~Monday, May 21, 2012

Two Toddlers

Saturday Abraham and I had our day planned from the first minute to the last minute. We packed up our things and headed to the park so I could play my kickball game while he watched from the comfort of the shade. I had lucked out in that neither Clemson nor Statham had decided to play this season, making my weekends decidedly less dramatic. We were left with a handful of really good players and we had a great time together. I strengthened a lot of friendships during our Saturdays at the park.

After the game (we shut out the other team!) Abraham and I raced back to his place so I could change from my sweaty t-shirt into a maxi dress. I slicked back my kickball ponytail with gel and used powder to even out my face that was red from working out in the sun. Within 10 minutes we were back in the car and heading to the local brewery to meet up with his friends.

I didn't know these friends very well, but it was important that I get to know them since we're all going to Florida in a couple of weeks. I pressed my lips together as we joined them with our empty pint glasses ready for the sampling tap: they brought their toddlers. To a brewery. Not a bar with things like food and chairs. A brewery. The only things there are kegs and half-filled pint glasses.

I don't know what I expected. I guess it would have been silly to hire a babysitter. There were friends from out of town visiting and the entire gang was present. It wouldn't be in the spirit of community for one to stay at home with the kids. Besides, the children seemed fine playing with their toys on the brick patio.

Abraham and his friends have a few years on me. This must be the life of the thirty-something. This is a world I've never much experienced: one with kids. I never babysat. None of my close friends have kids. My older brother is just now expecting his first. Young children make me anxious because I don't know what to do with them.

Abraham has had lots of experience. He knew the toddlers well, having been present for their entire lives. They trusted him and called him uncle. He scooped them up and make kid-appropriate jokes. My mind was blown; he was a damned genius. I never would have thought to make that joke with the kids.

The children never learned my name. Instead they called me "that lady," which made me about 112 years old. Fortunately they were surrounded by so many doting adults that they didn't require much attention from me, save for one instance of one of them darting into a crowd and me stopping mid-sentence to go retrieve him. So at least I have that instinct.

A couple of other thirty-somethings wheeled out their stroller on the brick patio, and the parents took turns introducing their kids the same way that I would introduce my dog at the dog park. But we were at a brewery! Was this not strange to anyone else?

Afterward we headed to the parents' home where more parents and more kids appeared. So many grown-ups. I sipped my margarita and sat quietly next to Abraham and monitored my dog running through the backyard with the other dogs. She had a penchant for going into the kid's playhouse and digging a hole.

The mom sat down next to us. She moved the Femme Fatale's leather leash in the process. "Is this a Coach leash?" She asked incredulously.

"Yeah. It matches her collar."

"Abraham!" she exclaimed. "She's rich!"

Not really. But I have been working for enough years to enjoy a disposable income, all of which I can spend on myself. I don't have to buy diapers and day care. I can buy the nice boots. Or the Coach collar. For the record, Abraham uses his disposable income to vacation. We all have our things. (And seriously. It was a $30 collar I got on sale at the Coach outlet. And the dog is 11 years old, bringing the price down to $2.72 a year and counting.)

She leaned into me. "Isn't Abraham great with kids?" She asked like this was a selling point.

I grew wide-eyed. "He is! It's intimidating." But she doesn't have to sell my boyfriend to me. I feel like I'm the one who's flawed and needs the talking up.

"He's had a lot of practice," she explained. "My husband is the same way. I was never around kids until I had them. He's a third-grade teacher, so he's naturally great with them."

She shifted in her seat. "My little girl asked if you were going to be at Abraham's house this morning," she continued. "I told her you got up early and went to visit. We have to be role models now. That's why when we go to the beach, we'll be in one condo and you [and the other couple] will be in the other condo."

She didn't intend it, but in that moment I felt bad about my life. I didn't know I wasn't living a kid-friendly life. I don't break the law. I go to work and earn a living and support myself. I have sleepovers with my boyfriend, as does every other adult. I didn't realize it was something to hide. It's not that I disagreed with her decision; I guess it was just something I never considered.

We broke for dinner. I sat on the stairs and ate my burrito while it was warm. The parents chased their kids through the kitchen chanting "Just eat the tomatoes" or "Finish your plate." It was exhausting just to watch. Only when the kids finished eating and ran off the play again did the parents get to eat.

I faded fast. It was a long day spent in the sun. We'd been drinking for seven hours. Those kids never stopped running.

I sank my head on Abraham's shoulder and he put his arm around me. "I know. I'm tired too. But we can't leave first. How big a wuss would that make us? We don't have children. We'll go when the families start leaving."

By 10pm, only one family had left. There were still three- and four-year olds playing at full steam. Abraham finally stood up and said our goodbyes.

