My sister-in-law thinks I don’t like children. Not true. If I flinched or made a wisecrack whenever parents and small children invaded our space during our recent visit, it wasn’t the kids that bothered me. Most children are charming when they’re not shrieking. I love their freshness, the way everything is new to them, the way they seem to learn and grow so quickly. No, it’s how their parents behave around them that drives me nuts.
Having been surrounded by wee ones and parents on my trip to California this last weekend, I saw a lot of behavior that made me grit my teeth. Why do some parents feel the need to narrate every moment while others let their kid kick the back of my airplane seat all the way from Sacramento to Portland? Why would a mother bring a noisy toy to a restaurant and encourage her to use it, oblivious to the other customers’ growing annoyance? Of course, I saw good parents, too. On the way home, I sat behind a couple with the world’s most attractive little boy. They did an excellent job of teaching and disciplining him and supporting each other without being obnoxious.
No, I like kids and wish I had one or two. And yes, I would probably be one of the most annoying parents on the plane instead of the grumpy grownup I appear to be.