Monday, April 15, 2013

Kids

Anyone that knows me in the slightest is probably highly aware of my rather potent love of babies and children. And I think I've said I want some of my own in over half of the blog posts I've published thus far. But I think I'm going to talk about something specific, here. And that's how kids make me happy. I'll start with a story.

This morning was a pure shitstorm of atrocity and ire. I had accidentally set my alarm for p.m. instead of a.m., and after being exhausted from the wedding I officiated over the weekend (I'll post on that later), as well as from sleeping so shittily recently because of my shingles (another thing I'll post about later- damn), I ended up sleeping until almost 10. Unheard of on a Monday, and really bad for timing this week in particular. I not only completely missed an event I had helped plan, but I was on track to almost missing the bus that could get me to campus on time for my regular Monday gig of TAing. But other things just kept going wrong as my morning slowly spiraled downward. Not in chronological order, but the order I can recall them: I spilled coffee on not one, nor even two, but three blouses. I fell down the stairs when taking River outside and scraped my knee something awful. I bit my cheek so badly when eating my granola and yogurt that I tasted more blood than breakfast (and am pretty sure I swallowed a chunk of my own flesh). I slipped in the shower and banged my funny bone on one of the soap shelves on the wall. And I was so stressed that I didn't realize I was actually holding the shoe for which I was looking until I had released a good, long string of expletives in a tone and at a volume that made poor River leave the room with her tail between her legs and her ears flat against her head.

I stomped out of the apartment at the last possible moment (after apologizing  profusely to River, then giving her a shit-ton of treats in her cage to compensate) (I'm a terrible mother), I'm certain with flames trailing behind me and steam coming out of my nostrils. 


And then, this darling little girl (I'm going to guestimate aged four) started crossing my path somewhat in the distance in front of me, a plastic bag in her hand, her destination obviously the huge dumpster across from her apartment. I smiled instinctively, as I always do when I see babies or kids in public, and she smiled back and waved vigorously as she skipped her way to the dumpster. By the time she started back to her apartment, I had already passed her, but I was still smiling a little.

"I live in the same place as you!" I heard her call from behind me. I turned, and she was skipping in my direction, somewhat away from her place. I said yes, well, sort of, since I live back that way. She said, "Oh, that's okay, I just live right there," pointing to her door as she skipped beside me. "Are you going for a nice walk, or to school right now?" She looked up at me with eyes like an anime character.

She looked basically like this
"School," I said, and I couldn't help but let that sound really unhappy.

"Oh," she said, and she patted my leg, "that's okay, I bet you're really awesome. You look like you would be, I love your jacket! I bet that makes you really smart!"

I giggled, "Well, I don't know about that, but thanks, dear." I tugged and adjusted my teal blazer a little. 


"Okay," she said, all business, "I should probably get back and help Mom with the [insert name of some Indian food I don't remember here] some more. I'll miss you!" and the little angel hugged my leg (I had stopped walking by then), then scampered back to her apartment.

Allow me to add that I'd never seen this particular girl before- her siblings, yes, and even her mother and grandmother, but not her.


Now, before your alarm bells start going off, please allow me to just indulge in this moment and memory. Yes, I know the dangers a little girl behaving like that could face, because no, not everyone is a nice person, but I need to just keep that little encounter for what it was for me, okay? 

That little girl completely turned my day around. I was smiling the entire time I was waiting for the bus, when on it, when TAing, and hours later when I recalled it in a coffee shop on campus and typed it up initially, I had the hugest, most idiotic grin on my face. I was even listening to that extremely overplayed song by Gotye, "Somebody That I Used to Know," and when normally I'd groan, I was instead fighting giggling as I remembered this little girl. And I'm smiling pretty wide now that I'm finishing this post almost twelve hours later.

I don't know why, but kids have that effect on me. Just seeing them cheers me up for a few moments, and interacting with them like that fills me with so much inexplicable joy that I can be set up for hours upon hours of unnecessary happiness. Whenever I go to department functions, I constantly gravitate towards the children. If I'm ever missing at a barbecue, find the kids- you'll find me there. At that wedding over the weekend, there was this one adorable little girl, niece of the groom, and she and I wandered off and played together for a good twenty minutes by ourselves. And I was almost as happy then as I was when I was giving my pseudo-sermon for the couple. 

I think this is one reason why I loved working at that elementary school. When I wasn't with the special ed. students, I was still surrounded by kids. And whenever I was shadowing for inclusion with one or two of my kids, I'd also get to interact with some of their peers in the mainstream room. And there were a few of those that I especially would look forward to seeing- I even got cards from a few of them when I was "retiring" from the school district. I'd put them on grand display if I could, but, alas, that box got lost when I moved out here to Indiana. Of course. Le sigh.

