Not only do kids take over your life, they force you to talk to people you’d usually go to extreme lengths to steer clear of.
Before I had a child I was left alone by the general public.
I’m not a naturally social person so I was very happy to have it that way. It suited me FINE.
I particularly never really interacted with families. Parents didn’t want a bar of me, and I didn’t want a bar of them. I had a big beard before beards were in, and didn’t give off the slightest hint that I was approachable. People probably thought I was a threat, a danger. Again, it suited me fine.
Now that I have a daughter, I have been dragged unwillingly into the least exclusive club ever.
The parents’ club.
A club in which I have been forced to socialise and make idle chit-chat with the dregs of the community … parents.
I am now one of them. But seriously, parents are the worst.
Never-ending discussions about the amazing attributes of their child. Long and detailed dissections of poo.
Children make people stupid. Mine has made me stupid too, but having her has also meant interacting with a whole new world of people I’d usually do anything to avoid.
The ‘cool guy’ who desperately doesn’t want to grow up. You will meet this guy during birthing classes: he’s the one who is always cracking ‘jokes’ and talking about drinking. About getting as much drinking in as humanly possibly before the baby comes.
Once baby is in the picture you will see him out the front of his house, beer in hand, wearing his child. He will never hold his baby, he will always wear them in order to leave his hands free for other activities. Mainly drinking. He also doesn’t do nappies or discipline, that’s mummy’s job. He is a twat. Avoid.
The know-it-all parent. You will find these guys online, primarily on parenting forums, gently telling everyone else what they’re doing wrong, “Oh no, no, no! We don’t let our children watch television. We feel that is really lazy parenting.”
Unfortunately, The Judge isn’t confined to online forums. He has the uncanny ability to pop up anywhere, usually when you’re at your worst – at the shops in your tracksuit pants when you have just sedated your baby with some sugary delight.
If you stay very quiet and listen very hard you can sometimes hear them in the wind, chanting “breast is best, breast is best”.
The Cranky Old Man
Being turned into a stupid person by children doesn’t just apply to the parents. It seems that usual, accepted behaviour flies out the window for most people when there’s a little one in front of them.
The older generation, it turns out, believe they have a right to touch your child on the face.
The same Cranky Old Man who will barge you out of the way at Aldi to get to the last jar of chicken breakfast sausages will break out into a toothless grin at the sight of an infant. He will then start patting your child, squeezing their cheeks and pinching their chubby legs, trying various methods to somehow extract their youth. Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitiser. Stat.
The Creepy Old Lady
Older women are just as bad with other people’s children. It results in them acting without first engaging their brains. We had to pull our daughter out of swimming lessons because the instructor was favouring her waaaay to much. It started to become embarrassing.
She said our daughter looked like her own kids when they were small and kept making comments about stealing her. And eating her.
We missed one week and when we returned she said it wasn’t the same without our girl there and that teaching the other kids in the class just felt a little empty. There were genuinely tears in her eyes. It got weird. We didn’t go back after that.
Other People’s Brats
For most parents, the struggle is having their kids’ hair pulled, arms bitten and faces covered in snot by Other People’s Brats. But my daughter has quite an aggressive stare. Think Glenn McGrath in his heyday.
As a consequence I often have to deal with other people’s children complaining about her. “Daddy that baby is scaring me,” or “Why is she so angry for someone so young?”
Apparently her continuous death stare is a little off-putting.
That’s my girl.