Friday, July 20, 2007

Kids are the darndest things

This is a long post, but it's 2-for-1 Friday, and I know y'all have nothing better to do at work today...

I'm totally fed-up with children!!!

Not YOUR children, of course, I'm sure they are all well-behaved little angels with good manners. I realize this post may make me unpopular with some parents, but face it -we have ALL suffered other people's rowdy kids in public.

I'm talking specifically about those feral children, the ones who run amok like rabid animals in public places without any visible parental supervision, or with parents who just don't give a shit that their kids are in everyone's faces. I usually place no blame on the children. They're just kids, after all, and any kid will go wild when a parent or teacher leaves them unattended to explore their environment. I mean, older kids should really know better, but the little ones are supposed to do this, because it's fun and exciting to temporarily break free of the oppression of always being told what to do.

But I remember a time when this kind of noisy annoyance was confined to kid-friendly spaces like parks, schools, camps, public pools, and McDonald's Playland, so if you wanted to avoid it, you could just spend your time in a more adult setting, like a café, a bar, the gym, or perhaps a strip club. I have even chosen to live in an apartment complex that markets itself as an "adult lifestyle residential experience", just so I'm not subjected to tantrums booming through the walls.

But now I see parents dragging their kids out to venues that were traditionally off-limits to brats: intimate upscale restaurants, live theatre performances, concerts, late-night movies... and I even know one couple who keep on bringing their fucking rugrats to adult house parties! One hostess once asked aloud: "Why do they keep bringing their kids?" and I said "Why do you keep inviting these idiots?", which, oddly enough, makes ME a terrible person.

* * * * * *

Two significant brat-related incidents have infuriated me this week, and both occured in locations that used to be kiddie safe: the waiting room of a chiropractor's office, and the late show at a movie theatre....

Wednesday - In the very small waiting room of my chiro's office, myself and three other patients barely tolerate the raucous behaviour of two boys - approximate ages 7 and 10 - who are ripping pages out of magazines and throwing their toys at each other hard enough to eventually spark a fist-fight. I must admit, the fight was the really cool part. Like bloodthirsty Romans at the Colosseum, me and three other waiting patients smiled and nodded to each other when the serious bro-on-bro anger commenced. There was another woman there, reading a magazine with her iPod headphones blasting away, who seemed oblivious to the action.

No one appeared to claim ownership of the brawling brothers, so I assumed their parent was in with the doctor already. Eventually the receptionist, whom I know to be a kind and soft-spoken professional, gets the attention of the iPod woman, and I cannot fucking believe she's their mom! She was on another planet entirely. The receptionist politely asks her to settle down her kids, which gets her a rather dirty look, then a half-assed "ok, enough - stop it boys."

But they don't stop. They sit down at opposite ends of the waiting room and hurl verbal insults at each other. After another 10 minutes of this shit, the receptionist finally leaves her desk, and asks the mother and her 2 brats to join her in the privacy of one of the examination rooms. The doctor joins them a minute later, and then I'm escorted into the examination room next to them to wait my turn.

The walls are paper thin, so I can hear every word of the scathing lecture they receive from Dr. X - about respect for others and self-discipline and behaving in public and using their inside voices. Dr. X has 4 very young children of his own, so he knows a thing or two about kids. I can hear the mother tell him off: who is HE to tell HER what to do with HER boys?? And why must she be forced to wait for her appointment when they KNOW her sons are high-strung and don't like waiting! If they didn't want the noise, maybe they should bump her ahead of all the other patients! And why doesn't he just shut up and do his job so they can all get the hell out of there? Then the voices became so hushed that I can't hear the doctor anymore.

Then I hear the door in the hallway fly open and a very indignant mother storming out of the office, loudly telling the people in the waiting room of the incredible injustice she has suffered at the hands of the medical staff who are "discriminating against single mothers!!". Okay. Apparently they asked her to leave. Or at the very least, maybe they asked her to leave her kids at home during her appointments, since she could not manage to control them on the premises. There was an explosion of laughter and chatter in the waiting room after she departs.

My chiropractor comes into my little room immediately after, chart in hand, fake-wiping the fake-sweat from his brow and smiling "whooo! exciting times here today, huh?"

I say "For sure! I'm totally going to blog this when I get home."

* * * * * *

Last Friday - I went to see Transformers at the late show (9:30pm). The movie is rated PG 13, which the MPAA defines as 'Parents strongly cautioned - some material may be inappropriate for children under 13'. Well, sitting right behind me is a young dad with his two children - a girl around age 5 or 6 and a boy who looked to be about 8 or 9.

I thought nothing of it, and the kids were quiet until about 40 minutes into the movie when the metal really starts flying and buildings and people are blowing up every 3 seconds. The little girl starts SCREAMING her head off. She's crying and completely freaking out and she won't stop, even when the on-screen violence stops. People sitting around us are gasping audibly - what sane parent would bring a little kid to a show like this at 10pm? I look back and she's on his lap, face buried into his neck, hugging him for dear life, crying that she wants to go home. Daddy is shushing her and says "oh, stop being such a baby! Are you a baby? NO? Then sit down and be quiet!"

I think to myself - 'Yeah, asshole, she IS a baby. She's like, FIVE for chrissake. This movie is probably some very scary shit for her.' But I say nothing.

I'm hoping he'll be a good dad and at least take his traumatized daughter out into the lobby or something. But he doesn't want to miss the film he just payed for.... "Sssssh... daddy's trying to watch the movie!" he says, while she sobs and whines into his chest.

