I finally completely understand (two adverbs in a row! A new low, even for me.) what it’s like to be a parent.
This is an accurate statement as today I spent time with two children for approximately ninety minutes.
My friend Justin and his wife have a girl and a boy ages three and a half and one and half. I have been out to see them five times in the last year.
Oooh… before I get started let me tell you about an accidental scam I discovered. When my friends started having babies I thought that a really nice thing to do would be to offer that I go over, watch their children, and give the parents a night out for movies or necking or whatever. I’ve offered this at least a dozen times and not once has anyone taken me up on it. But they always comment on how nice the gesture is. Maybe they think I’d be blogging from the porch ignoring the children who are chasing rabid squirrels in the front yard.
Let me first give you my own personal musings on having children. I’ve always thought it seemed like the thing to do. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had the longing to be a parent but I didn’t grow up around babies and my sister doesn’t have any yet, either. I guest I just haven’t given it much thought other than at some point I’ll remarry and make a few. But it’s never occurred to me to hang out with some to see what it’s like.
Today, I went over to visit Justin and his wife. I was excited to see his kids because they’re really sweet. I suspect if he had jerk children I wouldn’t want anything to do with it. When I got there it was just me and Justin. The kids were at the gym with mom. That’s one more trip to the gym than I made this week. A one year old is beating me on discipline. Awesome.
When the kids got home the oldest one (who I’m sure didn’t remember my name) came running over for a hug. Well, truth be told I asked for one. I sort of just needed a hug, even if it was from a three year old. It felt really good. Then I sat down and watched them play. I took the one year old into the dining room and had this big balloon thing that we batted back and forth. Each time he did he giggled like a moron. I’ve never seen anything so pure and authentic. He was as happy as a clam just batting a balloon around. Which made me giggle like a moron.
Then an hour went by as if it were minutes. I was in a trance hanging out with these little ones. I realized something – it felt like the outside world stopped while I was playing with them. In it were just us and it was blissful. My peripheral vision went away. All I could do was focus on them and play.
I was even dragged to one of those children’s restaurants. I knew they existed and I wasn’t looking forward to going. I was for sure that it would be a large room of screaming and doody smells. This place had a train that ran around the whole restaurant which dropped off your food right to the table. It was great. Once again, even though it was filled with other people’s kids, only my booth actually existed.
Towards the end the bloom started coming off the rose. The kids wouldn’t eat their food and were occasionally becoming stinkers. I looked at my watch and mentally noted my break-even was ninety minutes. I’ve found that after ninety minutes with children they do at least one uncool move.
But, I did walk away from the experience feeling sad. When I examined what was the cause it was clear – I want children. Right now I’m good with a dog and a cat, but in the future it will be time to upgrade. But what if he doesn’t come out cool? Then I’m stuck with a lame one. That would suck eggs.
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