I like kids. I was a camp counselor for years. I planned to be a pediatrician. I’m fairly immature myself.
But then I had children.
And I love mine. But I started loving everyone else’s a little less.
I didn’t ooh and aah as much. It’s now more of a oh that’s another baby nod.
Of course, I’m not heartless. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I care about the babies of my dear friends, too.
But the children milling around at EVERY FAMILY-FRIENDLY EVENT we attend? Nope. Not interested. But thank you for playing.
I went to the coffee shop the other day. These three little girls from ages two to six could SMELL the tired indifference in me.
While N and I are trying on crowns, they grab my shoes out of the bin and tried to bring them to me. They “borrowed” my purse. The youngest enjoys taking toys from my daughter and PUTTING THEM IN HER MOUTH. (The mom did intervene there. But when she went to hand back the saliva-soaked ball to N, I said: No thank you. She can KEEP that one.)
I feel guilty. I tell myself I’m tired. And over-protective. Other people’s children are stressful. (And in this case, kinda weird.)
Then it hits me. Like a ton of bricks whose injurious nature I can complain about for weeks afterwards to garner MUCH sympathy. Because, you see, in my home, we ALL crave attention. We LOVE attention. We have LOOK AT ME down pat.
And ALL children, by their VERY NATURE, are attention-lovers. They are beings driven to have all eyes, ears and hands in a twenty-foot radius heading in their direction to induce giggles and praises.
Sorry OTHER KIDS, I’m completely capped out.
Between my seventeen-month-old and my four-year-old, being married to Captain Attention and of course, having to get the proper amount of attention myself, I don’t have the energy.
I’m too needed by those I care about to care about the three blonde siblings tormenting me with their CHILD-LIKE JOY AND STARRY-EYED VIEW OF HUMANITY.
Sorry to burst the bubble, kiddos. But I cannot smile. And clap. And spend every afternoon letting every child in the vicinity know they are wonderful over and over and over again. Aren’t there self-esteem programs for this?
Maybe the other parents just need to STEP IT UP more when I’m in the house.
Because I’m ignoring your children.
Once I get my purse back.
Please little girl. Yes, that is the PRETTIEST dress I’ve EVER seen. May I please have my purse back? Yes, it IS amazing that you can balance on that wall with my purse on your head. And wow you can use my lip gloss to paint your toes. Oh, you can keep that now. For being so fabulous. Where is your mother again?