Monday, September 28, 2009

Take My Kid and Shove It.

I take my kids with me everywhere. If you know me, you are well aware of this. I take them to work - Elle was 8 days old at her first Blue Valley rehearsal, she had her own desk at my tax office, and Demi is learning how to dance by being strapped to my chest at class; I take them to lunch - I used to ask if it was okay, now I just show up, Bumbo in hand; I take them to school - my classes always started a week earlier than Elle's . . . plus, she really has a knack for coloring syllabi; I take them to fundraisers, to neighborhood meetings, to First Fridays, to Library events, to karaoke night, to the movie theaters (yep. To see Harry Potter. At the 10 o'clock show.), to blogger meetups, to football parties, to baseball games, to company picnics, to weddings, to the freakin grocery store. And sometimes, I nurse my baby, and sometimes I even - ack! - bring a stroller.

I know this annoys people - I know even WHY it annoys people - but I do it and will continue to do it unless I am asked not to.

I did choose to have children. I didn't choose WHEN to have them - but I did choose to keep them when it looked inevitable that it was going to happen (you know, when I didn't know if my feet were there unless I looked in a mirror - or saw in the same mirror that my ankles really weren't). So, yes, that was a choice that I made - that Jeff and I made - that we were going to be parents and we were going to raise our hybrid spawn among the beauty and the ugliness of this world. I don't remember in this contract signing a clause that said that my kids have to be raised exclusively in my living room - or on the playground - or in front of the horrible pizza pies at Chuck E Cheese - or at Dora signings - or in the Disney store - or in the disease-peppered, fake-food and plastic-world disPLAY ground at Independence Center.

I know I'm different than most people. I love children - not just mine, but kids in general. I love the way they talk, the way they walk, the way they justify stealing fake vomit from their friends's house (oh, haven't I told that story yet?), the way they eat, the way they love. I've loved kids since I barely qualified to be one. So I get that my tolerance began higher and has only soared since I got my own little not-always-perfect-angels. The biggest difference is that now I giggle under my breath when a child is having a tantrum in the middle of a grocery store. It's actually a little less creepy for me now that I have my own kids - tearing up at the playground is a lot more accepted when you have some of your own DNA out there playing on it.

Its one of my loftiest goals in life to not judge people. Its natural for us to believe that our actions are the best - the most worthy choice in our personal situation at a critical time - that's why we do them.

I CHOSE to have children, just as many other people CHOOSE to not have children. One choice is not more proper than the other, more deserving of praise, more liberating. But I do feel at times that some people that I am less worthy of making my own decisions on what I do with my time, who I take with me, and what I'm allowed to tolerate (yeah, my kid whimpering may be a little annoying - but dude, your discreet headset doesn't make your hemorrhoid conversation any more private, nor your un-regimented hygiene schedule and anti-personal space issues any less irritating). I don't ask you to censor your language around my children, if you are engaging in something I find offensive or dangerous, I will take myself away. If my kid shits his pants on an airplane - I'm truly sorry for the inconvenience, but its not like I'm asking you to change him. Your choice to not have kids does not make mine to have them an affront to your lifestyle, but it is also not an abdication of my right to live the same.

As for the obnoxious kids in the restaurants - yeah, they kinda suck. But - news flash - the restaurants want them there. Of course, they'd rather them be behaved, but parents with kids are a huge slice of the population that eat out, and making kids happy make them a lot of fucking money. Unless you're eating out at Lidia's and Pierponts every night, I can guarantee that your $10 dinner is subsidized by a boat load of $2 Kid's Meals.

Whether you have kids or you don't, you're most likely going to judge me for everything I do with my own. All I can do is make sure that my kids think I kick ass and that they have the tools and the confidence to do the same one day.

I'm taking in all the happenings in Kansas City and saving you all the trouble . . . I'll let you know whether to soak it up or squeeze it out!!