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Putting The ‘Ass’ In Class

May 20, 2011

If you know me, my feelings for children aren’t exactly muted. I don’t mix well with the little beings. Most are ridiculously loud, the lot of them are messy, and for the life of me, I cannot understand why so many adults put themselves in positions caring for something that resembles an alien for the first two or three years of it’s existence.

Also, that ‘soft spot’ on childrens’ heads…what is that?! When I see that thing concaving itself, I think, ‘I’ll bet Darth Vader’s head does the same thing when he speaks’ and ‘I wonder if I could actually pop that thing with a knitting needle.’ Needless to say, I was never meant to be a Mother.

For decades, I’ve always blamed¬†the children for my distaste. Maintaining that children are loud and messy allotted me an escape route when talk turned towards childish behavior/antics. Whenever some dope thought it would be cute to sell some maudlin product via a still of a child spitting out it’s mashed beets and rice or Anne Geddes recorded her thirteenth million shot of a child stuffed into an over-sized dog dish, I shuddered. (I still shudder, but now I also roll my eyes and make icky sounds).

The flip side of this is that I have been fortunate enough to become pals with both people who are really really good parents and people whom I’m sure will become really really good parents. Which kinda makes me wonder if it’s not so much the children who bug me as the icky parents types who raise the loud and messy kids. For a while, I’ve been pondering this, and earlier this week I overheard one of the strongest cases for children’s defense over parent’s.

The women’s locker room at my gym isn’t the most chic, but every once in a while there is a conversation which doesn’t involve how tough the Yoga instructor is or a grandmother fetching an adult child from jail. (Real Mensa material, right?) This particular morning’s conversation topic was ‘Making Children Feel as Though They’re Helping Adults’.

Normally, I wouldn’t be too keen to lend an ear to this topic, but I was struck by the volume of one woman’s sentence, ‘THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO! THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO! THAT’S RIGHT! SEE, THAT’S WHAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO DO?!’ After mourning the loss of my left eardrum, I buckled down for the rest of the seminar. The conversation dished around it’s main topic and I realized that children are pretty much raised to be loud and messy…or polite and intelligible, for that matter.

Now, I can vaguely understand how a locker room with 150 top/bottom lockers might be misconstrued as a stadium. However, the level of volume these three hens had achieved was far beyond normal stadium standards. Therefore, loud parents will probably equal loud children. Because, really, who’s going to be able to make themselves heard indoors without an outdoor voice?

Among the various sub points, branching from the main topic, was teaching children through trickery. A teacher explained her method of asking her class how many of them were present and they would eagerly count off and supply her with the correct number of bodies. A grandmother broke in showcasing her acting skillz when visiting her daughter’s house and taking care of her grandchildren. The grandmother claimed she didn’t know where their Mothers’ brooms, dustpans, morphine needles, cleaning rags, and spare change was in the house and if the children didn’t help her, she might have to call the police. The children were so eager (or confused and terrified) to help please their grandmother, they rushed about cleaning and supplying her with various drug bits. I’m guessing, tricky parenting lead to equally tricky kiddies.

All three hens seemed so pleased by their methods, and each went on to further explain/brag about their parenting. Fortunately, by listening to all of this, I was justified in something I had suspected for a while. Children aren’t as stupid as some adults seem to think they are. These woman were gloating themselves into the glutenous gutter by basically claiming kids are dumb enough to be fooled over and over again.

Part of the reason I dislike children is because they scare the bejeebers clear outta me. Kids are smart and I’ve always (albeit quietly) maintained this. Kids are smart enough to pick up on adult flaws, coexist on friendly terms with animals, and actually understand why war probably isn’t the best overall option. As a child, I was picked on a lot, so children remind me of a time I was taunted. But, during the Hen’s conversation, I had a chance to look at the aforementioned positive sides of childrens’ personalities.

While these are merely the musings of a locker room philanthropist, they might hold some merit. Kids aren’t born loud, messy, and dumb, they’re probably molded that way. In additional musing, if parents treat their children like they’re progressively learning, the kids will probably end up being pretty okay in the end.

In short, most parents should be aware of what they’re getting into when they conceive. If they aren’t, Jonathan Swift wrote a lovely little essay entitled A Modest Proposal.






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