I am not particularly fond of children, broadly speaking. This is partly because of the tremendous effort and attention they require, but mostly because they are honest. I don’t mean the, “Is the hooker-look what you’re going for? Cuz if so, that outfit is perfect,” variety of honesty,
which I appreciate because it’s helpful, but the kind where you’ve decided to run to the grocery store Sunday morning without showering and the three-year-old behind you in line shouts to his mother, “That lady in front of us SMELLS LIKE BUTT,” because that kind is not helpful.
The entire lot of them are guilty of grossly overusing the words “what” and “why,” which usually serves to point out either how stupid I am or how very little I was paying attention when I should have learned or figured out the what and why of whatever it is they are asking about, and most of them don’t regard sleep as something desirable, which I pretty much consider to be a character flaw. There’s just so much MOVEMENT. All. The. Time. And they are super judgy, just brutal really, which I think should only be allowed in people who are of drinking age. Unless I can pour a gin and tonic in that sippy cup and drink to it, I don’t really want to know what you think of me.
But I make exceptions for a few who are either incredibly cute, or funny, or smart, or who are just not around very much. Not around very much is a quality I rather enjoy in children. They can be hugely entertaining for brief periods of time and then I’m very happy to go back to my carefree existence filled with sharp corners, breakable objects, and the f-word. I also make exceptions for the ones who regard me with an appropriate level of shock and awe.
I had one such small, 5-year-old visitor this weekend (I had two small visitors this weekend and two big ones, actually). The Munchkin Visitor (TMV) declared that I was “a lot like her,” which apparently means that we share a love of the color pink in general and flamingos specifically, along with sea lions and Tinkerbell, and although I do adore flamingos, I’m sort of ambivalent about Tinkerbell and sea lions, but I have nothing against them, so I let that one go. I am also “a lot like (her) aunt,” which her mother thought meant I was totally cool, but was explained by TMV as a likeness due to my tendency to be a total buzz kill about things like not playing in the weeds and not poking your fingers into dog cages. “Because you keep agreeing with my mom about adult things.” She did not use the words “lame-ass,” but I’m pretty sure she was thinking it, because kids are, you know, so judgy.
Upon arriving at my house, TMV was overly excited about a portrait on display of (my dog) Fishy, which was painted by one of his extremely talented admirers, and said that she would draw one herself for me that was EVEN BETTER. I also make exceptions for children who make me gifts. I would like ones that give me cash, too, but none of them work and they’re all a bunch of worthless freeloaders, so I take what I can get.
Portrait of Fishy:
And the one that’s even better:
I am told that on the way to my house TMV was fretting about dinner. “Is she a good cook?” she asked. “What if I don’t like it?” I’m not going to lie, I was fretting about that myself. So, I took a lot of precautions with the spaghetti. There were no gourd innards masquerading as noodles, no spinach trying to pass itself off as meat. I worried a little about the fire-roasted tomatoes, the entire head of garlic, and the fresh basil, and decided to chop up the fresh mushrooms real small so they wouldn’t be recognizable. Just in case. But I used real ground beef and offered the option of plain, white noodles. It was so normal it was practically crazy. And it worked.
“This is REALLY good,” TMV said. “This is the best spaghetti I’VE EVER HAD. You are a goddess.” OK, she didn’t actually say I was a goddess, but she said the rest of it and I could totally tell she was thinking it, because children are really, you know, perceptive.
Later, when it was bedtime and TMV’s mom was tucking her in, she said, “RouxBarb would be a really good mom. She should have kids WHEN SHE IS OLD ENOUGH.” Let’s ignore the first half of that sentence so I don’t vomit and focus on the second half, the part where TMV proves herself to be the most brilliant and observant child who ever lived. When I am OLD ENOUGH. Just another uncensored observation from the exceptionally honest. TMV is welcome here any time.