Children and the Currency of the Apocalypse

7 10 2011

Have you ever seen that bumper sticker that reads “Teenagers: why some animals eat their young”? I can remember the first time I encountered one. It must have been sometime in the early 00’s. (Which is one of the strangest things to write by the way. I’m not even sure how to refer to the start of the 2000 block yet) I thought it was hilarious.

Partly because I thought ‘witty’ bumper stickers were examples of some of the best humor around. Which now I’m thinking was probably indicative of a deeper problem. I’m going to guess the overwhelming lack of genuinely funny things happening in the town in which I lived. It was small. We just didn’t have room for anything but the corn and the senior citizen population. 

There wasn’t a lot of in between in that town. A more detailed examination of the population revealed that you were either  just barely able to drive, qualified for the $.50 coffee at McDonald’s, or were cow.

Not an amazing degree of diversity.

I haven’t reached the age of teenagers yet but I’m attempting to prepare to put up as good a fight as I can. I ‘have’ two children. Now I say this in not-quite-quotation-marks because I’m never really sure how to present them. 

One is indeed mine. On a genetic level. The other is mine through inheritance. On occasion relationships come with children. That’s neither good nor bad. To quote Bert from overnight security here at the hospital (and yes Bert is a cover identity) “It is what it is.” I find that I am 100% okay with it. I did not let the lack of shared genetic material discourage having a relationship with the Vixen’s little one. After all, we are all the same sort of weird.

“Terminally Cute.” That is what my family refers to her as. And it’s a good tag. Her and T.S., my son, get along like siblings.

He’s old enough, as anyone who reads this regularly knows, for kindergarten, which he loves. He was disappointed the other day that there was no homework. I am afraid that I will simply never understand that. So during the day he is away learning to read,write and be a productive cog in the ever-moving behemoth that is the beurocratic industrial machine. And we are at home.

The gym nearby runs a program for children that aren’t yet school age to run around, burn energy and make friends. It’s run paradoxically by an aquatic super-predator that people just can’t wait to throw their children to.

Seriously, the guy’s name is “Sharky”.

Anyways, she doesn’t get into all of that. “Oh, what’s that? Which child is mine? Hold on, let me look. Oh there she is, yeah, see the one waaaay in the corner over there? Behind that one. Right, the one with the awkward stare? That’s my girl!”

There are occasions that I wonder about her. She isn’t particularly interested in joining with others in social activity. Not directly anyway. She doesn’t mind adorably lumbering in and stealing the toys while they’re not looking.

The last day we were there she wandered about the outskirts of the gym stacking frisbees as she went as if somehow she knew, just knew that frisbees would be the new currency of post-apocalyptic earth.

I feel so proud.

Kids are a strange bunch and they never cease to amaze me both in their capacity to understand only what they want and communicate only in ways that are comprehensible to them and perhaps some sort of aboriginal medicine man, who primarily communicates with spirits via bone-tossing and with children in a similar fashion using dog treats.

On a related note children will eat anything.

They also learn quickly to follow the worst examples possible. Manners take six weeks to learn ironclad but profanity is absorbed in six seconds. If one starts to babble worse than a southern Baptist church congregation member, the other is short to follow. Ours even add the occasional Hallelujah!

It doesn’t make a lot of sense I know. I live with the two of them. They develop allergies along the same timelines but only in their heads. The smallest one (Terminally Cute) for instance actually does have allergies to a variety of food items, dooming her to become one of those kids that’s forced to suffer a brutally restricted diet of gluten-free, sugar-free, allergen-free, non-dairy soy Tofurkey on half a million grain bread.

And no Tofurkey is not a typo, it’s just odd.

But this morning out of the blue, Tango Sierra (The oldest of the bunch) matter-of-factly informed me that he only wanted peanut butter on his english muffin because he is allergic to jelly. Not grape jelly I discovered upon further inquiry. Just the other ones. So if we had grape that would be fine.

I think he’s making it up.

The other big thing is the pace at which they eat. If one doesn’t like something (Which they usually discover after eating 70-80% of whatever it might be) than miraculously the other doesn’t either. And it’s not just the small one following the big ones lead either. It goes back and forth all the time under any sort of circumstance.

The smallest ends up sabotaging herself without really knowing that she is doing it. Inevitably she realizes later that no, she isn’t done or maybe she really did like it and inevitably becomes very sad when she figures out that ship has come, dropped passengers and cargo, reloaded and sailed once more after the crew enjoyed a little R&R.

She puts a lot of thought into things.

They’re a blast. I love these kids. I didn’t think that would be the case years ago, when I was busy being young and stupid, but here in the slightly elevated level of ‘adult’ with kids, I’m finding that it’s a lot of fun. Regardless of the shouting, the nonsense and constant movement that comes attached to smaller versions of yourself, it is well worth the effort.

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