My Children Are Making You Hate Children

Caroline is two and a half, Evan is four and a quarter and I am going absolutely bananas. B A N A N A S.

This morning at the aquarium Evan thought it would be fun to get into a pretend-slap-fight with a little girl trying to look at the turtles. I think it maybe started as hand-holding but quickly turned into him acting like a rabid raccoon trying to catch a fish. He flailed his hands around and screeched and basically scared the poor child to death in the 4.6 seconds it took me to lunge across the aisle and grab him bodily.

“NO!” I said. “WE DO NOT HIT.” I said. “APOLOGIZE RIGHT NOW.” I said. “I’m so, so sorry,” I said to the girl’s grandmother, who looked like she might start slapping me. “I’m so, so sorry,” I said to the little girl, who was crying big scared tears. “YOU ARE IN TIME OUT.” I said to Evan, who put his hand on his hip and said “Fine. I want a marshmallow.”

I think I blacked out. I’m allergic to sass and that was just too much. Kids need a warning like at the end of a prescription drug commercial: Children may cause blurred vision, dizziness, fits of rage, a high screechy voice, hearing loss, the inability to speak coherent sentences, hallucinations, unconsciousness and wishing for a quick death.

Right now, my children are the reason so many people hate children. They are incredibly, ear-splittingly loud and my only recourse has been to becoming slightly deaf. I can be standing right next to them while they shout “MOMMY MOMMY MOMMY MY BUG BITE ITCHES SO I ITCHED IT AND NOW I AM BLEEDING MY BLOOD MOMMY LOOK” and I just carry on my conversation slightly louder. Our respective volumes with raise proportionately until everyone within a 2 mile radius is checking themselves for exposed wounds to avoid contamination and I am shouting to my friend that Yes, my vacation was lovely but it would have been slightly more so without my children DO YOU THINK IT’S TOO EARLY FOR A DRINK? We’re awful.

When we are in public restrooms, Evan usually narrates everything going on in our stall while Caroline tries to climb under the partitions to join other bathroom visitors to discuss why they are there. I am the one hissing “We. Do. Not. Need. To. Talk. About. Your. Poop. Or. My. Poop. Or. Any. Poop. CAROLINE NOOOOOOO!” They like to check our the reverb in new bathrooms by shouting “ECHO ECHO ECHO” as loudly as possible. We’re horrible.

At the store, Caroline hates the shopping cart but also walking and also being carried. She is very disappointed levitation or teleportaion are not currently options and will let everyone know about her displeasure. If she sees someone she knows, she will insist on riding in THEIR shopping cart because it is blue or red or green or wet or dry or better for some other reason. When I tell her they are leaving and she needs to ride in any of the 4 available seats in my cart she will cry like I am ripping out her toenails while hitting me in the face (true, actual story that happened Tuesday). We’re the worst.

My children run away. They shout. They throw tantrums. They bump into people in public. They touch strangers. They act like I am kidnapping them. They refuse all my requests. They spill things. They insist on opening food in the grocery store before I pay for it and I give in because even though I think people who do that are on par with people who steal all the change from Children’s Charity jars or intentionally take up two parking spaces at the mall it is better to just give in than endure the disasters that refusal will bring. I AM SOMEONE I HATE.

A few short months ago I was gushing about how adorable and fun my kids were together and as siblings, and now I am one car ride away from dropping them off at the firehouse. It’s all a phase. One day I’ll look back on this age fondly. This too shall pass. I repeat all that to myself constantly, muttering like a crazy person to keep from becoming an actual crazy person. I love my children dearly because they are my children, but oh my God are there awful right now.

I apologize to everyone without children for our very presence in your general vicinity and to everyone with children for all the dirty looks the childless give you just for breathing the same air they are. That’s my bad. This too shall pass.

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19 Responses to “My Children Are Making You Hate Children”

  1. Audrey says:

    Actually, your children just made me feel a whole lot better about my parenting skills. Because I was really looking at your two loving angels and then glancing at my hellions and wondering why MY kids don’t seem to have the loving sibling relationship YOUR kids do all the time. It’s good to know yours lose their minds once in a while too. ;) Also – I’m glad I’m not the only parent who’s kids like to sound check the acoustics of public restrooms.

  2. Meg says:

    I admit, sometimes I get impatient with OPCs at the store because the world is ALL ABOUT ME and honestly, I do not need this!! But I really do try to take a step back and remind myself that children are tiny human beings who have to learn how to behave and it takes them a while. I like to think I have a little more patience than other non-parents, having been a teacher for over a decade and actually having said things like, “Please do not swat my hand off the piano as I demonstrate for you!” with an “I’m going to haunt your nightmares tonight, child…” smile on my face.

    I’m rambling. What I meant to say is, I think you’re doing a great job. Those children are adored, they adore you, and you are absolutely right, this too shall pass. They just have to push the boundaries a little (a lot) to make sure they are still there. They’ll do it again when they get to middle school.

