April 2016: Not fit to be apparent

I don’t like children.

In general. For the most part. There have been exceptions, but considering how many children there are in the world, the exceptions make up such a small percentage that the result is negligible, and can simply be attributed to measurement error.

This isn’t just some random proclamation. I’ve had enough experience with children to rationalize my decision.

Some people are good with kids. I am not one of them.

(There are those that find this difficult to believe. I point out it’s difficult to believe baby oil is just mineral oil with artificial baby flavoring.)

It’s just as well then, that I don’t want to have children of my own.

(See? I do care about the world!)

This comes from experience, of course. Children are loud, random, and difficult to control or understand. While they have their amusing moments, so do many other things in the world that don’t demand nearly as much attention, or smell nearly as bad. Like monster truck rallies.

Although I don’t like those, either.

I have no interest in being around children or interacting with them. Annoyingly, many of them are attracted to my disinterest, and I end up becoming their best friend in the whole room. Their lack of comprehension and refusal to obey orders compounds my discomfort – this is the only rational explanation for how “Please don’t sit on my lap” is interpreted as “Fall asleep and stay there forever.” And it seems that if the child isn’t yours, it’s looked down upon if you shoo them away. Especially if it’s toward danger, no matter how inadvertently.

It’s an illogical reaction anyway, especially when it comes from the parents that ask if you want to hold their newborn. That just seems like a risky venture to me. What if I don’t want to give it back? What if I’m hungry? What if I’ve only been your friend for the past 20 years because I knew one day you’d turn your back after handing over your child and I could finally distract those hungry Russian wolves chasing my sleigh?

This willful placing of a child in danger is, in my mind, far more egregious than accidentally hip-checking a toddler into the side of a couch.

Even worse are the parents that don’t bother to ask before suddenly slinging their infant into my arms. My instinctual reflex is to pull away, not pull towards. I suppose some people enjoy seeing the look of horror on my face when I’m handed a child. Just like I enjoy the look of horror that results when it turns into a game of baby hot potato.

(No, I’ve never dropped a baby. I just resent being put into a position where it could easily happen. Seriously, for all they know, I just put lotion on my hands.)

I don’t begrudge other people for having children; I’m sure they have their reasons. I just can’t fathom what they are, any more than I ever understood the rationale that led to my own birth.

I’m guessing my parents must have been bored.

Really, really bored. And momentarily witless. Maybe the TV was broken.

They already had one child. That should have given them pause before creating me. Secretly, I’ve always believed they weren’t particularly happy with the outcome of the first, which is a possible reason for trying for the second.

(The third child that followed after me could only have been an oversight.)

I’ve had enough contact with kids to know that my lack of parenting ability isn’t going to be overcome. I can even list specifics. For instance, somehow, a friend convinced me to babysit once. (I’m guessing I was promised food.) I went into it with an open mind and every intention to do the best job possible.

I did well, until the unavoidable occurred and the child needed changed. I could only keep the baby’s diaper on by using duct tape. I thought this was a better solution than using a new diaper and letting one go to waste, just because the tabs weren’t nearly as strong as they look in commercials, but apparently only some creative solutions in parenting are acceptable and worth printing in motherhood magazines along with the hundred-and-one-things that can be done with an empty formula can.

This same child wouldn’t eat one evening. She did, however, express interest in what I was eating. While it was still in my mouth. After I had chewed it.

This was before she was old enough to use utensils. Which is just as well, as I don’t think I’d want a fork in my mouth not under my direct control.

At least she didn’t go hungry.

Children learn from their parents. Parental wisdom comes easily to some people. I don’t think I’m one of them, so I’d be stuck passing on the wisdom my parents gave me, or at least what little of it I remember, such as: don’t pick at it.

Granted, that’s good advice for a multitude of situations and circumstances, but I feel a parent should be able to offer up more. Heck, my mother was quick to turn anything into a learning situation, like when she told me that a dying child in a tv show had eaten a peach pit. Or the woman with the badly cut arm had been playing with a ripped soda can.

I wasn’t old enough to know that a child hit by a car wasn’t dying because he ate the seed out of a peach, but I was old enough to understand the peach tree in our backyard would kill me, and to avoid metal cans at all costs.

(This is the woman who also let me fry my own eggs for breakfast when I was three. So she had her off days, too.)

I guess lessons don’t have to make sense to teach a valuable point.

There are people who stumble into being parents and do a fantastic job at it, just as there are those who know their entire lives that they want to have children someday. I think it’s just as important that there are people (like myself) who are just as capable as recognizing that they’re not parental material, and recognize as well the wisdom of not trying to change the person’s mind.

So if there’s any kind of a valuable point in this nonsensical lesson, it’s that parenting is easy enough to screw up even with the best of intentions – why encourage it under the worse of circumstances?

Nobody really wants to see someone die from eating a peach pit when they’re cooking eggs, you know.

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2 comments
  1. kateorman said:

    There was a running joke amongst our friends (one of them confessed to it) that Jon and I would be so hopeless as parents that we would go out and leave the baby on top of the washing machine. (This would be followed by an impression of a crying, vibrating baby which cannot be reproduced by mere words.)

    • Some of us are just not meant to have children. And possibly, washing machines.

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