Let me preface the preface (a pre-preface mayhaps?) by saying I always have to preface everything. To begin: Let me preface this by saying that I have absolutely no qualms with people who choose to lead a child-free existence. Trust me, there are serious perks. Sleep being one of them, you know, the ability to go out for dinner anytime, anywhere. I don’t have any of my own hellions yet because of those very beautiful perks. However, what I’ve noticed since endeavouring into a career of childcare is there are people who get children, who have them, who take care of them, and even people who don’t have them but still understand them. And then, there are people who just don’t. That’s ok you don’t, but I’m here to enlighten you on a few things you should probably know before you turn your nose up at the mom on the train with the screaming 2 year old.
Children are assholes. Assholes that lack coping mechanisms.ESPECIALLY two year olds. There is a reason that people affectionately call this time period, the terrible twos. Why? Because they are just little people with massive emotions that don’t have the coping mechanisms to deal with them. You know how when you’re feeling frustrated you take it out on your partner in a super passive-aggressive manner instead of stating how you feel? Or when you’re angry you suppress it in a super angsty way, only having it implode on you at your uncles wedding? Because they’re not adults yet with super unhealthy coping mechanisms, they simply just DON’T have any. It’s their parents job to teach them, over time. (Easy spark plug, Rome wasn’t built in a day) So when a toddler is scream crying because their mother needed to get out of the house and did up their jacket for them, instead of letting them do it on their own, their BIG emotions attached to it are valid, and important. By not taking time to consider their feelings and suggesting they are unimportant, you are invalidating how they feel, and setting them up to re-expereince that feeling in adulthood. And furthermore (because I’m obviously an expert), by thinking the parent is an asshole for LETTING their child have a fit in the aisle of the grocery store, that just makes you an asshole. They’re little, they don’t know how to deal. So YOU deal, like the terrible adult you are.
God, so true it hurts.
Children are ego-centric, and are typically completely devoid of anything even remotely resembling empathy. It’s just how they are, they are still learning. Mostly about the world, and about their role within it. Eventually they start to become aware of the affect they have on other people – but it’s a small step. Like when they pull Susie’s pig tails, she cries. Weird right? They still don’t have something called foresight. The ability to think about how a certain act or decision is going to affect other people. They’re not that DEVELOPED yet. So don’t get mad at them or at their parents when they put a whole roll of toilet paper in the toilet, and effectively clog it. The roll was a plane that exploded and crashed into the ocean, okay? Expert tip: If you haven’t child-proofed your home and you have an amazing little asshole coming over, close the door to the bathroom.
Children are messy, awkward and disastrous. Give them a break! They’re just learning how to use a fork. That hand-eye-coordination is a skill. Remember? They’re also just learning how to run, jump and understand spatial awareness. Like when I run into a wall and I stop… immovable object, unstoppable force? They’re probably going to spill things, like milk, and pasta, and everything under the sun. Gravity is a concept too y’know? Accidents happen, and they WILL happen. The important part is to show them that when accidents happen, they are resolvable. Don’t jump to chastising a child or their parents for spilling something, they’re awkward! You know how you spill your full beer after a pitcher of sangria all over your pretty white dress? It’s because after sangria you have the same mental faculties as a toddler. Judge not.
Lastly, children are our greatest teachers. I’d hate to sound cheesy, but they really are. They’ll teach you to look up at the clouds or to look down at the ants. They will show you that life truly is simple, and has many rewards, if we choose to see them. They have an immense reservoir of curiosity and trust that as adults, we could learn from. They’ll also teach you patience, because trust me, I have days where I want to rip all their loud little heads off. It’s okay though, because I know that whatever they are experiencing or feeling, it’s a part of being a kid, and it’s our job (as caregivers, parents and guardians) to show up, with warmth and understanding, and it’s those other folks jobs to judge not, for raising children is hard enough.