  3. Amy says:

    You know they only take newborns at the firehouse, right? Your children are why.
    (Thanks for this post. It makes me feel better about my single hellion.)

  4. Erin says:

    Too funny!!! I wish the phrase “we’re napless today” carried a more universal meaning when out in public :)

  5. Sarah says:

    Oh, thank goodness! MY children have those days (weeks!) and I feel like such a horrible parent – I LOVE when *other* kids are tantrumming in public – because it’s not just mine!

  6. barbra says:

    I love you. You are awesome and your hellion kids are awesome. I hope to meet you in the grocery store one day so we can share knowing glances as we hurtle in opposite directions to pull our kids off a shelf.

  7. Amanda says:

    I love this blog and your writing and pictures.

    I’m having trouble figuring out if this is a funny or serious post, though. On one hand, I want to sugar coat my response to avoid hurt feelings. On the other, I’m PMSing and can’t. Honestly, when I encounter kids like that in public with parents who are obvious pushovers, my blood pressure rises just a little bit. It’s human nature to judge, and I am so sorry, but I do. But logically, I know the other parent(s) is doing the best they can, and I remind myself they are children. I am imperfect.

    Also, I have a three-year-old. She is so kind enough to look like an angel in public, but she can be demon at home. I often tell her she is going to be lucky to live to see four. :)

    • merin says:

      I think Suzanne is being somewhat serious AND funny. I was present with my two kids during the Aquarium incident and I can tell you what happened was, while upsetting to a parent, totally normal four year old behavior (at least in my experience. Quite frankly, this stuff happens a lot with my very anxious four year old). And Suzanne handled it like a champ. In fact, I can’t believe the grandmother didn’t respond more kindly because Suzanne was so apologetic. It’s tough but it happens to every parent, even if you have the “sweetest” child, your day in the sun (or the aquarium/mall/church/public bathroom) will come too.

  8. Babe_Chilla says:

    Oh how I love this. I always feel like it’s only MY child that makes other people hate children because well, 3 and all that jazz.

    E likes to narrate the bathroom scene as well, by yelling such gems as “I WON’T OPEN THE DOOR WHILE YOU’RE PEEING MOMMY BECAUSE WE DON’T LET STRANGERS SEE OUR VAGINA’S; THAT IS ONLY FOR DADDY!’ which gets you strange looks and OMG WHERE DID SHE EVEN GET THAT? Like I know I’ve mentioned our private parts are private, and that family can see them but why turn it into that in a ferry bathroom full of 30 old ladies?

    Thanks for the laugh and the moment of solidarity!

    • Amanda says:

      Oh no, I can totally see my 2.5-year-old doing that. The talking/yelling about what goes on in public bathrooms is the worst. “Mummy, why is there someone in the other toilet? Is she peeing too or does she have to poop? Why did mummy say say ‘shh’? Why did you say ‘shh’ mummy? WHY DID MUMMY SAY WE DON’T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE PEEING AND POOPING? I can talk about my own pee and poop. Pee comes out of my vagina and poop comes out of my bum. Does pee come out of her vagina too, mummy?”

  9. Jenny says:

    The world is full of children people cringe away from, and yours are right there with mine. That’s why we all get those looks of sympathy from other women – you know, the ones that make you want to yell, “SHOW’S OVER. MOVE ALONG,” or punch said face-maker in the nose because surely she’s being patronizing and condescending. Except she’s not. Or maybe she is. ;-)

  10. cakeburnette says:

    You may not look back on it fondly. You may look back on it with gratitude. But I will say (as one who lived everything you posted and who survived it), if you have to pick a time for them to be strong-willed and rebellious and just plain HIDEOUS, when they are small and still need like 12-14 hours of sleep a day is better than when they are 16. A precious lady told me that when my two FOUGHT ON THE COMMUNION RAIL OF OUR CHURCH DURING THE CHILDREN’S SERVICE IN FRONT OF EVERYONE, and it was the only thing that allowed us to sleep at night for MANY years. And lo, it was true. The teenagers who inhabit my home are unbelievable and FUN. So hang in there, stick them in their beds for naps or early bedtime, and have some wine. It gets better!

    • cakeburnette says:

      I just realized I didn’t finish that 2nd sentence. It should have read “You may look back on it with gratitude that you all survived!

  11. Brigid Keely says:

    Look on the bright side, you only have twenty or so years left of this!

  12. Erma says:

    Being on the “parent” side of the fence I now like to react with, “it happens.” I still think you’re doing a bang up job with your cute little gingers. I bet you’re a lot better off than me with my one. Days like that make me want to curl up and die for the next couple days.

    And if you ever want to meet up at the Mystic Village duck pond for a glass of wine, I gotchu. :P

  13. […] Bebehblog just wrote an amazingly amazing account of what it’s like to have what I call “sour […]

  14. Debberoo says:

    OMG ditto on all of this! My youngest is going through a particularly “trying” phase at the moment and I just have to keep reminding myself “this is a phase, it too shall pass” except I don’t think I’ve totally convinced myself ;)

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