So, as formerly mentioned, we had a birthday party for Rocket last Saturday. He invited everybody from his class. That’s right. Everybody.
But, thank my lucky stars, only 10 came.
It was fun. I mean, I guess. As fun as a party can be with a bunch of people you hardly know.
And their fucking kids.
Dude. People. There are some seriously terrible children in the world. I think I’ve grown accustomed to my own offspring, and that of my friends, or haven’t had much access to the general population recently…or something. Whatever, there are some BAD kids and even worse parents out there. That’s all I know.
While speaking to one woman, I heard a commotion. I looked over and it was her 4-year-old son JUMPING on the decorations. He had ripped them off the table and was destroying them, just for funsies. I moved to stop him but remembered I was standing right next to his mother. I looked at her, waiting for her to handle it. She was laughing. I shit you not. LAUGHING. She even called him some pet name. Like he was funny and cute.
Not the adjectives that popped into my mind.
I stood there dumbfounded for a moment but as soon as she walked away I went over to the little hoodlum and took the decorations away from him, thinking “hey you little bastard, I’m poor. I reuse these things.” Plus, the landfills people. THE LANDFILLS.
I realize my kids are annoying (aren’t they ALL?), but as you know, I have a thing about manners. Plus, I’m so self-centered and egotistical I watch my kids like a damn hawk when we’re out in public, making sure they don’t violate generally agreed-upon social codes, thereby making me look bad. If I’m gonna look bad, I prefer to do it through my own poor decision-making, as opposed to the deviant behaviors of my offspring.
I have my standards, you know.
Here’s another one for ya: some awesome parenting. I debated forever, at least 45 seconds, about whether or not I should provide soda at the party. At first I thought “no, just water,” because kids will be there, and I shouldn’t be contributing to the ill-health of America’s youth. I envisioned hordes of kids running over to the ice chest, guzzling soda after soda, and then they all get rotten teeth and diabetes and I live in guilt for the rest of my life. But then I remembered “Janelle. People can parent their kids. Rocket knows he gets one soda on special occasions. Other parents are doing the same with their kids, so stop trying to control everybody.” Plus, maybe the adults want soda.
I mean, parents can parent their kids, right?
Yeah, I know. You’re already thinking it. I shoulda known better.
So I ended up buying a TON of water and a few small bottles (the mini ones) of soda. Most of the kids were handed soda instead of water but I was like “whatever. Rocket had one too.” But this one kindergartner comes back after finishing the first one in like 3 minutes and starts grabbing another one. I happen to be standing at the ice chest. I say “Oh, sorry buddy, each kid only gets one soda.” Yes, I fully made that up. But whatever. I thought the mother would appreciate it, so she didn’t have to be the one to tell him “no.”
He runs over to his mom and says with this horrendous whine “SHE says I can only have one.” Eye contact with the mom. Scowls from mom. I plaster my nice-girl smile and walk over, whispering to her “He can have another one, I just thought you probably wouldn’t want him having more than one, so I was trying to get you off the hook.”
And this woman looks me dead in the eye and says “Yeah, there’s no reason a kid should ever have more than one soda, but it’s easier than telling him ‘no.’”
ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
I’m having an out-of-body experience. She gives him another one, and I die a little inside. I mean shit, I’ve been a horrible parent on more than one occasion, but if my offspring were demanding another damn soda and threw a fit about it when I said “no,” I would have one response: “If you continue throwing this fit we will leave the party now. I have no preference either way, so it’s your call, dude.” (And if they choose to leave, you get out of the party. SCORE.)
Problem freaking solved.
Oh, but friends. Neither of these kids (or mothers) had anything on a child we’ll heretofore refer to as Jane. No wait. Jane is too sweet. Let’s go with “Doris.” No idea where that came from, but I’m stickin’ with it.
Doris has needs. She NEEDS PEOPLE SHE NEEDS. When she first arrives she sees the helium tank and decides she wants to blow up balloons. But by this point the party has started. I put the tank away. First she tells Ava: “I want to blow up balloons. I’m getting the tank.” And she walks over and pulls it out of the box. Ava tells her “no, we’re not doing that now,” and puts it back in the box. At this point, Doris turns her sights on me.
Doris: “Rocket’s mom? I want to blow up a balloon.”
Me: “Sorry, honey, we’re done doing that. It isn’t a toy. I only had that out before the party.”
Doris: “But I want to blow up a balloon.”
Me: “Yes, I understand, but we’re not doing that right now.”
Doris: “Why not?”
Me: “Because I’m busy. I already told you. Why don’t you go play with the other kids on the play structure?”
Doris, scowling, raising her voice: “But I want to do the balloons and I want to do it right now!”
What I want to say is: “You’re a terrible child. Please go away.” But I don’t, because that would be wrong.
We go on like this for a good 5 minutes, while I’m trying to do whatever party nonsense I’m doing. Finally she leaves. Three minutes later the aforementioned conversation occurs again, VERBATIM.
And she comes up to me every 3 minutes the ENTIRE PARTY. “I want to paint my pot NOW.” “I want to put the dirt in my pot NOW.” “I want to blow up a balloon NOW.”
And each time I’m tripping out, thinking, “No really. You are the most annoying human specimen in the world. You must leave.”
I look for her parents for back-up. My eyes are begging “HELP ME.” They’re OBLIVIOUS. No idea their offspring is terrorizing an innocent human. No idea their kid is relentless.
They probably think it’s cute.
“I want to plant my seed. Where are the seeds? Why can’t we do the seeds? I wanna do the seeds! Rocket’s mom, I wanna do my seeds.”
It keeps popping into my head “Does this shit actually work for you at home?! My God, your parents’ lives must be miserable!”
Because to be honest, part of the reason my kids have decent manners is because I’m way too impatient to tolerate the alternative. I mean seriously, if my kid harangued me for 45 minutes about some event he thought he needed to happen…holy mother I’d lose my shit. Not only would I not do it when he wanted, I’d probably not do it EVER, just on principle, because he was so fucking annoying about it.
There’s nothing noble there. I just can’t take it. I mean, if I have a valid reason to be doing what I’m doing and not what you think I should be doing, you have no right to harass and harangue endlessly, hoping I’ll change my mind, or cave because I can’t take it anymore.
But then I started thinking about it and I realized that this sort of horrible kid behavior must, on some level, result in horrible adult behavior, which is way worse, since they don’t have the advantage of being cute and small, or the excuse of being five.
To illustrate, I made some flow-charts.
You know? That woman who just won’t take “no” for an answer? She just WILL NOT get the hint? You try to be subtle. She keeps on. You try a slightly less subtle approach. She still doesn’t get it.
And so, you give up. You just lay it out, “No, lady, I don’t wan’t to buy any of your fucking Avon. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not EVER. Did this work for you when you were five?”
Well yes, she responds. Yes it did.