Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Other People's Kids

I've been struggling with this all week. I know I'm not much of a people person on a good day, and even less so of a kid person. I wish I just get over it or something, but really what's the point? I don't have kids!

So what is it about other people's kids that drives me nuts? No, that's not really the right question. And I'm not sure I do know the right question to ask. The situation I'm going to lay out below doesn't refer to my adorable niece - yet. But now I'm afraid that it will eventually and I won't be cool, fun Auntie Stef anymore, but mean, nasty, old Auntie Stef. I don't want that.

Here's why I'm asking. Last Friday night I hopped on the train to the South Shore to spend the night at a friend's house. Viv & Franck have two kids; one is nearly two years old, the other about 5 months old. Now I know it's hard to have kids and get dinner ready and all that stuff. But I didn't go over to babysit. I ended up trying to entertain a 23-month old for an hour before dinner, for about an hour after dinner, and then couldn't have a conversation with my friend that I did go to visit without being interrupted by said child to read the same book over and over and over again. Little 5-month old didn't much like being held by me and proceeded to scream her head off everytime I was asked to hold her for a minute (or 30). Then on Saturday morning spent another good stretch of time repeating all this. In the 18 or so hours I was there, my friend and I had maybe, maybe an hour of chat time.

Many of you will tell me I'm mean, selfish, old and set in my ways. But you know what? I don't care. Small children are not my thing. Until they are old enough to reason with - don't even put them near me. Really - save me the agony, we'll stay friends and don't bug with me with kids. Get your husband, boyfriend, partner, parent or babysitter to look after the kids for an hour or two while you & I have a pleasant, uninterrupted visit. I'll appreciate it and I feel sure that any mother would too.


Why said...

I beg to differ. Don't you remember the first time you visited me after Kolina was born? She was, what, a couple of months old? And you were THE best with her! I have numerous pictures as proof. You had The Right Touch with her. And she still loves you! She loved having you here in the summer. I wish we lived closer so that she could have you as a fairy god mother when she needs it. God knows she'll get sick of me pretty soon and need another grown up woman to bond with. Sigh...wishful thinking, so I'll stop that line of thought. Anyway, do NOT apologise for not wanting to be around kids. That's your perogative. I just hope my own kids didn't drive you bats! But you know me, I'd put a stop to any silly behaviour before it got annoying because I'd be the first person to find it annoying!

Darcy's Mama said...

This is really interesting, and really makes me think. I always swore I was never going to be one of those parents, but I know we all have our moments. We believe that our kids are the greatest things in the world, and we just assume that everyone else will share that view. So, sorry if I've fallen into this when you've visited us, or we've visited you.

There is a woman at our church whose 10-year old daughter loves me. The girl follows me around all the time and the mom does nothing at all to stop it. In fact, as soon as they walk in the door, I've often heard her say "OK, you go find Sue, and I'll see you later." She's never asked if it's OK if the kid sits with me, or spends time with me. She just assumes that I want her around. Usually, I don't. I don't want to have a 10-year old, which is why I didn't have kids 10 years ago!

Just give us a kick in the pants when we overstep our bounds. I can't speak for all parents, but I know I would appreciate it. Also, I've got a single friend coming to spend time with me next week. We haven't seen each other for years. I'm going to be extra vigilant about this now.