Kids Ruin Everything

Kids ruin everything.

They ruin your mind. A wise woman advised me at my first baby shower to write down every cute thing they do because, “You think you will remember, but you won’t. Motherhood zaps your brain cells!”

She was right.

If you are a woman, they ruin your body. First they do it by distending your belly to such a degree that, especially if you have more than one or two, the skin simply gives up and sags. Then, if you breastfeed, they do it all over again to your breasts.

They also ruin your childhood memories or the things you love. You wouldn’t think they could, but they do. They do this either by just being present or by virtue of the increased “enlightenment” of the world in general since you were young.

When Jane was about two or three years old, one of my favorite songs came on the radio. One of those songs that I always sing along with at full volume if I’m in the car. Only there’s something about belting out “Hell is for children!” with my innocent, young sponge in the back seat that just struck me as wrong.

First I stopped singing. Then I turned down the volume. Then I changed the channel.

I knew Pat Benatar was singing about the evils of child abuse, but how could I explain that to my daughter if she asked? And would I want to? She ruined the song. For years, I’ve had to change the channel instead of sing along.

Movies fall victim too. I loved Real Genius when I was a kid. Loved it. I couldn’t wait until my kids were old enough to see it. We finally sat down to watch it one evening and, at first, they loved it too.

But then the woman that desperately wants to sleep with a genius came into the picture. She started trying to seduce Mitch, the young protagonist. Jane turned on one of my favorite childhood movies. Now, whenever the movie comes up, she says, “Oh, you mean that one where the woman wanted to rape a boy?”

When I protest, she reminds me that an adult having sex with a teenager is rape. When I remind her that the woman was not successful in her seduction, she points out that Mitch did have sex with his girlfriend, who was 18. He was not. Rape, says Jane.

The most recent experience wasn’t even with one of my own children. It isn’t enough that my own children sully the things I enjoy in life – no, my friends’ kids have to get in on it too.

I was driving my boys and my oldest son’s best friend when The Police’s classic, “Every Breath You Take” came on. Another song I love to sing with, and so I began.

To my surprise, our young guest began to sing along with me. Well, almost. His version went something like this:

Every breath you take and every move you make

Every bond you break, every step you take,

I’ll be stalking you

I glared at him and kept singing.

So did he.

Every single day and every word you say

Every game you play, every night you stay,

I’ll be stalking you

I tried to laugh it off, but now he had me thinking about the lyrics differently…

Oh, can’t you see you belong to me

How my poor heart aches with every step you take

Every move you make, every vow you break

Every smile you fake, every claim you stake,

I’ll be stalking you

I couldn’t ignore it anymore. That beautiful, beautiful love song from my youth was now creepy. Really creepy. He was right. The song wasn’t about dedication and forlorn love. It was about stalking.

Crap! I loved that song. And a kid ruined it.

They don’t stop when they become adults either. My sister-in-law ruined her mother’s love of watching football. She absorbed all the information about concussion and injury and declared the sport too violent. She harangued her mother for supporting it and cheering on. No, not only should no one play the sport, but no one should watch it either.

With a certain sad resignation, my mother-in-law stopped watching her Broncos. And now they are going to the Super Bowl!

I’m telling you, kids ruin everything.

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You Can’t Have Nice Things When You Have Kids Example #26

I was making dinner. Jane was sitting at the dining room table reading The Hero and The Crown. Hal was hopping around, and Daryl was working on his science poster about sea otters. Life was good.

Working on a poster with a broken thumb on your dominant hand poses a challenge. (Quick side note: it somehow doesn’t prevent you from shooting baskets outside after rushing through your poster, however). Since the thumb hampers basic skills like writing and cutting, I asked Jane to cut out his pictures for him that he had printed off the internet. And I bit my tongue at the sloppy handwriting – even though I knew it had as much to do with rushing as with fractures.

I turned around in time to see him leaning over his poster with a picture centered on the poster and a stapler flared out. His hand was already pressing down when I yelled STOP!!

staple

But I was too late. Yes, he had just stapled his poster to our dining room table.

“What did you think was going to happen?!”

“Well! I forgot the table was there!”

Really. He forgot the table that he was leaning on was there. If my husband had been home, he would have said, “This is why we can’t have nice things while we have kids.” Not that the table is nice anymore. It’s got various other kid-induced stains and scratches all over it. We haven’t replaced or resurfaced it because… well…  we knew it was only a matter of time before someone scratched, stained, or… stapled it.

Playing Favorites

On Wednesdays, my husband and I have bell choir practice while the children have choir practice. When bell choir is done, the children then have chime choir practice. My husband is the director of the chime choir and the oldest two kids are in it.

Hal is too young so he and I usually hang around the church or go home early or if the lady that watches him during bell choir wants to hang around, I sometimes run errands while he watches a movie.

This evening, we had just said good-bye to the lady and were lollygagging around in the hallway.

“Mommy? Where’s Bubba?”

“He’s in chime choir.”

“Where’s Daddy?”

“He’s with the kids in chime choir. You know that, honey.”

“When are you going to be in with the kids?”

“Hal, it sounds an awful lot like you are saying, ‘Hey, Mommy. I really don’t want to hang out with you. When are you going to take over for Daddy so I can spend time with him instead of you?'”

“I am saying that.”

Tact is not one of Hal’s virtues. I grabbed him in a bear hug and mussed up his hair, saying, “Thanks a lot kid!”

He laughed and pulled away and then tried to get me to carry him. After what you said, boy?! I think you can walk.