There’s no reasoning with children. It really doesn’t matter what your endgame is, you’re at their whims. I’ve had some shitty friends and I’ve had some complete asshole associates and in almost every situation I’ve ever been in, I’ve tried to manipulate the situation to suit my needs or at the very least make it pleasant, and generally, it either works or I can walk away thinking “well, that person’s an asshole and I don’t have to deal with them anymore.” This ‘work with ‘em or fuck ‘em’ attitude, however, comes to a screeching halt once you have kids.
I’m not a fan of out and out conflict…well, this isn’t ENTIRELY true, as I’m a big fan of the fact that Ann Coulter and Bill Maher hate each other (though I personally think they both completely suck. The reason why has nothing to do with their politics and everything to do with the smug look that they both get whenever they say something that’s lab-designed and tested and proven to offend. They both have this glib shittiness that’s like, poring out of their cells or something. I hate them both. And I actually hate them equally. No small feat considering that one of them is [theoretically] my ideological enemy and the other is, in theory, my champion. At a certain point, politics cease to matter in the face of just abject shitty smugness, innit? Anyway…)
Kids. They’re fucking monsters. I have a buddy who’s a fireman. For two days in a row, he’s home with his kids and then he’s gone for two days, while he lives at the station and does all the drunken, gourmet, homoerotic EMT shit that firemen presumably do when they’re left to their own devices. Now, I’m just a young girl and I know nothing and less of war and battle, but it seems to me that this is the perfect way to raise children: complete immersion, followed by total cleanse. It’s the way I like to do everything. Like, how I’ll eat a few buckets of deep fried beef hearts and then go a week only drinking beet juice, or I’ll fuck an entire special ed class and then spend the rest of the year just teaching them the lessons I’m paid to teach them. You get the idea: Binge and purge. It worked for Hillary when she was trying to keep her weight down on Diff’rent Strokes, it’s probably just as flawless when it comes to child-rearing.
However, today, my buddy was home with his kids, and apparently the system failed, since he was just not having it. They needed some cheese, they needed the Wild Kratts, they needed some crackers. They needed spider man. The bullets for the thing were lost. They needed some shit off some shelves, they had some wayward shit in their ass cracks that needed wiping away, there were boo boos, there were punches and stolen toys and juice was being put in the wrong cups and the fucking sun was too bright and the floor was sticky and motherfuckers were too loud and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on like this.
I didn’t actually ask my friend about any specifics about why his kids were bumming him out today. I gleaned all of the above by just being a fellow dad and knowing what the goddamned rigmarole is like. It’s a dick slap coupled with a dickpunch while someone’s grinding your balls into shreds with your own asshole. The thing about kids is not just that they’re selfish and needy…which they are…it’s that they’re selfish and needy in this layered, unstoppable way that is reminiscent of the recessed levels of a shark’s teeth- the shit’s just so mightily stacked and dense that it’s impossible to even think about escaping once they get the whiff of your insides. You: expectant mother! You think you’re gonna sneak away to do a little work once you plop that thing out of you? Ha! Lemme tell you something: You’re not gonna have time to fully wipe your ass, much less zip your fucking fly back up. You’re gonna get to a point (and it’s very sad, but I’ve arrived there myself) where you don’t even think about zipping your pants and buckling your belt. That’s how shelled your trenches are. You don’t have time for frivolous shit like “making sure your dick is tucked into your pants.” When (if!) you get that second to defecate, you dive…YOU DIVE! For the latrine and you take that speed dump and then you plunge back into making damn sure that they’re not dead and the scary shit on the TV isn’t a big deal and the rocks in their mouths aren’t choking them and that they didn’t actually pour syrup into the sockets and that’s just jelly, not blood etc etc etc.
So my buddy was bummed today. He was bummed at his kids and his situation as a primary caregiver. This is a feeling I can relate to on about a zillion levels. It’s a real funny thing, though, when that kind of feeling comes on a day like Halloween. It’s kind of symptomatic, since when you KNOW there’s no escape from the moment you are woken up until the moment you fall asleep (like, to reiterate, on a family day like Halloween), there’s almost no will in the reserves to bring you to the table to give even the remotest shit about anything in the first place. It’s impossible. Those of you who leave your kids every morning just want to squeeze them and hug them and take them everywhere and you deeply despise those moments that they’re somewhere else, missing you, maybe bonding with some other person or learning other life lessons that you’re not teaching them (or maybe go against your own beliefs) and generally, you think that the worst, hardest, shittiest part of your life is being away from your kids. But you’re wrong.
As someone who’s spent a few years as a primary caregiver of children let me let you in on a few key secrets: 1) It sucks being around kids all day when you live in the same house as the kids you care for. There’s no end. It’s like that scene in Groundhog Day where he stays up all night and the alarm still goes off and the shit still starts again. It sucks. Kids are brutal. Your kids, your angels, your precious little guys, they suck ass on a level you can barely believe and that you definitely refuse to comprehend. And they do it on this round the clock, shock and awe level that you have no idea about. It’s only through the most guerrilla of tactics that anyone can barely hope to wrangle them into anything even bordering on a semblance of societal decency. Which brings me to my next point.
2) You suck terribly at taking care of your child. You don’t know them. You don’t know how to reason with or deal with them. You think you do, but you’re wrong. You’re bad at it. I’ve been a stay at home mom for a pretty fucking long time now, and let me tell you, that shit that you put up with and think is just ‘the way the kids are’ doesn’t fly with me and the rest of my moms. And more to the point, we’re not frivolously raising our voices, idly threatening, making a scene and picking the stupid battles that you (foolishly/erroneously) think are so important because we know what you don’t know. Namely: these kids are smarter, faster, more treacherous and diabolical than you can imagine. And your bullshit notion that “by gum, I don’t give a fuck what you do with your mother. When you’re with me you WILL use your napkin/wash your hands/eat six bites of eggs/hold the door/not laugh/not cry/whatever dumb shit you think is important/” is so fucking useless, so fucking irrelevant, so just ass backwardlsy wrong that it’s truly MORE of a pain in the dick to deal with than the kids’ initial behavior was, because kids process things, and you making a big deal out of nothing is sending a whole new process into an ecosystem that your caregiver has been balancing carefully for a long ass time (like one of those assholes who spins all the plates on Ed Sullivan), and now you’ve gone and fucking sneezed all over the fucking plates and thrown everything into a goddamned tailspin. Fuck you, weekender parent. You don’t know what you’re doing. Get your spouse a cocktail, change the diaper, read the night-night story, and stay out the way.
Anyway, my point here is that tonight we took these kids out trick or treating, where they were overwhelmed with stimuli, packed with candy and generally given free reign to be nightmares and they were all (four kids, between our 2 broods) just spectacular little things. We even went to a dark, calm restaurant afterwards and the kids ate their shit, sat quietly and were generally unobtrusive, conversational and generally awesome. That’s the thing. There’s no fucking rules. Take a kid to a museum, engage him in physical playtime at the park and give him a delicious nutritious lunch and he’ll piss on your own mother while wiping his ass with your soul. Pack him full of candy and send him off to die amongst the rest of the beasts and he’ll snuggle up and say “daddy…I love you. Can we brush teeth and go to bed after I give my sister a kiss?”
Fucking kids. They’ll make you crazy.