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Possible Reasons I’m Being “Rude” to Your Precious Snowflake

May 22, 2013

Given that I have no compunctions about describing myself as my own better half (thanks, Berna!) and childfree, it’s probably not too surprising that two of the Tumblrs I follow religiously (well, as religiously as any atheist can get) are STFU, Couples and STFU, Parents. For the most part, posts on both make me roll my eyes so hard I sprain something, then send silent thanks to my friends on Facebook for not being like the people featured.

But occasionally, one or the other will post an item that fills me with inexplicable rage. I say “inexplicable,” because STFU, Couples frequently posts depressing pieces on rape and the despicable fuckwads who would commit such acts, and STFU, Parents often posts on entitled mombies and dadzillas who take national tragedies (such as the recent Boston Marathon bombing, and I have no doubt there’s a distressing read coming on the Oklahoma City tornado), and anyone who can read about such topics and not feel a tidal wave of loathing surge forward is clearly a psychopath.

In contrast, inexplicable rage is a burst of anger directed at lovey-dovey couples or parents who somehow manage to push all the right buttons in just the right sequence to make me think it would be a great idea to either punch a wall or march up as-is to the nearest liquor store on Colfax, never mind that my usual work uniform doesn’t include pants or even underwear sometimes, for the biggest, cheapest bottle of vodka on sale. Even I can’t say what those buttons are or what that magical sequence is, but for whatever reason, STFU, Parents’ author Blair Koenig’s most recent collection of Facebook status updates about parents who get pissy at people who refuse to acknowledge their pweshus widdle babbies hit that bitter spot yesterday.

I understand why mine is a problematic reaction. There are many in the childfree movement who are quick to argue that, contrary to popular belief, they care about children. They might be teachers, tutors, coaches, mentors. They might volunteer for charities that cater to children’s issues or foster boys and girls who come from unspeakably horrendous situations. They are upstanding human beings who simply, for reasons of logistics or personal choice, cannot envision raising a child of their own. And I can understand why they might give me the fish-eye for sullying the entire childfree movement with my complete and utter lack of interest in children, whether my own or someone else’s.

Alas for them, my Number One reason for pursuing a tubal ligation and staying on birth control, otherwise nun-like existence notwithstanding, in the meantime is that I cannot stand the under-7 crowd. I regard very young children as a simultaneous assault and battery on all my senses, and I am truly grateful that my friends who want children are accepting and understanding and will take my forced-out, “Oh, Li’l Junior is so…uh…little!” with a grain of salt and a sense of humor when the time comes. Honestly, folks, I really will be making a genuine effort.

But the parents in this post, none of whom knew the passersby who were absolutely CRUSHING THEIR BABIES’ SPIRITS…good grief. Someone needs to sit them down and give them a solid talking-to. And since it won’t be any of their friends, to judge by any of the chorused harrumphing going on in response to the original posts, it’ll have to be a stranger who, yet again, ruins these parents’ lives by not simply ignoring Li’l Pweshus, but explaining why Li’l Pweshus is getting a dose of the silent treatment, using me as a stand-in for all the other aggrieved strangers who were subject to unjust parental tongue-lashing and even tip-withholding:

1) When I mentioned that I consider really tiny humans to be an assault on my senses, I was not exaggerating. My ears suffer the most. Your toddler standing in its seat and shrieking, “Hi! HI!” in that pitchy register honestly brings tears to my eyes and chills to my spine. If you don’t want me to have a full nervous breakdown in a public setting, the best thing for us both is if I remove myself from the source of the noise quickly.

2) I probably have Asperger’s. Certain public settings like grocery stores drive my anxiety levels through the roof. The fluorescent lights, the crowds, the aforementioned noises, the seemingly haphazard placement of items…I can only spend so long in a store before I risk having one of the aforementioned nervous breakdowns. Taking the extra second or two to interact with a shrieking creature whose shriekiness is spiking my stress levels could prove traumatic.

3) If I’m in another public setting that’s more to my taste such as a restaurant or bar (wait. Why the hell did you bring your toddler to a bar?!), I’m either chatting with friends or reading a book. In neither scenario do I wish to be interrupted by ANYONE, whether it’s your kid or Prince Harry.

