It’s time again for the Weekly Writing Challenge. The jumping off point this week is: How do you feel about kids being in adult-oriented places? For this challenge, I’ve decided to write an open letter to my parents because I was that kid, the one always brought by their parents to the most inappropriate places.
Dear Mom and Dad,
As I am now in my forties and raising kids of my own, I have run into some situations where I have to decide whether or not to take the kids. These situations remind me of my own childhood and I am quite certain that you had to make these same decisions at some point. While it is not exactly the same; I have three and you had one, as a parent I have to wonder what were you thinking?
Mom, Dad, I know you both like to say that you had to figure things out on you own. In fact Mom, what is that saying you have? Oh yes, “No one ever pulled me aside and told me.” Okay, well I’m telling you now about how I wish you had never taken me to the following places (better late than never).
- Fancy restaurants – As a youngster I was pretty flexible but even I had my limits. Growing up on limited British cuisine, I had pretty reserved tastes. Taking me to the french restaurant for your friend’s birthday dinner wasn’t a great idea. My culinary pallet was not ready to taste escargot and other offerings, so I sat there hungry and bored (surely you were aware that you were the only ones who brought there kid). Lets me pull you aside and tell you that: hungry + bored = 1 unhappy child.
- Any place requiring fancy clothes – Now sometimes it was necessary but did I really have to wear that baby-blue polyester pant-suit to fly to England in? I know you wanted me to look cute (this is the 70s remember) when we arrived in London but nothing spells discomfort like p-o-l–y-e-s-t-e-r. Sweaty and itchy for 7 hours, just what we all wanted. Don’t forget the patent leather shoes, since I only wore them once or twice a year, my feet were killing me. And the blisters. At least the pain took my mind off the itching. So what can we learn here? Discomfort + itching = 1 restless child.
- Houses of single friends with wall to wall white carpeting and yappy dogs – Just because you were in kid mode, didn’t mean everyone was. Not all people are comfortable with kids, and that’s fine, but why torture both me and your friend? There was nothing like being told I couldn’t play, sit on the floor, have a snack, colour, or put my feet up on the couch (because I was terrified the dog was going to bite me) to really make me feel welcome. Here’s what I’m telling you: Inactivity + tension = 1 whiny kid.
- Adult only parties – I know you’re not stupid but when it came to judging an appropriate party, you were in the corner with a dunce hat on. When the party started after my bed time, I’m not sure why you chose to take me along. As always I’d be the only kid, and looking back, I can just imaging the host’s eyes rolling when I trailed in behind you. With nothing to do and no one to talk to, I’d just sit in a chair and watch you and your friends get drunk. Good times. If I started to fall asleep I’d be carried up to some strangers bedroom and placed to sleep on the stack of coats piled on the water-bed (remember, it was the 70s). The best part of the night would be when I was woken up and placed into the back seat of the freezing cold car while Dad (who drove better after a few drinks) drove us home. Over-tired + cold = 1 meltdown.
- Art galleries – I was not an artistic protegé nor old enough to understand “look but don’t touch.” As a child, I preferred museums and science centres which are much more kid friendly. Believe me, I am not ungrateful for being taken to the Louvre (and in this situation I do understand that you had no access to baby-sitting) but it’s not a fond memory and I didn’t get anything out of it other than being able to say I’ve been to the Louvre. It wasn’t fun and I could sense I was making the security edgy (understandably so, as kids like to touch things and get up close). There was also the time factor. My attention span for looking at a painting was significantly less than than yours. I spent a lot of time waiting around. Now, I can see why you were so frustrated with me but what I’m trying to tell you is that: lack of interest + waiting around = 1 bored child
- Really long movies targeted at adults – Remember watching Ghandi? It is a really long movie. It’s also slow paced and political. Try sitting through it as a kid. Too much sitting + unengaging movie = 1 fidgety kid.
Mom, Dad, I’m certainly not a perfect parent, but wouldn’t it have been nice for you both to have some time to yourselves? To relax and just be a couple without worrying about me? I love my kids dearly but I also treasure moments alone with my husband. And lets face it, when your out and your child is badly behaving, it makes it tough for everyone around you and no one ends up having a good time which defeats the purpose of the night out.
So the next time I ask you to babysit, don’t say I never pulled you aside and told you why.
Your loving daughter,