It seems that spring and summer bring out the children. They are actually sorta cute. There are little boys dressed like little versions of their fathers in Ralph Lauren for kids. The little girls are dressed in sundresses and jelly sandals. Their walking skill, new to them, seems like the coolest thing since sliced bread. There they are. They walk. Then suddenly, excited, they start to run. It worries their parents but they are having a blast. Of course there is iced cream. They eat these cones almost as big as their heads and then their mothers, nervous wrecks, have to stop the cones from dripping everywhere.
Once I saw a set of twins, no more than three, on the train to Coney Island. They were sleeping sweetly on each other’s shoulders. Their mother, probably relieved to get a moment’s peace, was videoing their first big trip to the beach. I thought, “Awww.”
Then this year for the Fourth of July I was at my Aunt Chris and Uncle Bob’s house. Going down to their basement are various photos of my cousins Bobby and Kelsey at different school ages. My cousin Bobby is redheaded, freckled, and while he looks sweet he seems to have a look in his eye that says otherwise. Kelsey on the other hand is a fashion plate for the camera, posing even at a young age. She probably broke plenty of hearts in that pre-school class. One young family there had a three year old daughter who had blonde curly hair like Shirley Temple and a new baby girl, just barely out of the womb. My mom was asking me to guard the door as she was about to go the bathroom. That’s when the little girl with the Shirley Temple hair stepped in front of my mother and ordered, “You can’t go in there. My Mike is in there.”
The mother, sitting there with her infant, explained her husband was using the restroom and her three year old daughter referred to him as “My Mike” for some unknown reason. But the small child had gotten her message across. Her blue sundress and toddler stature could fool, she could crack the whip. The whole thing made my mother and I chuckle.
I was having lunch with my lady friends as I do most every Saturday. Mary, more of a hard edged woman like myself, said she thought about having children with her first husband but didn’t regret not doing it. While she likes kids, she enjoys the fact she can give them back when they are someone else’s. Marsha, an actress friend of mine who has taught at every major acting studio explained she was glad she didn’t have kids because there are horror stories of children turning on their parents. Jenna, who teaches pre-school, added that she could wait. I had to concur, I could wait.
My mom waited and she said it was the smartest thing she had ever done. When she married my dad, my father decided to go to law school. They put off having children until they got on their feet and both my parents were keeping human hours. By the time my mother gave birth to my brother, she had not only gone to college but graduate school. She had also had an extensive career as a swimmer, swimming AAU in high school and being captain of her Division I team in college as well as winning the Most Valuable Woman in Education and Spirit Award at the University of Pittsburgh. She had coached both high school and college swimming, both men and women. She had also taught high school health and physical education. In college, she had also traveled and trained with the Puerto Rican national team. She also coached and competed in synchronized swimming. My mom had also juggled a job as a telephone operator where she had spoken to Colonel Sanders.
My mom had lived and had done a lot. She was ready to grind baby food, do spelling words, and agonize over math homework with her future spawn.
Some of my high school classmates are having children. There are a few who are even on their third kid. It was just like yesterday we were kids ourselves, our big worries being homework and how not to get caught doing certain things by our parents. Now these people, especially the class cutters, are parents. Then a few of my old boyfriends have children. While there spawn are adorable, I want to send a PS and ask if they really had to pollute the genetic pool.
The other day my parents were dissing someone’s parenting technique and my sister asked, “How do you know what the right thing to do is when raising kids?” I thought it was a good question.
I dunno. At this point in my life if I were to find out I were knocked up, the next words out of the nurses mouth would be, “Okay, here are your options.”
Where would I keep the kid? In a drawer, next to my puppets. Maybe it could sleep on top of my telegram costumes? When the kid gets old enough I will put it to work dancing on the subway.
Sounds like a plan.
Eh, on second thought I will enjoy other people’s kids. That way I can give them back.