At this point, other people are shushing them too, including a pack of high school kids a few rows back. Okay, you know you're an annoying dickhead when teenagers tell you to shut up during a movie.

I wish I could report a grand ousting from an usher or something like that, but the fact is, the little girl eventually fell asleep (which is what little girls should be doing at that hour), and when the movie ended and the lights came up, a woman who was sitting behind the father and his kids says to him: "You know, this film isn't really meant for small children - I hope it doesn't give her nightmares."

Without skipping a beat, and right in front of his two young kids, he replies : "Why don't you mind your own fucking business, ok?"

* * * * * *

In conclusion, I'd just like to say that I've had enough with this "kid-friendly" crap already. What? Is there some sudden international shortage of babysitters? I know they can be pricey, but if you're going out to a typically adult event like a late movie or an evening party with friends, but you can't afford childcare, then stay the hell home. The rest of us with common sense will thank you.


T said...

I feel your pain. As a parent of two kids, episodes like you faced over the weekend really piss me off.

First of all, I remember being around my mom whenever I left the house and let me tell you, I was a fucking angel, -because I was scared-to-death of the consequences of 'mis-behaving'. I also recall the same circumstances with all of the neighborhood kids. We just didn't screw around (in the presence of any of our parents). It was like each of the moms and dads had the "OK" to punish any of the kids in the neighborhood and then report it to the kid's parents, -which meant a second whooping. Damn.

Both of my kids had one fit. One. And they paid dearly for it. Once children realize 'the consequences', they will behave much better.

Ever since Dr. Spock's 1970's bullshit book on parenting, this hemisphere has gone to shit. It gave the parents an excuse for letting their child 'develop' in a very un-orderly manner. As my mom used to say, "you have no rights or freedom until you're eighteen AND living in your own home".

As for taking kids to movies at later hours, those parents are fucking idiots. We're reaching the second gen' of Dr. Spock's "invention" and he isn't the one who has to tolerate the repercussions. We do.

"Time-outs" don't work and if you're not willing to properly punish your kids, then don't fucking have any.

Good post.

The Guv'ner said...

I am coming right up to Canada right now to kiss you. And I don't even swing that way miss.

I am so intolerant of little kids it's amazing. But I do realise that the fault is with parents who don't at least attempt to quash their over-enthusiasm.

I was in Florida in May and I was seated on the flight down, among a family of three adults and four kids under seven. Right in the middle. It was like the gates of hell swung open and ushered me in. The flight was full so I couldn't move anywhere. It was painful. Because, as you pointed out, little kids that age are naturally curious and boisterous and going on a PLANE on VACATION is just revving them up even more but when you're exhausted, have a blister from your new damn sandals, a headache and a caffeine withdrawal, four kids under seven shrieking for three hours isn't really all that ideal. I'd really like airlines to sit people with kids in one section of plane (the back!) and at least confine the noise to there.

I'm THIS close to saying BAH HUMBUG.

Bert Bananas said...

Kids will be kids, but parents shouldn't be kids.

I taught my kids early how to beg in public and that the quieter your voice, the more you'd make. To this day they have not forgotten my words of wisdom because when they call, I can't ever hear them.

katrocket said...

T: yeah, I was also trained at a young age to stay cool, because anything out of order incurred some serious punishment, and back then, the mere 'thought' of the punishment was enough of a deterrent to not try anything stupid or test boundaries. Maybe we were just smarter kids?

Guv'ner: Oh. Dear. God! What stopped you from standing up and acting out a Britney moment? Just go apeshit and demand that they land the plane next time. I hear that shit gets you bumped up to first class.

Bert: your comment made me laugh out loud!

Leonesse said...

You are my new Messiah. All hail KatRocket! Stop the insanity.

What the hell is wrong with these parents?

pistols at dawn said...

You've touched on a point, but let's extrapolate: what the hell is wrong with parents? Passing on your genetic material to whining crap factories is so passe. What is this, 1890? What's the matter, can't you hear me with your ear-phonograph, old man?

Kids suck and are the best reason to move to gay neighborhoods. Hell, they're the best reason to be gay. That way, you can put all your energies into what's really important: yourself.

Oh, and a lhasa apsa that you'll treat exactly like a kid.

As for actually relevant comments:

Maybe that woman was a single mother because Daddy couldn't take those f-ing kids any longer. That's her problem, not the waiting room's.

And I saw whatever the last Lord of the Rings movie was with a talkative 8-year-old behind me. The movie sucked on its own, but with a never-ending play by play of, "So THAT's how he got the ring," it was f-ing unbearable, to the point where I turned around and gave his dad a "Do I have to tell your kid to shut the f up, or are you going to cowboy up and do it for me?" glare.

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katrocket said...

Well, I'll be damned. I opt out of the word verification thingy, and two days later, my first slutspam!

pistols at dawn said...

Nice! If your blog starts giving me reasons to laugh, pictures of semi-nekkid women, and links to pages with other semi-nekkid women, so might as well say goodbye to your couch, because I'm going to move in.

Snooze said...

I'm in agreement with everyone who mentioned that kids should know what sort of behaviour is expected when out (although in all honesty, time-outs worked just fine with me. It's all about consistency). Those parents all sound horrid and they are doing their children no favour by not helping them learn how to act. I LOVE the fact though that your chiropractor got the obnoxious family to leave.