Kids, hey? They’re adorable, right? With all their hilarious antics and inability to even slightly care what other people think? I know my two are pretty much a laugh a minute – well, the minutes in between the seemingly constant streams of meal preparation and bodily fluids – and it’s mostly unintentional on their part. But an incident at the playground recently got me thinking. Imagine if I, as an adult, attempted just for one day (or even just for one minute) to get away with some of the behaviours that my kids display. I’m guessing nobody would laugh, or coo ‘Naww, just look at you, ya little bruiser!’, or let my misdemeanour slide with no more than an exasperated ‘tut’. Consider the following:
1. Pushing. (Adult word: assault). The incident at the playground involved my tiny two-year-old Baby Girl marching up to a much bigger kid and palming her in the face because said kid had the nerve to lean over and look at ‘her’ sandpit toy. The push was hard enough to plant this (I guess) four-year-old on her bum. Was my daughter arrested? Were charges pressed? Oh, noooo. To the big kid’s justifiable dismay, there was a collective ‘OOoooOO!’ from the adults who saw – her own mother included – and a fair bit of guffawing about how little and cute the offender was compared to her victim.
Twenty minutes earlier in the cafe, when the bloke in front of me smugly ordered the last slice of banana bread out of the case before I could get to it? Well, I was tempted to give him the old ‘Don’t Argue’, but there probably would have been consequences. I certainly don’t think anyone would have chuckled and called me ‘a feisty little thing’ if I’d actually planted him on his backside. What’s with that?
2. Appropriating possessions (Adult word: theft). If I’d made a new acquaintance, you can be pretty sure that I wouldn’t be silently rifling through her handbag the moment it was left in my reach. I wouldn’t empty a box of tampons and begin smoking each one like a cigar right next to her while she was obliviously chatting.
And if I got my grubby little mitts on her purse and started scattering her plastic cards around on the floor before greedily emptying the coin pocket – all the while muttering ‘munnee, munnee, munnee, munnee’ – I’m pretty sure that once she finally noticed what I was up to she’d be calling the police rather than assuring my companions that it was totally fine and we’ll just put it back later, or even Oh, let her keep it, she can put it in her money box at home.
3. Wee by the tree (Adult word: public urination) Anyone who has toilet-trained a small person will know: when they gotta go, they gotta go, and you don’t get a great deal of warning. Once you leave the house nappy-free, there’s only a couple of layers of fabric between your kid and a potentially soggy mess. Sometimes there just isn’t enough time to trek to the closest bathroom before their cup runneth over. So I for one have on multiple occasions instructed my kid to ‘water the grass behind that tree’, because having weighed up the alternatives I’d decided an alfresco wee was preferable to carting a distraught kid around in urine-soaked clothing (the most memorable occasion being the time my son didn’t assess wind speed and direction before letting fly, and learned the literal meaning of the phrase ‘pissing into the wind’. On that day, there were no winners). More often than not there’s a witness or two, most of whom will offer a ‘been-there-done-that-thank-goodness-it’s-not-me-today’ smile/wink combination, or even proffer a baby wipe if they’re extra-kind. I suspect that if it were me dropping my strides and taking a brisk tinkle on the ground at the park, there’d probably be a lot more disapproval and a lot fewer baby wipes on offer.
4. Refusing to wear pants (Adult word: indecent exposure) I get it. Pants are uncomfortable. In Summer, it could be argued that they’re downright unneccessary. They certainly make public urination that little bit less convenient, and us adults are always complaining about how kids wear out the knees and secretly fill the pockets up with sand/rocks/crayons that will inevitably bung up our washing machine and/or dryer. (Side note: WHY DO BABY AND TODDLER PANTS HAVE POCKETS??? It’s not like kids’ve got keys to put in them, or like they’d even be big enough to fit keys anyway. The only things small enough to fit in those tiny, irritating pockets are sand, rocks and crayons, for crying out loud!). So it makes sense to just not wear them. And if you’re going to skip the pants, why not go ahead and do without the nappy or undies as well? Much more practical, although you do get a bit too much friction on the slippery-slide. No matter how much Mummy chases you around squawking ‘Pants! Pants! Everybody has to wear pants for this outing!’, you just know the sight of your dimpled little butt cheeks evading her yet again is eventually going to give her (and any bemused bystanders) the giggles.
Needless to say, a grownup running around with butt cheeks on display (dimpled or otherwise) is not likely to give anyone the giggles. It’s more likely to give them the heebie-jeebies and the strong inclination to call the cops. Kids win again
5. Being totally obsessed with mirrors and cameras (Adult word: pathological narcissism) The first time one of my kids encountered a mirror, he got so excited that he threw up all over himself. I worked out very early on in both my children’s lives that if I needed five minutes to pee alone once or twice a day, I could park the baby chair in front of the floor-length mirror and they’d be mesmerised by their own reflection for as long as I needed. Once they could move, they’d often make their own way to the glass in order to gaze upon the beautiful child who lived there. The only problem was all the Windex I went through cleaning the slobbery kiss-marks off the mirror.
Even now, Boy-Child is a slave to his own reflection and left unchecked will easily spend twenty minutes in the bathroom making faces at himself when he’s supposed to be brushing his teeth. Attempting to take a candid photo of either child is nigh impossible, as in almost every shot they’re already running towards the camera with an outstretched hand saying ‘Show me! Me see!’ before the flash has even gone off. Boy-Child was given his own camera at Christmas: So. Many. Selfies.
You’d never catch an adult behaving like that… Wait. What?