Last weekend Ed and I attended a barbecue where we were the only childfree people. It was part birth control, part procreation propaganda/proselytizing. It was ALL PARTS loud and chaotic, but what do you expect with 20 adults and 17 kids*? When everyone had left the house looked like it had been ransacked by criminals in search of a million crappy McDonald’s happy meal toys.
When Judy asked me to let all the parents know that the hot dogs were ready and they could start making up plates for the kids I started to politely approach each individual parent until I realized that was total horseshit and finally just screamed out, “HEY BREEDERS! THE HOT DOGS ARE READY. NOW FEED YOUR CHILDREN!” This wise decision brought to you by the magic that is being overserved. If by “overserved” you mean “I refilled my own damn drinks when I felt like it, even if my cup wasn’t empty, thank you very much.” (No one flinched, but I suspect that’s because they couldn’t hear me over the insane volume of noise everywhere as clumps of kids ran around the yard, into the house, and back outside again.)
I spent a good amount of time comparing toddlers to drunk people. No sense of personal space or what constitutes appropriate touching. Frequently spit or drool while talking. No ability to control volume of voice. Fall down a lot. Cry for no reason. Frequently laughed at by those around them *ahem*.
Despite the craziness, the kids were actually pretty good about playing nicely (or nice enough that no one needed an eye patch or blood transfusion) and all the parents did a decent job of running a zone defense in terms of monitoring and policing kids. A few people approached us to ask about our plans for a family and to wax rhapsodic about the joys and rewards of having kids. I held a sweet-smelling baby girl who was polite enough to spit up once I had a chance to make sure she had a bib. It was nice to be around people who were generally positive about having kids. I say “generally positive” because while they were obviously happy and loved their kids very much, they also acknowledged that it’s a total game-changer, but without being all gloom and doom and “KIDS WILL RUIN YOUR BODY AND MARRIAGE AND ALSO YOU WILL NEVER SLEEP OR EAT A HOT MEAL MUAHAHAHAHAHA!”
I think we can all agree those people are assholes, right?
Anyway, I don’t really know where I’m going with any of this other than we are still in no hurry to change our non-parent status (oh how our parents wish we were in such a hurry!), but it was also reassuring to be surrounded by children and parents and not be totally overwhelmed or freaked out. Like, maybe we could possibly someday do this and not fuck it all up to hell. And at least we know we can handle the toddler years since we have plnty of experience dealing with drunk people.
*I am told this was the official headcount but I am convinced there were at least 45 adults and eleventythousand children and maybe a few ferrets in there too.