If there is one thing people will never look at me and say, it’s “Hmmm, I wonder why she never had any children.”
I hate children. Especially undisciplined children that run around and scream for no apparent reason, in places of work, in restaurants, in shopping malls, on the beach. For a recent example, I’m laying on my beach towel, and this fat mindless truck of a child runs right over my head (right over my head!) in his beeline for the water, covering me with sand which I have to “pffft pffft pffft” out of my mouth. I’d like to confront the little idiot, but by the time I realize what’s hit me, he’s already down at the water, chasing after the tide like he thinks he can catch it, and I don’t feel like getting into an argument with someone who thinks he can catch the tide. I can tell from here that there’s absolutely nothing going on inside that meaty little skull of his. The blinds are up and the shingles are painted, but all the people have moved away!
We have a name for these blank, personality-less little blobs of humanity in my family: block babies, because they have about as much going on inside their heads as those little red-brick cardboard blocks we used to make houses with in kindergarten.
And then there are the ones who aren’t just babies but full grown toddlers who can talk and express themselves, but are being carried around in their mother’s arms, crying incessantly, apparently about nothing. What in the world are they crying about? Wahh! Wahh! Wahhh! all day long. It’s not like they can’t talk. Why don’t they stop their crying and TELL US WHAT IS WRONG! And what is wrong with their mothers? They must realize that they have a full grown toddler with speaking capabilities in their arms. Why don’t they DO something about it? While I like to blame the parents, I can’t help but blame the children too. At some point in our lives (the ripe old age of one, I vote), we all need to rise above the inept disciplinary skills of our parents, pull ourselves up by the bootstraps, and shut the hmmmph up.
And what’s with this one little girl, who I’ve known for about 5 years, but in all these years she never seems to age or grow old or mature? She’s that same, unoriginal, washed-out little void with a pig nose, just as pointless as ever. It’s not just me, other people have confirmed it as well: this child has not aged a day since we’ve known her. Other children grow up and grow old, but not this one. It’s like she’s stuck in a time warp, or her own version of The Shining. I already know what her high school graduation picture will look like, and her wedding picture, and 50th Anniversary picture, and I’m half tempted to photoshop her likeness into grown up situations just to save everyone the trouble of taking pictures of her, since we already know how she’s going to look in every situation imaginable for the next hundred years.
So what I can’t understand is how people know this about me, but somehow still think their children are going to be exceptions, that I’m somehow going to think that their children are any different. They pull out their wallets to show me pictures, or present them to me in person, these frightful little blobs, like they present them to everyone else, with awe and pride, and I’m supposed to coo and speak to them and ask them questions and compliment them on how cute they are, but I just stand there, with a look of disgust on my face. I try to rally and say something appropriate, but whatever I say is the wrong thing, and instead we all get to enjoy a moment of stilted awkwardness. It’s not fair that they do this to me. They KNOW how I feel. Yet they’re inevitably disappointed by my reaction.
When I was little and used to meet adults, I used to think it was the adult’s job to initiate the conversation and draw me out and get to know me. Now that I’m the adult, the tables have turned, and I expect the children to initiate the conversation and draw me out and get to know me. I don’t know what to say to kids. Every time I try to speak to them, it falls flat anyway, so I’ve given up. It’s their turn to try, and if they can’t be as quietly extroverted and conversationally forthcoming as I’d like them to be, they should at least have an interpretative tap dance or a well-rehearsed juggling act all ready to go, so I can applaud sincerely at the end and be on my way. Otherwise, my NO CHILDREN ALLOWED policy remains in force, and I recommend that people wait until their children have achieved full adulthood before presenting them to me.