I never used to understand people with children, until I was one of them. Now, that’s not to say I agree with everything professional diaper changers do and say. I don’t. It would seem that a lot of parents expect other’s to modify their behavior just because they have multiplied. I find this phenomenon to be presumptuous, strange and more than a little egotistical. Yes, you are only a child for a brief period of time and you should be able to enjoy it. But, if your parents make it their business to sanitize your environment so there is absolutely nothing that isn’t child friendly about it, you grow up to be a gullible idiot.
I have people apologizing to me because they’ve accidentally used a four-letter word in the presence of my son, all the time. I appreciate the sentiment, really I do, but it’s not necessary. I use four-letter words in front of my child quite a bit. Don’t get all crazy and judgmental on me here, I don’t hold him down and scream “Shit!!” in his face or anything. But, if it happens to come out of my mouth, oh well. I don’t make a big deal about it, so neither does he. I kinda did this on purpose, I didn’t want to be the parent of the kid that is always running to his or her mom at social functions, reporting “So and so said a bad word,” I hate that fucking kid. You do too; it’s ok to admit it. You’re amongst friends here.
Some parents are fanatical about profanity, like it’s the words themselves that are going to send their children down a path of ill repute. I for one, would much prefer that you said the word “ass” in front of my boy, instead of “tushie”. The word “tushie” just annoys the piss out of me. There is nothing worse than a adult who gets used to speaking in child-like vocabulary and can’t bring themselves to use the word “toilet” in a sentence. There was an Office Manager at one of the places I worked, she was in her 50’s, wore a lot of sweaters with kittens on them and her children were in college. Although she was a nice lady, she seemed to be old beyond her years, I think her vocabulary had something to do with this. The woman would often have to report plumbing malfunctions to the landlord. I listened to her leave messages like “The potty is clogged on the second floor, again” more than I’d like to admit. She insisted on speaking to everyone like they were in preschool, by the end of the workday I wanted to beat her face in while singing the alphabet. It made me wonder if her kids were walking around the college campus, asking where they could get a sippy cup of beer or telling stories about how some girl touched their no-no’s at a frat party. It takes a village to raise a child, and every village has at least one idiot.
While some of my habits are different, I’m basically still the same broad. No one is ever going to look at me and say “Gee, Sara. Being a mother has really changed you,” unless they’re lying. I haven’t really done very much to myself, personality wise, since he entered the world. I probably should, but what fun would that be? If you get in my car right now…assuming you could find my keys…because, I sure as hell don’t know where I’ve left them…you’d find that there is not one “Wiggles” CD in my vast, traveling music collection. I hate the Wiggles and everything they represent. I think they assume children are morons and I don’t see any reason why anyone should walk around annoyingly singing the praises of fruit salad. My son and I jammed to Bob Marley on the way home from school this morning, a few verses of Bob teaches more valuable lessons than the entire Wiggles anthology.
I used to live next door to a family with a small child, before I had my own. If you’ve never enjoyed condominium living, there is nothing quite like it. Someone is always complaining about noise…well, at least they were when I lived there, because evidently…I’m noisy. The young and single and old can cohabitate without much discord. The old can’t hear the blaring, late night music and the single aren’t going to complain about the sounds of Matlock being enjoyed at a deafening decibel during the day. Throw in a neighbor with a new baby, and everyone is miserable.
My neighbors expected the world to shut down whenever nap-time rolled around. The mother was the biggest noise Nazi. She came out of her unit on many different occasions to scold me for causing any kind of auditory disturbance that would wake her sleeping angel. Initially, I was compliant. I would apologize for setting my groceries down too loudly or sneezing in the hallway. That didn’t last too long, though. I got tired of living like Anne Frank. Oddly enough, her expectation of complete quiet ceased shortly after I stopped apologizing. When I had my own child, I made it a point to tell people to make as much noise as they would if he didn’t exist. I didn’t spend nine months playing charades for fear of disturbing his sleep while gestating…I certainly wasn’t going to encourage silence now that he had arrived. The world isn’t a quiet place, he was the new guy, it was up to him to adjust. He did, he slept through talking, loud music, and the occasional jackhammer.
There are things I shield my son from, basically because I don’t think he is mature enough to grasp the concept. There’s a house in the neighborhood that puts on a haunted house at Halloween every year, even though my son pleaded, I made the decision to skip it. I didn’t figure there was anything beneficial about scaring the shit out of him. Plus, I wasn’t going to willingly walk into the darkened home of a stranger as a defenseless, single woman with a small child, this act defies my common sense. They’re probably good, spook-loving folks and not crafty rapist/murderers, but I wasn’t in the mood to find out. He doesn’t get to watch anything on TV that is police or medically oriented. I don’t want to have to explain why anyone is bleeding or dying. I don’t talk about death, I know it’s part of life…but until it’s something we have to deal with in reality, I’d rather not romanticize it. I’m not sure I entirely understand the concept myself.
In the end, I decided to have him and I am the only person responsible for making his life comfortable. Sure, if you’d like to help, that’d be awesome…but it’s not expected and I’m certainly not going to tell you how to conduct yourself.