As I wandered around the grocery store today, there was a woman pretty much following me as she shopped. She had sitting in her cart a little boy about 18 months-2 years old, wearing a drool soaked t-shirt, nostrils rimmed with all the wonderful things little boy nostrils get rimmed with, and he was squealing with delight. He was adorable, truly. Happy, engaged, making everyone smile and wave their fingers at him...he was sweet and Mom beamed every time someone smiled at him and said hello, me included.
Delightful little kid...and I was so glad I was only going to be around him for a little while.
I just don't like being around little ones the way I used to. Small doses of toddlerhood is all I can take; after a while those high pitched little voices just grate on my nerves, and the volume at which little kids live turns into bomb-blasting thunder in my head.
When I was a teenager I couldn't fathom why so many older adults didn't like kids; I get it now. I don't dislike kids, but I'm sure as hell glad that mine is an adult now. If he ever has kids I'm sure I'll feel different about them...but for the most part, no, I don't want to hang with your sub-5 year old offspring.
Well, that's mean of you, Thump.
Yeah, maybe it is. But it is what it is and I'm not exactly motivated to change it.
I know its roots: too much time spent working drop-in daycare, watching other peoples' kids while thy worked out in the gym, putting up with their attitudes about their precious snowflakes--the biters, the kickers, the screamers--and the tens of thousands of diapers I changed. I think I chewed way too far into my personal allotment of patience for and enjoyment of little kids long before the Boy was much more than a toddler himself, and by the time he was grown, and we'd moved away from the neighborhood kids in Ohio, I was done.
The kids in OH...they were awesome. They were fun, I loved sitting outside watching them play, but they were probably at the tail end of my solid enjoyment of little ones. I'm glad that we had that time in OH and got to enjoy them...if we were in the same circumstances now, I'd probably be that grumpy old neighbor they run from.
Hell, they're in high school and junior high now; it's been a while.
I'm okay with not wanting to hang with the wee ones anymore. Other people...they don't get it. They tend towards a degree of upset because their kids are awesome.
Well, yeah, they are. But that doesn't mean I have the patience for much of their awesomeness. How awesome there are isn't an indicator that they'll be different and I'll want to spend oodles of time with them.
Hell, I might be willing to bleed dry for your kid. Rip heads off to defend your kid. Beat the snot out of someone to protect your kid.
That's not the same as hanging with your kid.
It sounds personal, but it's not.
There's an indie publishing workshop coming up, being held in a venue where bringing ones' children is entirely appropriate. It's invitation only, and on the surface sounds like it will be informative, connections will be made, and it will be an incredible use of time and effort. But...I know there are writers and publishers planning on being there with their kids, and after the days' presentations they want to head out and have some fun.
As a group.
For three days.
Kill me now.