Sunday, January 13, 2008

Call off the hounds.

Why did I wait until I was almost 38 years old to get away to the sun in January? Other than poverty, I mean. For years, I've had the winter time blues, the cold weather doldrums, the skin crackling, red nosed hatred of anything icy (unless it's a daiquiri). Just feeling the hot sun beat on my face--though with at least 25 SPF, I am in my thirties you know--might yet save me from a winter of zoloft. It was, sigh, wonderful.

Lest you think I didn't come away from my tropical adventure with anything other than several added pounds and a mighty nice tan, I did want to share an observation.

Children are little beasts.

There, I've said it. Before I explain myself, let me explain myself. I didn't realize that January in the Caribbean is family time in the Caribbean. There were many more families where we were than couples. Makes sense I guess. If you're a couple with children, you're not going to leave them with the in laws over the Christmas/New Years holiday. I just wasn't expecting the number of children. When I was growing up, we were delighted to get a week in Myrtle Beach, SC in August. The closest we got to sunburn in January was wrapping our hands around a mug of hot chocolate, extra marshmallows please.

They were all over the place. They were loud, they were unruly, they cried, they put their little hands all over the muffins at the breakfast buffet before picking one. Some of the parents just smiled at their little bundles of energy--aren't they adorable when they whine?--others looked fatigued--honey, remind me, we brought the whole family to the Caribbean because....? (it's at this point, one wonders, I'm spending tens of thousands of dollars and laying the groundwork for serious intravenous drug use because....?)

It pains me to say this, but when I was their age, I walked three miles in the snow to school. No, no, what I mean is I remember very clearly as a child, even as a young child, there were certain things expected of my sister and me. If we were out in public, we were expected to behave. Behave. I remember the look. Getting too rambunctious, bordering on obnoxious? The look. Whiny? Demanding? The look took care of that. Here, I saw the look too. And it shut the parents right up.

But I generalize...always a bad thing. There were some wonderfully behaved children attached to some lovely parents. A German couple, for example. The parents were charming and older and the little girl was a curly haired little moppet. Adorable. Well-behaved. Her parents clearly doted on her. Maybe their journey to this child wasn't an easy one. Who knows. But what was refreshing was that as much as they doted, they also parented. I saw the look. And it worked.

And that's why the tens of thousands of dollars and drug use are worth it.


Rebecca said...

It's a whole different world than the one we grew up in...I teach 8th grade and you're right...the look shuts the parents up. I hope to be different.

Io said...

Mmmm...warm sun sounds so incredible right now. I think I need to get one of those winter sun lamps they use to stave off depression caused by lack of sunlight.
I have become less tolerant of annoying children since I started dealing with IF. I've decided they are just one more way the universe taunts us, by showing children who obviously have parents that are not as good at parenting as I would be.
(I'm also prepping to be the lady with a million cats who yells at the kids who cross her lawn though, so take the above statement for what it's worth.)

Frenchie said...

I totally agree. Totally. I got the look when I was growing up, too.

Glad you got some time in the sun!

luna said...

glad you had some fun in the sun, even with the annoying little vipers. I agree I've also become less tolerant of that kind of thing, especially when I'm trying to get away from it all (i.e., the fact that we have no kids) for some much needed restoration.

I do have a colleague who went through i/f with his wife and eventually adopted 2 boys. one is really rambunctious but on a pretty long leash (figuratively). now they'd never tolerate rudeness in public, he's just all over the place. I've seen other parents give them "the look" and his attitude is that as long as he's not invading someone else's space or threatening to hurt anything, let him be. I think he figures they've fought the big battle, and now they're so happy to be parents that they don't sweat the seemingly small stuff.

that said, I imagine the people you wrote about were just being irresponsible about their rude ungrateful kids. hopefully you had a great time anyway. ~luna