I am sixty-two years old and do not have any children. From these two facts, it seems probable that I will never have any children. This is fine with me. This is even finer with my husband. One of the first things Steve said to me after we met was that he did not want children. He didn’t need any of his own. He taught school and coached football and baseball for thirty years which gave him ample opportunity to make other people’s kids miserable. To be precise, this conversation actually took place after the second time we met. Our first meeting was not an unqualified success. As we were walking away I asked my friend, “Who is that jerk?”
Well, obviously, I had seriously misjudged his jerkiness as evidenced by the fact we got married about three weeks later.
His not wanting children was a big bonus because believe me, I am not motherhood material. Once my parents gave me a doll for Christmas. What I really wanted was a neat-o keen-o play gas station. This toy came with about a dozen little cars. Each of the toy cars contained a little toy driver. The gas station itself had another complement of miniature people who used a toy car lift and toy car tools. Are you getting a feeling for the sheer number of tiny pieces this toy made available for stepping on in the middle of the night? Or for being sucked into the vacuum cleaner mechanism? This is the major reason I ended up with a doll.
Some inexplicable urge moved me to cut off all of the doll’s hair and to shave its face (!) with my dad’s razor. Of the many lessons to be taken away from this, the main ones are: (1) Plastic doll faces may be the very best surface for dulling a razor blade to the point it will not cut through room-temperature butter. (2) Dads do not like to start their mornings using a razor blade whose latest application has been on firm, probably toxic, plastic recently arrived from China.
While I am certain your own personal offspring are unmitigated delights, there are some significant things I have noticed about children.
They are noisy. My friend Frank describes his ideal day as smooth and tranquil. If it’s good enough for Frank, it’s good enough for me. Some sort of distressing noise is emitted from children when they are happy, sad, full, hungry, lonely, over-stimulated, hot, cold, nervous, or calm. This list does not even (small mercies) address the state of their diapers.
They are sticky. I have seen children go from fresh-out-of-the-bath to a walking lint ball in less than three minutes. Their natural adhesive quality is not helped by the fact that children pop things in and out of their mouths as though every day were oral show and tell day. There is an incident involving a five year old, an unlocked restroom, and a giant blue jawbreaker that has left me permanently scarred.
They need attention. Children cannot help this. They need nurturing and guidance and love and discipline. Let’s face it folks, none of these is my strong suit. I can set something down and have zero memory where I put it. Children’s services frown on this when the something being set down is a kid. Do you recall the video of a person putting an occupied child carrier on the roof of their car and then driving off? This could, with absolutely no stretch of the imagination, be me.
My nurturing skill set consists of trying to raise an herb garden. This year, my goal was to get the plants home from the nursery without irreparably damaging them. I think it’s the word “nursery” that’s causing the problem.
Marla Boone resides in Covington and writes for the Troy Daily News and Piqua Daily Call.