Sunday, April 15, 2012

743. Other People's Children Starts With "O"

I am not that mom.  You know the one:  She loves all children equally, sings to squirrels at the park, coos over strangers’ babies at the grocery store, and feels her uterus contract ever so slightly when she sees a pregnant woman.  She is one part Earth and ten parts Mother, and 100% Hollywood fiction. 

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. 

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. 



  1. Don't forget that Sunday is a non alphabet day.

  2. Awww.... well you have a point of course - some kids have been tweaked into doing things that are super annoying and obnoxious...

    But no matter how obnoxious, I like to think that it's the adults in their lives fault, and that it's possible to reach the nicer kid inside if you try.

    I'm sort of pro-children in the extreme though - maybe that's a little obnoxious in itself! lol

  3. I teach 13- and 14-year olds. Some of them I love; the bulk of them I do not. But then again, neither do their own parents. They are 13- and 14-year olds.

  4. There is a kid at Beege's school, who picks on her, who I can't even muster a little bit of like for. He calls her names and orders other kids not to play with her "because she's a baby". Even if I could somehow like him, now that Beege has learned to stay away from him (and accept that his being mean has more to do with him than her); I once saw him hit a baby with a stick and laugh.

    It would be bizarre if I could like that kid.

  5. Not only do I not like most other children, I also yell at them. I am the mom that kids will tell stories about in years to come. "Remember the lady who screamed at us to stop running at the pool? She was f*ckin NUTS."

    I appreciate your honesty, because all this "kids are so wonderful" ballyhoo is hogwash. Kids are adults in training, and nobody really wants to be on the expressway behind the student driver. Once they know how to cut their own meat and properly greet guests, my heart thaws.

    It's not like I'm a total monster.

  6. I'm not yet a parent, and I hope I'm not one of those mothers who drags their toddler to Target at 10pm, lets their child run amok in pet stores (or any store really) letting the poor employees babysit them, or throws a tantrum because they didn't get the latest toy that makes really annoying sounds. Because, yes, those kids and parents suck.

  7. My sister's son was kicked out of 5 schools by the age of 7 and had been on 6 different ADHD meds. When I told him to sit down and behave one day (instead of throwing food and spitting at me)she screamed at me to leave him alone that he wasn't perfect and never told the child a word. That was four years ago. She has not spoken to me since. That was the only time I had ever corrected her child (she was playing video games).

    Some parents think the world should put a red carpet out for their kids while they are texting and playing games and being kids themselves.

    This post is so true (and funny as heck!)

    1. I do believe it's better for your nephew to not know where you live. When he goes all goth & angry, you will be out of the line of danger (therby preserving your awesome blog and/or life).

  8. My kid's cousin tries to squoosh hug her the entire time they're together. They're both 2 but he outweighs her by a good 10 pounds. Hey buddy. Leave my kid alone, you're freaking her the eff out. And his mom acts like it's totally fine because he 'just loves her'. Fantasatic, I love her too, but maybe we could talk about boundries at some point?

  9. I like other people's pets, not other people's children

  10. Thank goodness there are more of us! More than once I've been told, You're so good with kids. Don't be suckered. It's leading up to a will you watch my kids kind of request. So I reply, I'm good with my kids. Your kids? I don't know your kids.
    A to Z

  11. So very true! I kept trying to decide how old kids had to be for me to hold them accountable for their undesirable behaviors, as opposed to just disliking their parents! Sometimes I do still dislike my husband when his kids are kids are always lovely!

  12. THANK YOU!!! I agree 100% I often feel evil for thinking, ugggh I can't stand this little kid, but it's mostly a reflection of their parents. Anyway, you made me smile :)

  13. My mother must be one of those rare creatures who simply ADORES *all* children. Yes. Really.

    ALL CHILDREN. It's so crazy that you know I can't make this up. :P

    -Barb the French Bean

  14. ditto!

    i enjoyed my toddlers & taught preschool when the school my boys went to was in a pinch (i have a teaching degree) but now that they're older i am over it. i much more enjoy conversations, movies & games with them now. i'ill stick with my high school math wisenheimers to teach, too =)

  15. I have certainly met some children that I do not care for very much. But, I have a pretty high tolerance level.

  16. I feel so much better now, knowing that I'm not the only one.

  17. I know exactly what you mean.I didn't really like my friend's son and he didn't like me,he was a spoilt boy and resented any time she spent not with him. I guess the are just mini adults, some you get on with some you don't.

  18. Hmmmm...I could say that I found something lovable in every child I ever taught. But yeah, I hear you on this one.

  19. @ Kirby Dunton Carespodi: I teach 13-14 year olds too! But just reading and writing. Funny thing is - I love them all. If any of them were up for adoption - hell, if they were ALL up for adoption, I'd take them all. I really would.

    MOV: SOunds like its the parents you're running out of love for!

  20. Teachers too ;) not so much to the point where I really dislike any of them, but whoever said teachers don't have favourites was a big fat liar! Some of them annoy me, some I like more than others, some make me laugh, some I wish would grow a backbone...just like adults! But, since there's a mix of personalities in the teachers too, the ones I love are the ones someone else despairs of and vice versa, so it all evens out in the end!

  21. Thanks to all who wrote! This A to Z Challenge is kicking my you-know-what because I usually answer each comment individually. Sorry I am running out of time to do that. I read each one, and am so happy you took the time to write!!!



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