEM home and love on them and whip them into shape.  WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?  I don’t know.  All I know is, when mothers hand me their swaddled bundles of sleeplessness (good one, Ken), I have trouble handing them back.  When five-year-olds beam at me and beg me to chase them around the room, I want to chase them all the way home.  When tired, cranky tots SCREAM BLOODY MURDER on the train, I want to snuggle them close and swing them around until they sleep.  And when I hear the horror stories about a friend-of-a-friend’s teenage daughter being a smart-mouthed wannabe promiscuous bad-ass, I want to instill in her the kinds of things my parents taught me, like “NO MEANS NO!” (and this is especially freaky, because I am WAY TOO YOUNG to get parenting twangs from TEENAGERS!!).

So what is this urge in me?  Is it purely evolutionary?  Is it God’s way of reassuring me that someday I’ll have my own brood?  It can’t be because I’m “ready” — um, I’m not married,  I’m not engaged, heck I don’t even have a boyfriend, oh, and I live with four other women.  We can’t even have pets and my houseplant isn’t doing so well, so there’s no way my life is gearing toward parenthood.  So what is this baby-snatching impulse I’ve got?  I don’t know, but if you see me running full-force up the sidewalk pushing a stroller with some screaming woman who closely resembles an angry she-bear chasing me, STOP ME.  And return that baby to the real mommy.