Friday, February 03, 2006

Child's Play

It is one of the greatest mysteries of my time. I have tried and tried to solve it, but the answer still eludes me: Why, oh why, do people stick me with their kids?

At work on Tuesday, a friend of the boss came in with his three year old son. As my boss, his sister, Lisa, and the friend spoke, I heard the friend say "Go talk to Laurie."


Good - and outgoing - little boy that he was, he came right over to me. And I, the twenty-five-year-old-girl-with-little-to-no-experience-with-children, was forced to make conversation. With a three-year-old. So we talked about dinosaurs, naturally. And his new toy truck. And I asked him how old he was and if he went to school (I don't know when kids start school) and he told me how strong he is and how he lifts heavy boxes all the time.

He was very cute, I'll give him that. And not at all annoying. It was about the time, however, that he decided to demonstrate the speed with which he can run, that I started to lose the gumption required to undertake this particular task at hand.

I find it hard to relate to kids. Of any age. I know I always hated being spoken to like a child, so I tend to speak to children the same way I would speak to an adult. And I feel like an idiot. Because, clearly, a three-year-old is not an adult. And I don't know what kids like to do. I don't know what they enjoy, what their interests are. I have to watch my language, for both obscenities and big words.

But I get through it. I seem interested, and I ooh and aaawww at the appropriate points. I usually punctuate a conversation with the wee one with a "S/He's so cute" to the parent. And, for that, I think the parents think I enjoy the kids.

But I don't.

When I worked at the bank, I had a particular customer who would burst through the door with her two awful grandchildren and instantly instruct: "Go see Laurie!" And the little monsters would run over to my desk, try to open my drawers, try to tell me about their days...And it drove me nuts. I had work to do. I had things that I could be accomplishing beyond babysitting. But, obviously, somewhere along the line, I gave the impression that I liked to have them crawling all over me and offering me the remnants of their half-chewed lollipops.

Don't get me wrong, there are kids out there that I love (Okay, ONE kid out there that I love: Adrian, my Godson). And I know that there are women out there who love other people's kids. But I'm not one of those women. I don't even like other people's dogs.

I'm starting to wonder if I was born without the maternal instinct.


Lunchy McBox said...

I know what you're saying. I had to babysit my nephew quite a bit. I just tried to mold him into my image so I wouldn't have to mess with him. Now that he's 4, it's cake. We both just lay around and watch Spongebob and eat hotpockets.

But yeah...I wouldn't send my kids to talk to you. You seem kinda mean.

portuguesa nova said...

My sis is the same way. Me too, to a certain extent.

My family was at Christmas midnight mass one year and they were doing some kind of ceremony where it was dark and there were candles and children singing and the lighting of a tree and all sorts of Christmas type things...And this baby in front of us was absolutely freaking out with delight, and just kept pointing saying, "Pretty tree! Pretty tree! Pretty tree!"

It was very cute.

Suddenly, my sis blurts out, "We heard you. We know its a pretty tree. Now be quiet."

Anonymous said...

I hate kids but....I love my son.
I hate being around kids but I love to be right next to mine so I can hear his heart beats.
I hate talking to kids specially those with "baby talking" but.. I love talking with my son and I don't really understand him.
Anyway Chimi, what I want to tell you is that make me really happy that you said that you love my son.
Love you.

Anonymous said...

Strange as this may sound you are just like me....To this day, when people come to work bringing their children, and give them to people to hold, I will always quietly sneak away, because, I like you, do NOT enjoy other peoples kids. I am sure that will change when YOU have kids. I KNOW I will love THEM!!!!!

Popeye said...

Yeah, kids kinda seem attracted to be like lint. I like 'em for their general people-ness more than for their particular kid-ness. I've chosen not to have them.

Anonymous said...

When it comes to other people's children I generally love them but I understand that not everyone feels the same way. I think people just assume that if you're nice, personable and female than you must love children, which is, of course, completely unfair. I don't have any children of my own but I, hopefully, will never inflict them onto someone who doesn't enjoy other people's children.

Good luck! Alayne

Scoot said...

I was going to ask if you could babysit my kids tonight, but I think I'll look elsewhere ;)

kate said...

the best thing about other people's kids is that they get to go home. i love kids. generally all kids. i'm kinda a big kid myself so we mesh. but i often wonder if i have a maternal instict and if i'd be a good mother even though.

Bry said...

I generally like other people's children (since I have none of my own), except infants...they creep me out, all-mushy and troll looking with no neck control, and kids with snotty noses creep me out as well, but I always tell myself that my children will be different...I'm sure you'll be an awesome mother, if having children is what you want to do.

Kristi said...

Laurie. I went to college to get my teaching licence. Came out of it withn a Teachers Assistant thingy. spent good money on college....
I don't like other peoples kids.
All that school has not gone to waste though.
i use all the child pyscology on The Queen and its Great!
Cause I only have a little maternal instinct and its ALL used up on her.
Good Luck Girlie