Whatever I do, wherever I go, for as long as I have been alive on this earth, I always end up surrounded by children of all shapes and sizes. What’s even more flabbergasting is that I really don’t like kids very much. Amazingly, my body language and personal aura must belie what I am usually thinking to myself, which goes something like, “Oh my God, will you please go back over there to your mother(father)! Why won’t they call you back over there!”
Last week was no exception. I had to take Ashleigh to receive her shots. If you have spent anytime with my kids, you know how dramatic they can get (and if you haven’t, count your blessings!) when they have a problem with something. Haleigh, who is the master drama queen, had been reassured that she would not be the recipient of a needle to the arm and therefore was merely her usual twitchy self. Ashleigh, on the other hand, is still small. Any trip to the doctor’s office sets off alarms for her, and she (Haleigh’s heir apparent) hunkered down for some serious clowning. I’m talking jumping off chairs, throwing toys, making several runs for the exit, smacking Haleigh in the face–Ashleigh was on her game. We had not even checked in yet, and I was ready to weep.
After I paid my tribute to the gods of insurance, we sat down to wait. Or rather, I sat down to wait. Pinky and the Brain took advantage of the new seating arrangements in the lobby. Apparently, some smart…person thought it would be a great idea to remove a row of chairs that provided something of a natural play area for the small kids at this medical center. What remained was a wide open floor space that every kid under the age of eight assumed had been cleared for their hopping-skipping-jumping-running-rolling-crawling-enjoyment–not to mention a clear path to the automatic handicap doors for easy escape. I could tell my afternoon was going to be just excellent.
As I wrangled my own kids (Ashleigh likes to walk up to random white people and say hello; Haleigh just talks to whomever is crazy enough to make eye contact), a third child slid coyly beside me. She was a little black girl–maybe 3 or 4 years old, pretty skinny with 3 long ponytails. She stood there quietly at first, watching me watching Ashleigh, until Haleigh made first contact. After that initial, “Look Mommy, the little girl wants to PLAY with me! Yay!”, Haleigh and Skinny Minnie took off with Ashleigh right behind them.
After about 5, maybe 10 minutes, I had them back under control watching Tom & Jerry. Or actually, I was watching Tom & Jerry and they were asking me questions about Tom & Jerry, then singing songs that had nothing to do with the cartoon but involved mice, cats, and dogs. Since Ashleigh is still learning to formulate her questions, she spent the time trying to out talk Haleigh by screaming, “MEMMY! MEMMY! MEMMY!”
Welllllllllllllll, suddenly there were three more kids! Two more little girls-one white, one black–and a little white boy. They all stood around me (mine included) begging for fruit snacks and crackers while peppering me with facts and questions about cats and mice and dogs and doctors and shots and school and books and juice and mommies and grandmas and water parks and candy and playgrounds and birthday parties and stickers and shoes and television and pets and somebody should have shot me on the spot! I kept wanting to ask the clerk to make an announcement over the loudspeaker to have everyone pick up their children from the frazzled black lady over in the peds waiting area.
So, why I am ranting and raving about it all? Well think about how you would feel if you were always surrounding by a mob of little greedy strangers! Besides, it’s not really the kids that I have a problem with. Despite my personal aversion to close contact of any kind, I enjoy the logistics of taking care of things. Taking care of a random rabble of children is what I do for a living. No, I take issue with the adults. Why is your child asking me for snacks? Did you not bring your little kid snacks to the doctor’s office? Did it not dawn on you to bring a book, a toy, a game to amuse your child during the pediatrician’s busy season? You have one child to my two, yet seem to think it’s just great to allow a perfect stranger to not just watch, but to interact with your child while you sit on your candy, non-parenting ass and read a magazine? Who let you have children, anyway? They should totally take them back.
Lucky for them, I am not as ignorant as I once was. I have been trying to use my powers for good and not evil by stopping kids from doing “bad” things… My mean lady glare is almost perfect now. But I’m waiting, just waiting, for one of these useless, no snack having, magazine reading, baby ignoring, lazy ass parents to say something to me about scolding their kids one day… y’all gone see me on the Ten at 10 on Fox! If you’re gonna be ignorant enough to leave ’em with me, you best believe I’m gonna be crazy enough to keep ’em in check my way.