Today's topic is "On the whole, do you like other people's kids?" This seems like a loaded subject that's not easily addressed. So I'll start with a little story. When we had recently returned from China, I got an excited call from my friend and fellow new mom, Mary, who had an idea: "I'll quit my teaching job, and you and I can open a home day care! Then we can hang out with our babies and other babies all day long!"
"Oh, sweetie," I said sympathetically. "You seem to be under the impression that I like children."
Now, it's not really true that I don't like children. Sometimes I think they're the bee's knees. But it's definitely taken me many years to get it through my head that children are small people. Babies especially, but even young children, have historically seemed like aliens to me, or at least some other species. I was never sure what they wanted or what they were going on about. I feel like that's gotten better since I've been raising one.
A good example comes from my non-illustrious babysitting days. I babysat, like most unpopular teenage girls, but I didn't like it. From the awkward meeting with surly short people who seemed disgusted with me through the interminable games of Chutes and Ladders to the cringe-worthy drive home with some silent dad-like person, the whole experience made my skin crawl. Well, there was one part I liked, and that's raiding the freezers for new kinds of ice cream and chatting on their phone to my boyfriend du jour for hours at a time, going "You hang up. No, you. No, really, I'm hanging up. Oooh, I think I hear the parents. No, false alarm. You still there?" The kids would often say things to me like, "You're not our regular babysitter. But she's at prom tonight so my mom had to call you."
Before I go, I want to talk about an unrelated item, because I find it funny. Jarrah is starting to remind me of Wednesday Addams, the deadpan, macabre daughter in The Addams Family. She carries around books with "Ghost" or "Dead" in the title, and plays zombies until she has nightmares. She often talks about visiting haunted houses, debating whether it would scare her or not. When asked her favorite part of The Avengers, she smiled and said "the violence." When her new babysitter asked her who her favorite Disney princess was, Jarrah said "the evil stepmothers." No, she didn't really, but she did stare and blink uncomprehendingly, like "What kind of question is that?"