Raising children can be hard work and endless self sacrifice.
Which is exactly why I don't do it.
Nonetheless, understand two things about me: The first is that I know what you parents are doing is hard work---I truly (somewhat) get it. The second is that despite my understanding of how challenging it is to raise little people, as a happy singleton I do judge you, your parenting style and the actions of your children on an almost daily basis.
The thing is, unlike most people I'm just honest about it.
I've also learned through several patient friends and family to keep my yap shut about it (mostly). No one gives a fig about a childless person's child rearing tips.
I'm that person you see on the bus when you get on with your massive baby stroller and rolls her eyes when you take up half the seats with the damn contraption and the baby isn't even in it.
Yep, stuff like that annoys the hell out of me.
But you know what, parents? Ms. Judgy McJudgerson (that would be me) got a little taste of your life and was reminded that it's much easier to talk the talk than walk the walk.
I was asked by my downstairs neighbor to watch his two tots ages 2 1/2 and 8 months while he went to the dentist for a checkup.
"Sure. No problem." I said.
That was the longest hour and forty five minutes of my life.
I arrived at their place last week at 7:30 AM primed to watch the kids.
I was given instructions about breakfasts, diapers and early morning procedures.
I was then reassured that oft times the children will sleep until 10:00 so "more than likely they'll stay asleep until I get home."
I should have already known those were going to be Dad's famous last words.
Within 15 minutes of Dad leaving, I had two pairs of bright blue eyes and messy blond hair clamoring for my attention. So much for the kids staying asleep.
Did I mention that the 2 1/2 year old isn't quiet done with potty training and the 8 month old is teething and doesn't like to be put down?
Oh yeah, that baby talk that you parents understand because it's coming out of your child is literally like speaking French to me. I don't understand a word of it.
The 2 1/2 year old was speaking to me in a language I didn't understand---most of it high pitched---but what I could make out while I was holding the baby was that he and his pants were wet. To illustrate his point, he immediately dropped is pajama pants along with his pull up and ran around the house naked from the waist down.
The 8 month old was barely interested in her bottle and didn't want to eat her carrots and parsnips and was beginning to get fussy.
Despite his partial nudity, the older child actually threw away his wet pull up, put his pajama pants in the dirty laundry, put on a new pull up all on his own and proceeded to play with his cars.
It was at that moment I thanked Jesus for good parenting.
The last thing I wanted to do was put down the little one to change the older one and root around for clean pants. The baby simply wanted to be held. Then of course so would I if I had searing pain throughout my mouth.
The baby was primed to explode into a full blown meltdown when I discovered the oldest of parental tricks, noise and distraction.
She seemed frustrated that she could not join her big brother in playing with his cars so I found a wooden toy airplane and made flying noises. I was beyond thrilled when it worked and she settled down.
It took some time for her to become bored, but she did become bored.
So I started singing.
I guess my voice isn't too bad because she settled down for the next 45 minutes and listed to a mix of spirituals and standard church songs.
In the meantime after changing his own pull up and playing with his cars, her older brother was now settled into a Disney movie and occasionally looked our way, curious about my singing.
It was right about the time that Big Brother said that he was hungry that Dad walked in the door.
Thank you Jesus.
Do not get me wrong---it could have been a complete shit show---the kids could have woken up and reacted negatively to seeing a near stranger in their house. They both could have been screaming for the whole time I was there. I was able to keep both children calm so their father didn't walk into chaos.
But it wasn't easy and it was very taxing.
I'd be lying if I said I didn't want a drink, specifically a vodka lemonade, at that exact moment.
Then it (re)occurred to me that perhaps since you all spend most of your waking hours attuned to the needs of little people that your basic needs of showering, wearing matching clothing and feeding yourself may sometimes fall by the wayside.
A reminder "A-ha" moment if you will.
So I'll tell you this----I'll judge you and your tots less harshly if you promise to remember that some of us aren't used to the high pitched wails of the junior set. You'll understand my need for relative calm in the public realm and I'll understand that these sounds and actions are so ingrained in your everyday life that you don't even recognize they're not a part of every one else's.
God bless all of you. You are truly doing his (or her) work and I thank you for it.
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