Child Montage

Since being one, I have been plagued by them and had them follow me around mercilessly. I am defenseless to their contagious beings, I am left without defense in their amoeba-like multiplying, and no matter my immunity-strengthening techniques, they find me. No, I am not talking about head lice (although it would explain a lot if I were one in a past life), I am talking about CHILDREN. 

Children. The post-nasal drip torturous tears that keep, you, the parent up at night. The begging for more candies, cars, and giga pets at every store you walk into. And the hollow legs. Oh, the hollow legs, that require nonstop feeding, cleaning, feeding, cleaning. I don’t know how you parents do it/ did it… I suppose it helps ease the pain of your war wounds by always thinking your kid is better than Sue and Daniel’s, and Jean and Bob’s kids no matter how much of a little tart you’re raising.

The past two days, I have been privy to learning a lot of lessons from the very midget people that should be in school learning lessons themselves right now, but are instead roaming around the slopes of the Alps and playing with my head. Kids are a great way to teach you about the dichotomous nature of life, and the many facets that will give you an ego-splitting headache if you’re not forewarned.

1. Roses and Tears. Yesterday, on my bus back ride from the Farmer’s Market, there were these two cute little girls –sisters– sitting next to each other and causing nothing short of an eyeball poking raucous. Their father was trying to put a stop to it in his pseudo-British-quasi-Irish-Scottish-Armenian accent but to no avail. Finally, he separated the two spit fires and they went up in flames. Well, one of them. She started bawling tears that crocodiles only dream of, and pouting. I couldn’t exactly understand why, was it because her punching bag got removed from her possession? Maybe she had a rock in her ski boot? To ease her pain, out of my Mary Poppins shopping bag, I pull a spoonful of sugar, in the form of a rose and offer it to her. I feel like it probably made the tears worse, she snubbed my flower gift, and I drew a lot of unnessecary attention to myself. The great part was that the non-speaking-French father carried on with me in French and I got to for once pretend HIS accent was bad by looking at him funny and remaining silent!! Karma kicked my butt straight away for that one. Later in the day, we are attending a funeral and during the burial I watched the grandchildren (about the same age of the girl on the bus) of the deceased man carrying roses out in front of the casket. They were indeed shedding REAL tears. Tears with justice, and a purpose behind them. I wonder if that girl earlier had seen this children if she would have self-analyzed herself and found her crying to be petty. Anyway, the moral of the story contrasting brat with waterfall eyeball drama and truly torn and broken-hearted children: How many times have I cried when there isn’t even anything to be upset about, except that I am not getting my own way? 

2. Smiling Babies. Because this man knew everyone in the town, about a thousand people attended the funeral yesterday. The church was so full that most of us had to stand outside. During the procession, we were standing in a long line woven through the streets of the village, not able to see, nor hear what was happening at the cemetery at all for the actual burial. However, in the window of the house next to us, which we were tucked up closely to like sardines in the walls of their tin can homes, there was a little baby with the most Grand Canyon dimples I have ever seen and eyes brighter than a headlamp. He was so adorable and full of life, he reminded me of my cousin Parker John (PJ if you’re cool like he is and can give yourself a nickname). It was an interesting twist on the faces of those who saw this sparkling little boy…and a reminder of how even when life is ending, new life is always beginning. 

3. Dweeby Kids. I must admit, I was feeling pretty confident yesterday in my language skills. Weaving my way through stores, looking for dripless candles and various other items that I could ask for and hear the answer without drawing a blank. I even talked to this couple today on the ski lift that spoke Swiss French and I could understand (something about Jazz?) what they were saying. I soaked in some Spanish while eavesdropping on “Natalie” and “Isabel” on the bus ride. Then…leave it to a punk kid who I ACTUALLY HELPED UP INTO HIS SEAT to put me in my place. Way to bite the hand that feeds you, little child. I asked him what his stop was, and I KNOW I asked him what his stop was, not some question about the brand of his helmet, or where he goes to school. He looked at me like I had four heads and then sunk into his turtle-like, shy, sullen shell and would not talk to me. So, gradually, the bus began approaching my stop. Then, not so gradually it raced towards me needing to exit the bus NOW and this mean kid not budging out of his seat to let me. I was going to pick him up and throw him to show him WHY I was asking where his stop was, but we worked it out via a lot of lifting and twisting, pulling and popping and now that both of our spinal chords are subluxated, we’re both at the right bus stop and hopefully that rude little kid is in bed right now. Without supper. This didn’t really teach my any lessons, except that I’ve heard that talking to kids is one of the best ways to learn a new language, but this one clearly was uninterested in playing professor. 

You know, kids really have the right idea. Rather than spend half of their time enjoying life, and the other half cleaning windows and sweeping cobwebs off the ceiling, they pretty much get to enjoy the entire thing and then throw tantrums when they don’t enjoy it, and we all just consider it normal behavior. I suppose that is why school was invented, so they would have an ever-present ailment like adults do. I feel a little bit like a kid right now here in these mountains, sitting around doing nothing, responsibility-free, putting face masks on my face and cold cucumbers on my eyes. I even get a weekly allowance that is equivalent to my age in dollars, and sleep in a bunk bed.

Where did I put my Flinstones vitamins? I’m needing some Biotin. And I think I might just fall asleep at the next dinner party. With my head in my plate like I used to. Kids are so lucky. 

— Emily —


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