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Friday, Nov. 17, 2006 | Before I had kids, people told me that I would never love anything as much as I would love those little buggers.
They were right.
But no one told me how much I would get annoyed by other people’s children.
Before I was a parent, I had this pie-in-the-sky idea that all kids were basically little adults and, if treated with dignity and sensitivity, they would all respond positively.
Now I know that’s a lot of crap. I realize I love my children more than anything but also know that your kids annoy me to no small end.
Don’t take it so personally. I’m sure your kids are somewhat nice. But they’re not MY KIDS, who are, by the opinion of anyone that matters (me, my wife, my in-laws and whichever relatives I’m on speaking terms with), wonderful, gifted kids with wisdom and patience beyond human comprehension.
I realized just how annoying your kids can be last week when I was at McDonald’s with my wonderful, sweet, darling little 3-year-old daughter Alex.
We had promised her – actually “bribed” is a more accurate statement – that if she stayed in her own bed the whole night that we would take her to McDonald’s on Saturday so she could eat ground cow muscle, enriched flour and fat-soaked potatoes (otherwise known as a Happy Meal).
I was excited. I figured I could sneak some fries without the prying eyes of my wife. For some reason, she thinks high levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides are a sign that I should watch my diet. Can you believe that? I do watch my diet but I prefer to multitask and eat while I’m doing it.
But I digress.
So Alex and I are at a McDonald’s that has one of those playgrounds (or as we refer to it, “the Germ Farm”). Being a gourmet, she wanted a cheeseburger without any cheese, ketchup, pickle or onion, fries and, for health reasons, sugar-enhanced apple juice.
She ate two or three bites of food, and then wanted to play with her Happy Meal toy. It was a female sewer rat from the hit movie, “Flushed Away.” I thought it was an ironic choice since most fast food places don’t want to be associated with rats or toilets.
Anyway, the Happy Meal was just an excuse for the main course, a chance to play on the Germ Farm, which is a series of slides and climbing cubes that are usually crowded with snot-nosed children – not mine, of course.
My kids have never been sick. In fact, Alex has been known to cure her classmates at her pre-school of all sorts of ailments by lying on her hands.
There weren’t any kids when we got there so Alex basically climbed around by herself until two boys arrived. One of them was about two years older than Alex and looked just like Chicken Little from the hit Disney movie. The other was a smaller version of Chicken Little but with a two-year-old’s tendency to whine and cry about anything and everything.
The kids climbed around and as they are wont to do, they started playing together. Now, I’ve already established that Alex is the most incredible child that has ever walked the surface of this planet (she cured three lepers on the drive over to Mickey D’s) but she’s also fearless.
She was playing around with the smaller brother, who happened to hurt himself climbing on the death trap. Sorry, I mean Germ Farm. Just thinking about it makes me want to put extra hand sanitizer on me.
Do you mind? It’ll just take a second.
Okay, I’m back.
Anyway, the kid started crying and Alex tried to console him and the Big Chicken Little started accusing my daughter – my precious, adorable, brilliant daughter – of hurting his klutzy little brother.
Then he politely asked me in a squeaky voice, “Sir, what is your daughter’s name?”
“Alexandra, why did you hurt my little brother?”
Now the mother of the pud – I mean, boy – stepped up and, to her credit, told her son to knock it off and that it was his brother’s own fault that he hurt himself.
Pudly wouldn’t drop it but finally gave it up. So he and his little bro started playing chase with Alex, basically making her run after them.
She was game. Being the fantastically creative and gifted child that she is (Did I tell you she writes symphonies in the bathtub?), she’s also accommodating so she ran after them saying, “Where are you, my little friends?”
But Pudly didn’t have the empathy or intelligence to embrace this glorious child of mine (who I believe is destined to be a world redeemer). Instead, he called her the “Beast” as in “Run from the Beast! The Beast is about to get us.”
To her credit, Pudly’s mom said, “Don’t call her that. Why don’t you take turns chasing each other?”
But Pudly wouldn’t have it. Instead, he looked at me straight in the eye with a smirk and said, “I’m not chasing the Beast.”
Finally, some other children showed up and since they were girls, Alex started playing with them instead. I was thrilled. Although these kids were average compared to my exceptional child, I could tell they were happy to bask in the brilliant glow of her presence.
She returned the appreciation by turning their parents’ sodas into Chardonnay and healed one grandmother who suffered from psoriasis.
It’s been a few days since the incident with Pudly and his whiny little bro. Alex has forgotten her encounters with Pudly and his brother but I, not being the manifestation of all that is good in the universe, have a hard time letting go.
In fact, it’s gotten worse. I thought once I became a parent, that I would be part of this inner circle that worked together to help teach the future of the human race how to get along.
Instead, I’ve realized that there’s a good possibility that many of these future world leaders and movers and shakers are just as obnoxious as the twerps I grew up with.
Looks like Alex has a lot of work ahead of her.
David Moye is a La Mesa-based writer who wants to ensure other parents that he doesn’t really hate your kids. He just finds them, well, lacking compared to his own. If you would like him to brag incessantly about his kids, send him an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would rather brag about your own kids, send a letter to the editor.