According to impeccable sources on the social media, baby horses are born with squishy hooves out of deference to their mothers. I did not know that. I knew fawns are not born with a full rack of antlers and baby rhinoceroses pop out with just a starter nubbin for a horn. This is only polite. Any other arrangement would work only if the baby deer or rhinoceros were both carnivorous and cannibalistic, which they are not. If you’re going to be a regulation mammal with a future, it pays to be nice to your mom.

In many cases it seems that mom is not necessarily nice to you, but a lot of times it’s the tough love that’s going to see you through. Wildebeest mamas make a point of dropping kids in the middle of the herd and the little guys had best be up and moving in a hurry, but that’s good. Wildebeests that are born on the margins become lion snacks. (Gnuggets.) Giraffe mamas do not lie down to give birth; their kids plummet from above and their mamas squint down at the slick heap of spots and bones and say “Don’t make me come down there.” But it works. The kids have to stand up tall and take some responsibility, because that’s where the milk is.

Anyway, it turns out the little horses’ hooves are all soft and weird and look like asparagus spears. As soon as they hit air they harden up. Humans make allowances too. Those giant human baby heads are made of movable plates that can deform quite a bit during the birth process, such that some children’s skulls come out looking like zucchini, and settle out into a socially acceptable shape later on their own time. I, myself, was less than six pounds at birth with a head the size of a tennis ball, including the fuzz, and for that reason my mommy loved me very much, although it’s possible I didn’t need to be that considerate, since she assured me she was completely knocked out for the event. At any rate, human babies make quite a few adjustments out of pure thoughtfulness and that is why the human birth process is such a snap.

Pardon me? No, I haven’t given birth myself, why do you ask? I wasn’t interested in being pregnant because I thought it would ruin my line.

That line being: “We decided not to have children because the genetic counselor said there was too great a risk they would turn out something like us.”

I did have the opportunity, but I determined I was not mature enough for parenthood, and have spent the rest of my life proving it. There is, I’m sure you have noticed, quite a range of attitudes women take toward fetuses, and mine is “when I want your opinion, I’ll give it to you.” Yeah, I would have been that kind of mommy.

Thanks to you, I’m over halfway to my fundraising goal for the Portland Audubon Birdathon! If you’d like to help, please visit my pledge page. Yay!