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December 6th, 1999

Energy Vampires

Before I start rambling, I want to say hello to my brother, Nic. He's been trying to call me on and off for weeks but since I have a mouse hooked to my belly button via modem now I'm never offline. Hi Nic. <waving merrily>

This morning I was invited to judge a
Blair Witch Project spoof. Imagine, someone actually "wants" my opinion. ::sobbing:: The Hallmark Quality of this moment is staggering. I can die a happy woman now. Oh wait, I'm three months behind in laundry. I can die a happy and naked woman.

I am so tired. Had I known back when I was a wee little whippersnapper that the bulk of my adult years would be spent craving a nap like Tammy Faye craves her mascara, I wouldn't have wasted all of those golden nap opportunities.

What does it take for ten minutes of peace? Is there anything that shuts these children down? They're little energy vampires, I tell you. They suck it out of your utilities and then you're the next to go.

Until you're a parent, though, you'll never understand. Here's a prime example.

People without children should never be allowed to give out advice. What on earth do they know about being a parent?

"Welcome to the Animal Channel! Today we shall take Bill Potter and his wife in search of the African Lion. Bill will then attempt to capture one with a Boyscout knife and a Q-Tip!"

See what I mean? As if these people know anything about rearing children.

You can go into parenthood with good intentions, but until you're up to your neck in Beanie Babies and Power Rangers you cannot pretend to even understand.

A coworker once advised me that when he had kids he would be in charge at all times. He would not lose an ounce of his personal time. Children would not be the death of him. I listened intently and then locked myself in the broom closet. I laughed clear through lunch.

I asked him to give me a list. Just a short note telling me how he thought things would be and then I would fill him in on the reality.

Here's what I got:

#1 - Within three weeks of bringing the child home the baby shall sleep through the night. I need my sleep, and all you need to do is artfully set the baby up on a proper schedule.

Reality: Within three weeks of coming home from the hospital your baby might just be ready to finally quit the crying jag that started the minute you set it into your Chevy Blazer for the drive home. Schedule that.

#2 - Any child of mine will eat what is put in front on them. I will not play games at dinner time.

Reality: Your child will throw whatever you put in front of them. They do, in fact, consider this a game and you are playing whether you like it or not. Nothing is more fulfilling than watching Mom or Dad pick Spaghetti-O's out of their hair. The only thing that is really meant to be eaten at this age is pebbles and crickets out of the driveway.

#3 - Anything that now is mine will remain mine. My children will respect my privacy and not get into my stuff.

Reality: Your children do not respect your sanity. What makes you think something as inconsequential as your privacy will matter to them? Of course they will steal all your stuff. If you desire to have anything remain only yours, load it up in your trunk and take it to the office now. At the moment of conception your child has already selected the items it desires to steal. Move it all out now. This is your only hope.

#4 - My children will not get ill. I have no time in my schedule for sick children. I am a busy man.

Reality: Invest in a car phone. I can guarantee you that you'll be finalizing stock trades in the emergency room while a doctor tries to dislodge a lima bean from your two-year-old's ear.

#5 - No child of mine will ever talk back to me. They will respect my authority.

Reality: Lump this one right in with sanity and privacy. They will talk back to you and they will talk back often. My preschooler once informed me I was a chicken butt kisser. They will talk back to you in manners so creative you will find them more cute than offensive. Keep track of these things as they say them and write them down. I'm going to use mine while designing my will. Let's see what she says when the lawyer tells her "the chicken butt kisser" left her nothing.

#6 - My love life will not suffer

Reality: Yeah. <snort and a chuckle> Whatever, Romeo.

I can hardly wait until he has kids of his own. I plan to visit that first week and sit across from him on the couch, sipping tea and marveling at his clean diaper free home! I am sure the carpet will be spotless, everything will be in perfect order, and his tables will be dusted. We'll sit and chat and I'll let him gloat about how wrong I was while the baby naps angelically in the other room.

The baby will wake up.

The lights will flicker and die.

The phones will cease to work.

I'll just sit in the dark and keep him company. That way he won't be able to see me laugh at him.

Unless otherwise specified, all material
Copyright 1999 by
Marijke Hildreth



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