4) Commenters on the STFUP post who have interacted with small children more than I pointed out that merely saying hi or waving back isn’t typically enough for young’uns. Once they have your attention, they want to tell you all about their dog or an episode of Dora the Explorer or a new toy they have or get you to play patty-cake for frickin’ hours on end. I do not have this kind of patience, parents, so I will really wind up crushing your child’s spirits when I make shameless excuses for why I have to leave abruptly in the middle of the one-sided conversation.

5) I might be working at the time or sorely needing to return to my computer to do work. See above for not having limitless time to follow your child’s Energizer Bunny-esque trains of thought.

6) Germs. Both your child and I are carriers. One of the little buggers could manifest itself into a full-on gastrointestinal emptying virus of the proportions that will leave the afflicted ruing the day the afflicter was ever born.

7) I live in Denver. We have a saying that if you don’t like the weather, wait five minutes. In the length of time that it takes me to interact with Li’l Angel, it could have gone from being sunny and eighty to pouring hard enough to make one think it’d be a good idea to invest in lumber, since there will presently be a large number of arks under construction. Worse still is if this hypothetical interaction takes place outside, where I’m sure you will not appreciate me subjecting Li’l Snowflake to a potential bout of pneumonia.

8) And perhaps most importantly, I don’t know you, and you don’t know me. For all I know, you might be more Mama Bear than Social Butterfly and start shrieking, “STRANGER DANGER!” to let everyone know that I am clearly signaling my intentions to kidnap and molest your child if I were to smile and wave. For all you know, having not read any other entries on my blog or #1 on this list, your paranoid conclusions could be one hundred percent accurate.

So, sensitive parents, take note. I’m not trying to crush your child’s spirits. I’m trying to avoid crushing my own mental faculties as well as my windpipe, assuming you are going to go all Mama Bear on me if I stray too close to your cub. Besides, the character-building experience of being ignored is good for your little delight. It might just make them self-conscious enough to put on pants before crawling to the liquor store in the middle of the day.

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11 Comments
  1. I don’t give two shits if nobody likes my kids because I don’t half the time either, but when my daughter holds the door open for you and you walk past her without saying thanks, I’ll give you a “you’re welcome, ignert bitch!” That’s my personal pet peeve unrelated to your post but I’m still strangely annoyed by another occurrence of this today. Lol.

    • It’s my general rule to thank everyone who holds a door open for me. I figure I expect courtesies when I hold doors for people, and anyone polite enough to do it, regardless of age, should be rewarded lest they turn into some kind of, I don’t know, psycho public-door-wielding serial killer or whatever else my overcaffeinated brain thinks is an appropriate response.

  2. Jillian permalink

    Yeah, I never understood the “pay attention to my kid!!!!!111” versus “stay away from my child, you pervert!”

    • That contradiction makes me weep. You’re one of the awesome future parents I’m referencing, though, as evidenced by the fact that you totally get it!

  3. OH WELL…! THANKS FOR SHARING. i HAVE “ADULT” POETRY, IF YOU ARE INTERESTED. 🙂

  4. Hahaha…ah…this had me giggling with glee because I feel exactly the same way about children…and grocery stores. Anytime I am at a family event with children I end up slipping into a sort of waking coma due to pure sensory overload. Then I leave early because I have developed a massive headache, an eye twitch and a cold rage deep in my very soul.

    • If the eye twitch has also resulted in tears streaming down your face, I think you and I are secretly split personalities with a common body. Although my close family members are indifferent to children, so it’s only truly massive gatherings that involve half the Jewish population of the United States that try my senses in such a fashion.

  5. I think I have a greater tolerance of grocery stores than you – at least small ones – I only go into big stores when they’re busy to use the toilet…I even like kids sometimes, but the parents of the precious…now, they are a different kettle of fish. What us childless folk fail to realise, of course, is that they have successfully produced the first baby to be born, ever, in the history of the universe. May I suggest, as a social experiment, that if you buy a small bottle of vodka sometime, the size and shape of a hipflask, that will easily slip into a small shoulder bag, having consumed the contents in the comfort of your own space, you re-use it as a go to water bottle…on sighting a family herd bearing down on you, whip out the bottle, take a swig and watch them scuttle away like cockroaches when the light goes on…it is of course important to make sure it’s only water, so you can give the finger to any law enforcement jobsworths 😉

    • I am so trying this! I also chuckled at your description of what we poor, benighted, childless losers can never hope to understand. With some parents, it’s so true!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Anti-romantic Analogies for Love | Not Taken, Not Available
  2. Why Be Childfree? | Not Taken, Not Available

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