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.