Monday, June 10, 2013

It's Not That I Don't Like Children, It's Just That I Don't Like Yours.

"When I took to someone I took to them, and when I took against them ditto. Mostly I felt indifference." --Elaine Dundy

Somehow, during my brief acquaintance with this world, I have gained a reputation for disliking children. It's true that I don't get as excited about the prospect of seeing children as much as I get excited about, say, a fresh banana milkshake topped with whipped cream. It's hard to beat the allure of a fresh banana milkshake. Put a shot of coconut rum in that and I'll love you forever. Banana milkshakes aside, the fact remains that it's not that I don't like all children. It's just that I don't like your children.

This is partly because I'm a bad liar. While I won't think twice about brushing someone off by telling them I have family in town (when I'm actually lying about in my pajamas, watching Arrested Development with the cat and pondering the eternal question of what color to paint my nails), I can't possibly lie to someone about their children. I refuse to Facebook like people's scary alien pictures of the insides of their uteri, and I don't like pictures of babies covered in guck. Clean the child up before you document his private parts on Facebook for all the world to see, please. As soon as I see one of these offending pictures, I banish the parents from my newsfeed so that I won't happen upon another bloody child picture the next time I'm innocently browsing Facebook while eating my lunch.

But underneath this refusal to lie about children is that I don't trust children. I don't trust adults, either, but that is a subject for another day. Children have burnt me one too many times. I've witnessed full-fledged tantrums which make Christian Bale look like an amateur. I've seen them bite their parents, the ones who are funding their childhood careers. When a child starts whining every muscle inside me begins to cringe, and my face turns into a death mask of forced politeness. Children can be miniature incarnations of the devil himself. Rosemary's Baby is still a classic because mothers have secretly wondered if their child is the offspring of the devil. I've certainly seen enough kids who could give that child a run for his money in the department of demonic behavior. If they cause scenes, throw fits, or otherwise disturb my day, I don't feel any compulsion to like them.

This is, most likely, the reason I have never been the girl who eagerly offers up her services to babysit for breadcrumbs. I don't start drooling as soon as a baby enters the room, and don't offer to hold the baby. I've heard girls my age moan about how much their wombs crave babies or their bodies ache when they hear a baby crying. I then look at them like they've suddenly admitted a partiality for human flesh cooked to medium rare. When I crave something it's usually along the lines of champagne with my popcorn at a movie. I don't crave children. I don't crave childbirth. And I don't crave pain in general, (which is another reason why I avoid Fifty Shades of Grey like the plague). But because I never once wailed about how much I wanted to be blessed that instant with a child in some sort of immaculate conception orchestrated by the powers that be, I have been branded as a hater of children, devoid of all maternal instinct.

For a while I thought maybe it was true and I couldn't be a mother because I never felt these cravings. But then I adopted a long haired cat who I adore more than anything else on the earth. I love her even when she eats her food so fast she promptly throws it all up on my favorite chair. I take my life into my hands any time I am forced to give her a bath. With a child you know you never run the risk that they will gouge your eye out with a flailing claw, (unless the worst has happened and you do have Rosemary's baby). If that's not maternal affection I don't know what is.

So no, I won't fuss over your kids, demand to hold them, or talk baby talk to them. I don't pine for impulses that, from what I can research, won't set in until I'm actually expecting a kid, and I don't dream of the day when I too can post a picture of an alien parasite that's taken up residence in my body. It's just not my thing, and that's the way it is. Until then I shall enjoy my carefree life free of all demonic offspring, and when my cat's acting up at three in the morning, rejoice in the fact that I can always lock her out of my bedroom and return to my blissful, ten-hour long slumbers.

1 comment:

Kyte said...

Ha, that's JUST how I felt...and now I have a kid! Imagine that. And as it turns out, I'm happy to watch Winnie-the-Pooh ad infinitum and to sacrifice sleep and clean up explosive spit up at 2 am and wrestle him down for a nap just for the reward of his darling little dimpled smile afterwards. <3 But that's my baby. I am still always surprised when people volunteer to watch him and deal with him when they don't have to...and they actually seem to enjoy it! Bizarre.