I thought I might become her when I had kids. I thought that with the plastic ID bracelet, a pristine diaper bag, and an eight pound infant, I might go home from the hospital with a whole new outlook, an outlook that made me a nicer person, a person who adored all children.No.
Don’t get me wrong, I adore my own children. And I’m sure if I met you, I would adore yours, too, because your children most likely are wonderful and I might even view them as an extension of my own children. As in, perfect.Sadly, after more than eight years of studying Other People’s Children (OPC), I have come to the shocking conclusion that some kids are great and some kids suck.
Sort of like adults.Before you call the New York Times with this startling news (“Mom Reveals: Not All Children Are Fantastic!”), let me explain. I am not in love with the kid who is having a tantrum at 10 PM at Target (yes, the parents have him out too late—I am not in love with them either). I am not in love with the child who grabs three books out of my toddler’s hands at the library and then runs away laughing while his oblivious father does nothing. I don’t like the child who climbs up on top of the roof of the play structure at the park (while the nanny texts her pals), thus introducing the concept of invincibility to my sons. I am not a fan of the kid who threw up on me during that five-hour cross-country flight (oh, wait—that might have been my own kid).
However, I do adore the gap-toothed little girl in Tall’s class who ran up and gave me a hug because I volunteered that day. I’m crazy about the neighbor kid who practices his ukulele at the bus stop, for the sole reason that his fun attitude is contagious. I’m quite fond of Short’s best pal who frequently announces to no one in particular, “I’m having a great day!” So I do like some OPC; I am not a monster.The problem I have is the problem all parents (and teachers?) have: faking it. We have to pretend that every child is adorable and sweet, that we want to hug our best friend’s three-year-old when he has snot running down his chin, that we are enamored with that red-headed boy who trips your older son repeatedly on purpose. Yes, so cute, I just love kids!
But it’s a lie. We know in our heads it’s not true.And if you find yourself loving every single child you have ever met, please send me the name of the drugs you’re on. I need that prescription.