Thursday, January 12, 2006

So, What About Kids?


Of all the blog entries I've taken time to post here in my little corner of cyber-space, the most popular one thus far has been the post I did about my friend Cryssie's wedding. For up to three weeks after it was first posted I kept getting e-mails (mostly from female friends) saying they had really enjoyed it and expressing genuine surprise at all my syrupy little thoughts on love and marriage. You're such a romantic, J, they said. I could have cried. Then, once their praise was spent, most of them asked that oh-so-special question which inevitably follows any mention of marriage..."So, what do you think of KIDS?"

(deep breath) Oh boy...kids. Kids kids kids. Wow. Kids...It's a subject I've had to give considerable thought to in the last couple of weeks, thanks in no small part to a certain scare which those of you in my innermost circle are very well-aware of. (To those in the know: it was just a scare. Thank God!) But you know, even after all the thinking I've done, it's hard for me to say exactly what I think about kids, given that my opinion on children drastically changes depending on which kids I happen to be surrounded by at any given time. When my cousin Joseph was younger, for example, I used to think, Hey, this kid is pretty cool. If this is what fatherhood is like - having a little buddy to go off and do guy stuff with - then sure, count me in! But then again, there've been other times - usually during Christmas when I've had to spend time with my four paternal cousins - when I could literally feel my sperm cells committing suicide.

Naturally, everyone wants to give me the line about how "it's different when they're yours," but I have a very hard time believing that. As far as I can tell, the only difference between other people's kids and your own is that you don't get paid to watch them when they're yours.

Still, the voices of countless female friends echo within the dark recesses of my mind: "Aww, but J, you would make such a great dad!"

I would make such a great dad - That's a common misperception a lot of people have about people like me. There's an assumption, you see, that if you're child-like in some of your personality traits (healthy imagination, excitability, playfulness, etc.) then you must automatically be really good with kids. The awful truth, though, is that most kids who spend any amount of time with me walk away from the experience with little more to show for it than a few new, fun, and interesting words in their vocabularies. (See also: "That Time I Visited Katie's Class and Casually Said 'Bitch' in Front of Her 3rd Graders.")

But then, I guess fatherhood could conceivably bring something out in me that wasn't there before. I mean, just think of all the creative opportunities that would be opened up to me if I had a whole PERSON to experiment with! For starters, I could make up an entire language and raise my kids to speak it. (Imagine their surprise when they get to kindergarten and find that they can't understand ANYTHING the other kids are saying! *evil laugh*) And of course Halloween would come with a joy all its own -

(And you KNOW I would totally do that.)

But, unless my kids were just perfect angels (like Mike and Rachel's, for example):

Or visions of constant happiness (like Steve and Sarah's):


I just don't know that I'd have the patience or capability to put someone else's needs before my own 24 hours a day...And yes, I realize that kids require that.

The real Catch-22 to all this, as most of my intimates are quick to point out, is that notorious fetish of mine. You know, the one involving women who are - oh, how should i put this? - "in a motherly way." Lord only knows how many times I've gone into Mimi Maternity to get a catalog "for my friend." And Lord, how I'm waiting for Angelina Jolie's inevitable Vanity Fair photo spread six months from now. But, I can't be a voyeur forever, which means I'm eventually gonna have to knock somebody up...just not right now.

And yeah, I know I'm full of shit. I know I'm simply clinging to my dying young adulthood while being helplessly hurled towards middle-age. Eventually, my domestic instincts will probably take over everything and I'll actually look FORWARD to having mortgage payments and driving a mini-van. I'll be one of those obnoxious parents who never believes their kids are at fault about anthing. I'll write bedtime stories for them, which they'll publish and make a fortune on when I die. I'll be the "fun" parent and my kids will NEVER eat generic cereal.

But, until that day, I think my basic attitude towards children is best summed up with a line from Tori Amos' "Spark": "You say you don't want it again and again...but you don't really mean it."

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Blogger reddoorjen said...

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