December 2017 Column Winner

Children are not as innocent as they seem
Patti Marshall, Countywide & Sun

The problem is that I don’t believe children are as innocent as they seem. Almost always portrayed as guileless cherubs at the mercy of adults, children tend to exhibit their evil tendencies when in my presence. A bit harsh on my part, but it’s the truth as I’ve experienced it.
I have been kicked in the shin by a two-year-old; been the target of a ball throwing nephew, not just once, but at every family gathering for 10 years; received the ketchup end of a French fry in my face in a nice restaurant; and most recently, spent eight weeks on antibiotics due to a close encounter with a mucous-laden moppet. Forget fleas on rats; the Black Plague was started by children as their way of controlling the world.
In all of the above scenarios, adult dotage excused the errant behavior as precocious. In their ignorance of pediatric psychoanalysis, they proclaimed inculpable virtue of their progeny all the while the children sneered knowingly at me from behind their backs. So truly, I give children the credit of being totally aware of their actions, more so than most adults give them.
When that French fry hit me, I can tell you that the child’s wind up and delivery was as precise as that of a professional baseball pitcher.
I am not an expert on children and have no advice for parents about behavioral issues. What I do have is a healthy respect for tiny people bearing snot bubbles who know how to manipulate any situation to suit their needs. Scream loud and long enough, you get anything you desire. Erode the emotions of those in charge and the world becomes your playground. Look angelic while sleeping and you are forgiven anything and everything. Create chaos and you rule the world.
Admittedly, I am a parent, and I did go through some temper tantrums in public, mostly my own, but when my child went berserk in public, he was immediately removed from the situation until his behavior was under control. My son never went to a fancy restaurant with his father and me until he was in his teens, and even then I was not entirely impressed with his behavior. The extra $10 per hour for a babysitter was worth two hours of a quiet dining experience. We never bought him anything while standing on line at the grocery store, and we never gave in to a screaming fit. With all that said, I can also say that it was never easy either.
Now I am a grandmother. The grandson and I have a healthy understanding concerning our relationship. I buy him toys; he doesn’t torment my dogs. I bake him cookies; he doesn’t put boogers on my television. I love him; he goes home.
If you’re thinking that I dislike children, then you are wrong. I accept them as intelligent, germspreading, sticky-fingered, drool-soaked little humans and treat them as such … with a wet wash cloth and a handful of animal crackers. I don’t believe in bribing all kids, but I think I can make an exception in this one case since he is my grandson.

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