11 September 2008

No kidding

I have one useful tool in my otherwise poorly stocked parenting shed, and that is my long memory for weird things. I have a lot of vivid kidhood memories. One thing I remember most is hating being hassled by grownups.

There's a strain of human grownups characterized by their love for giving kids a hard time. They steal noses and say that tomorrow is Christmas and tell them that their awesome double play is going to be on the local news tonight and pretend to have hurt feelings over not being invited to a birthday party. When I was little, I absolutely despised this subspecies. What a bunch of jerks. As if life isn't confusing enough for kids, who land on this earth with zero information, these clowns go and tell them things that just aren't true. Then when the kid believes these stupid things, which often have anxiety or false hopes built into them, he gets laughed at by the jerk grownup, so he's insulted twice over. It hurts his feelings and makes him skeptical. Why does any adult consider this fun?

And you'll pay for it, too.

Listen up, kid hasslers: remember that you were confused, and to confusion you may return. If you tell a kid you want her to buy you a sundae, she's going to go home and nervously start counting out her pennies. Don't bug kids; they've got enough to figure out without having to worry about your dumb jokes.


Joy said...

I had a boyfriend who loved to do the got-your-nose thing to me. One day I reached in the general vicinity of his manhood and held up my thumb between two fingers.

He stopped after that.

Christine said...

I'd put Santa Claus at the top of the list in this category.

Rebekah said...

Christine, quite.

Joy raises an excellent point, that there is also a strain of male humans who enjoy hassling females in this manner. She is to be commended for her inspired usage when subjected to such indignity.

Reb. Mary said...

I also remember how I hated being hassled: when I was too literal-minded to know they were "kidding," it caused me no small anxiety. When I was old enough to recognize the attempt at humor, it caused me embarrassment--on their behalf as much as mine. Why were grown-ups acting so foolish?

And I hate seeing it happen to my kids--who, like most kids, have some social issue or other,which certainly doesn't need thoughtless exacerbation. I have to grit my teeth, remind myself that the person is (usually) just trying to find a way to connect with the kids, and try to redirect the conversation in as polite a manner as possible.