Living with Monkeys
My friend had a baby recently. It's their first child and her and her husband are beaming new parents, scared to death and doing everything by the book and asking for advice but not really meaning it. I remember those days. I remember taking Jack to the doctor because he was crying with wind and I remember asking the doctor how to clean his ears and he said kindly "with a cotton swab, like you do yours".
So tonight we went to visit the new family and take over a baby gift. They grilled some shish kebabs and made a salad and they were kind to make soft food for Danny. We sat on their deck in the warm evening and chit-chatted about babies and how wonderful their new baby was when it started. The circus that is taking your children out for dinner. I'm going to try and describe it the best I can.
Jack is dressed in a clown outfit (sent from nana and his outfit of choice), kneeling on their patio chair repeating these words - "I don't like it (the food). Can we go home mama?" When that doesn't work he asks to go to the toilet and then returns to the table & starts up the repertoire again.
Danny eats 1/3 of his chopped up veggies and banana and throws the rest over the table and floor. He constantly reaches for skewers, forks, knives, napkins, plates, glasses and bread. Some times, when I am just for a millisecond distracted, he snags one of those items and either flings it across the table or tries to poke himself in the face with it. Then, when he's fed up of the high-chair he starts screaming.
Now don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining about my children because I know they are acting exactly as a 3.5 year old and a 1-year old should act. I also know that there's sometimes nothing you can do but watch in horror, especially with the 1-year old. I mean, you just cannot reason with a person that young. It's not like he's suddenly going to say, like Stewie from Family Guy,"Gosh ma mar, you're right! I'm being a complete nincompoop, I do apologise".
No, what made me ashamed and stumbling over myself to say moronic things like "oh, sorry, it's like living with monkeys" is that I knew they wouldn't understand. I know, without a doubt, that as we drove away, they looked at each other and said "those kids were savages! Ours will NOT be like that. Our kids will be polite and eat their food and they will be respectful in other people's houses!" That's what I used to think, I really did. It's not until you have toddlers yourself that the penny drops and you suddenly become accepting of all children and their crazy tantrums and screaming fits and outbursts of rude words & noises.
Before we left I said "can I help you clean-up?" because Danny's eating area looked like the floor after a wedding reception. She looked at me and said "No, really, you just" and left it hanging. As I walked out to the the car I finished the sentence in my head "take your kids out of my house, they're frightening me".
Ha! In 12 months we'll be comparing war stories.