Sunday, January 29, 2012
In Small Doses
Last night, Firecracker Hubby and I did something we don't often do. We babysat. For 5 hours. For my best friend, Sara, who I write about a lot in this blog. Sara is one of my oldest and dearest friends and I love her like a sister - actually more than a sister, since we don't have the issues and family baggage that sisters do.
Sara does a lot for us. She catsits when we go away. The last time we went away, she visited every single day of our vacation to visit our cats, since one of our cats needs daily insulin shots. Yes, every day - for 8 days straight - she dutifully made the trek to our house and administered shots to our furboy. And gave them lots of love and attention. Now THAT is a good friend.
So it goes without saying that we were happy to give Sara and her husband a nice night out by themselves, something they rarely get to do. They were so excited when we arrived - all gussied up and smiling, heading out to a film and dinner. It was Sara's hubby's birthday and he was just pleased as punch to get to go out alone with his wife.
Sara and hubby have 2 young boys and she is a stay-at-home-mom for the time being. Money is tight, and babysitters are few, so this was a real treat for them.
So we spent 5 hours entertaining their boys who were happy as clams that we were there. The boys adore us and were jumping up and down with excitement when we arrived. Ugh. 5 hours. Would we be able to handle it?
The answer is - yes, and we had an okay time playing games with them, hubby rough-housing with them, eating pizza with them. But here's the thing about kids. They're okay for a few hours, but it is mind-numbingly boring to be around them for hours on end. I was sitting there, playing Candyland with the younger boy while he prattled on incessantly and I thought to myself how do people do this every day without blowing their brains out?
I am a person who needs intellectual stimulation. I like thought-provoking books and films. I am drawn to intelligent, insightful people. I like to think philosophically. I question things. I think critically. Yes, I enjoy a good dose of dumbness sprinkled through my life, but being around dopey, chatterbox kids non-stop would send me heading off a cliff.
People often say that having children makes a person grow. I don't know. I think having kids would be a akin to getting a lobotomy.
They are completely self-centered. They are undeveloped. They are (for the most part) uninteresting. They ramble on non-stop. They think everything they do is fascinating (when it is not), and they expect us to act as though it is. They need constant praise and approval. They are attention whores. They expect the world to revolve around them.
At the same time, they are at times funny, cute, entertaining and affectionate. I wouldn't say being around them makes me a better person. It just makes me tired and braindead.
In the final analysis, a few hours with kids - here and there - is tolerable and at times, even enjoyable. Their innocence and the novelty of them can even be entertaining and a nice diversion.
We do love the children in our lives - in small doses.