Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NWC Day 5: Kids

I'm participating in a daily writing challenge for the month of November. It's related to NaNoWriMo in that second-cousin-you-only-see-at-Thanksgiving way.


Prompt #5: Kids. What age do you like best and why?

I like whatever age of kid doesn't live at my house.

Seriously, I guess I like little kids the best. Old enough to talk/have a conversation, go to dinner in a princess outfit (complete with cape and tiara, as a three-year-old I used to babysit did), play, believe they are a dragon shark who can fly and shoot lasers from their toes, but not old enough that they start spouting truth when you don't want to hear it.

Over the summer, I babysat a couple boys, ages 10 and 11, and it was two of the longest weeks of my life. The saddest part is that it amounted to less than 30 hours of "parenting" (mostly driving around in the August heat with no AC) and I wanted to die. On the way to the library from camp one afternoon, one of the boys saw a Children's Museum billboard and wanted to go. As I was having a hard enough time keeping them corralled in a one-story library, I could only imagine the adventure that awaited me in a multi-story museum with noise, flashing lights, and whatever other OOH SHINY objects that would pull focus. I said that was a trip they could take with their parents and then commented that I had gone to TCM when I was their age. I was starting to reminisce about riding the carousel until I felt ill when one of the kids piped up, "Back in the olden days?" Yes, I am a pioneer and I rode in the DeLorean to come babysit your snarky little butt.

I understand that being 40 is unfathomable when you have to ride in the backseat because you don't meet the state law's weight requirement for shotgun status. You have no idea puberty is about to descend upon you, turning 13 is probably a Pretty Big Deal, and you fantasize about getting a car on your 16th birthday. (At least I did when I was that age.) Both boys were pretty floored to find out I'm older than their dad. Like gobsmacked "He's old... but you're older??" dead silence from the backseat, accompanied by the smell of burning as their brain hamsters tried to process the info.

I know I had plenty of similar 'unintentional insult' moments when I was a kid. My dad likes to tell the story of an offhand quip I made about birthday candles when he turned 36. I was seven and thought cakes and all their glowy candles were pretty important. Of course these were the years when I could put all the candles on the cake without looking like I was trying to set the house on fire. The year in question, I excitedly told him that the next year he was going to have to buy TWO BOXES of candles to have enough for his cake. I'm pretty sure he stored away that grudge until I turned 36 and he's been having the time of his life ever since.

I turn 41 soon, but I'm still somebody's kid. Who wouldn't mind being able to fly, breathe fire, or have toe lasers.

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