Anyhoo, this: 

Probably the only context in which I'd be
100% okay with a mohawk.
I loved working in the nursery at my church in Walla Walla because, essentially, I was paid to play for babies for two hours every week. I couldn't care less about changing diapers- I actually enjoyed that, sickeningly enough, because I found that the kids somehow instinctively took that as a signal that I was, indeed, safe- I found more than once that a kid that had previously been kind of a crier would decrease the amount of time they wailed considerably the next time they came in if I wound up needing to change their diaper at some point. It's a bonding thing, I guess? I dunno. Anyhoo, point is, I did my best in whatever environment I was in to make the kids/babies I was around comfortable, happy, and safe in those professional environments. And it would always make me really, really sad when a kid seemed to not like me. I felt a lot more hurt when a kid sort of rejected me than I ever feel when an adult/peer does so undeniably.

I sometimes find it hard to concentrate on a conversation with a person when I'm on the bus or in a restaurant or something and there's a cute kid or baby nearby. I know it has been somewhat annoying for friends on more than on occasion, but I just can't help myself. I want to smile at the kid and make them smile back, or just stare in what probably could be taken as creepily as they do their own thing and ignore me completely.

Me. 


This perhaps unhealthy love of children isn't unqualified,  though. I kind of hate middle schoolers. I hated middle schoolers when I, myself, was a middle schooler. So this love of youths extends mostly to fifth grade and under. I can like individual middle schoolers, sure, but in groups, they're annoying as Hell and I'd rather change the diapers of a fifth grader than spend half an hour supervising a group of twelve-year-olds. Tweens? Ew. No thanks. 

But this love for kids also leads me to have rather mama-bear SAVE THE CHILDREN! preferences in a lot of instances. And I get really judgmental really fast of other peoples' parenting, thinking to myself, "My God, I'd never do it that way." And I blame parents when kids are being brats, even though I do, on some level, realize sometimes kids just are, brats. 

I like to think I'll be a good mom someday. I know I won't be perfect, and that I'll invariably end up fucking my kids up in some way, because that's just how life is- there's always something therapy-worthy in one's youth (and  if you don't think so about yourself, you're in denial, bitch). But still, I at least know I want to be the kind of mom that the kids aren't embarrassed by (entirely, anyway), that they feel they can talk to about anything, come to for anything, and aren't afraid of. I don't want them to think of me as a friend, no, but I don't want them to be annoyed whenever I checked in on them, or to loathe the idea of doing something outside of the house with me, either. I do fear that my mama bear tendencies will lead me to being sort of a hellicopter mom, or that I'll be a little too strict in the name of protecting them (for example, I'm really torn on screening their TV and music). But I'm not gonna lie: I totes want a swagger wagon:

I second/third/fifth guess myself about pretty much everything all the time, so I of course speculate constantly as to whether my desire to be a mom comes from a selfish inclination to make myself happy through children. Like I'd be objectifying them, seeing them as a means to an end, rather than ends in and of themselves. Very anti-Kantian. Not that I really like Kant all that much, but I at least agree with him when he says people should be people, not tools for the selfish desires of others.

And maybe that self-awareness is enough. I just know I love kids, and they make me happy, and I want to make them happy, so I want to raise a gaggle of happy, mostly-well-adjusted children someday. I just hope I'm a little better about treats with humans than I am with dogs.

Here's hopin'. 

5 comments:

  1. This post went from making me feel super bad for you to making me want to squee :)

    (Hope your knee isn't too bad though <3).

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  2. Alarm bells! Oh, OK. Fine. :) I feel like I'm having a conversation with you when I read your posts, except you've already anticipated how I'm going to respond.

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  3. I think we're all programmed to like very young, conventionally "cute" animals of all species on some level so we'll be more inclined to take care of them. I certainly can't say that I like children as much as you do. There are those who love all children indiscriminately and those who place their own children above everyone else's. I think if I do have children I'll probably end up in the latter group.

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  4. Heh, well as for my writing style, it's basically the way I talk to myself, the inner dialogues, only I restrict what's presented to one side's lines during the exchange. So it actually *is* somewhat conversational.

    And as for the love of kids, I think I'm already the type that loves all children indiscriminately, but once I have my own, I'll love them just a tidbit more. I'll still be all, "OOOOO, BABY!" if I see someone else with a poop-maching on their shoulder, even after I've cleaned up my own kids' turds.

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