In his house, we crawled directly into bed.

"I'm so tired." I was reduced to whining like a four-year old. "It's 10:30 on a Saturday night and we're in bed and I don't even care. How do those people do that every day?"

Abraham moaned.

"Baby, we are big wusses." 

"Mmmhmmm. Could you imagine three kids like that one family?" he noted.

Two toddlers. G-ddamn. Abraham and I talked about having two kids. Due to the length of our fledgling relationship and my age, we would have to have them close together and have two toddlers just like today.

I even named our kids once. I was drunk and he had laughed and we danced to the jukebox and now I have no idea what I said. I've already forgotten the names of our hypothetical children.* I am so unfit for motherhood. I whimpered. In that moment I loved my life of working 9 to 5 and drinking on patios and wearing expensive shoes.

"They had Crocs on," he said. "I would break up with you if you ever wore Crocs."

"It's not like you have them all at once." I found myself justifying a decision that felt so wrong after today. "You don't wake up and have two mobile children. You have one and that one cries, but at least it doesn't move around, right?"

 Abraham was already asleep.

*Three days after writing this, I remembered the name. Rory Gilmore Abraham. I am definitely unfit.


Red Stethoscope said...

The parents were able to make it that long, because they had a break (kids playing with each other) and beer. I am like you--unfit and unworthy of a role model--but you'd better believe I'd have been judging the hell out of those parents for having toddlers up that late.

kat said...

Having vacationed with children before, I can absolutely verify that the reason they are staying in the other condo is NOT because you have to be good role models; it's because kids are really freaking obnoxious in the morning. Believe me, those parents are doing you a huge favor.

Bathwater said...

I am a firm believer that it is best to do things before you realize what you are in for, like having kids or getting married.

Anonymous said...

This happens to me a lot now. Not only do I not have children, I'm also not married and I'm not even engaged (gasp!)! Is it wrong that I look at these families with dread and sometimes I even feel sorry for them like, I would hate having to chase kids around all day. I guess it's different when they're yours but this doesn't look like fun to me at all.

Brittany said...

Ahh theres nothing worse than parents with children linger at parties. Take your damn kids home already and put them in bed.

Peach said...

haha, ahhh this made me smile so much. I felt the same before I had Harry and in fact it's only Harry I truly love, other people's kids are still pains in the asses, even when they're lovely or family! You'll adore your own kids sooooo much, if you do have them. Don't worry. I also wouldn't worry about them being at the brewery although, like Red Stethoscope said, I do judge them for being up that late - not fair to anyone, especially the other adults.

Ahhh, Sarah, it's a great thing to be a Mummy, you won't have to give up your gorgeous shoes I promise ! X

Lilly said...

I've been a mom for 17 years now. Sometimes it sucks and sometimes it's the most amazing thing in the world. I started out like that woman, trying to be all goody-goody because after all, I was a mom! Totally different today and because my kids are ten years apart, It's like a different mom is raising the 7 yr. old. I don't pretend to be someone I'm not anymore. And btw, for all you non-moms, when you keep them up late, they SLEEP LATE. ;)

Anonymous said...

No kids, no regrets!
Not everyone is meant to have kids. People used to chide me that I would change my mind, now friends are admitting maybe my decision was a good one. It was the right one for me. So far none of my siblings have had children either. We are all over 40 now, and no our childhood wasn't horrible. My mom has come to terms with the fact that all her "grandkids" will be four legged and furry.

Je m'appelle Danielle said...

I'm sorry, but children at a brewery? No.

The leash comment kind of triggered the episode from Sex and the City where Carrie's shoes get stolen, and the mom doesn't want to pay her back. Like because you have a Coach collar and leash you are living an uber extravagant lifestyle, devoid of any real obligations. She may not have said it, but you know she was thinking it.

Angela said...

In England, we had three pubs on one long street we lived on (close to Heathrow Airport). There was one at one end, that had a garden, for anyone with kids. We went several times, when the adults wanted to relax and have a drink, but take us with them. It had no negative effects on me.

I loved the kids we babysat when I lived in California, but they were rarely with us twenty-four hours a day. I still don't know if I could manage having my own children.

Breeza said...

KIds are exhausting but can be fun. Don't feel bad about your life. Enjoy it!

CM said...

Hi, found you through Red Stethoscope.

As a mom of two, I have to say... that mom was pretty rude. First of all, forget the kids, saying, "Oh, you bought this thing I'm assuming is really expensive, you must be rich," is not polite. And then going out of her way to point out that you guys are bad role models? Why was that necessary? If she wanted to bring up the fact that one condo would be kid-free, she could have said something like, "Don't worry, the families with kids will be in a separate condo, so they won't be in your hair all the time!"

But yeah, your life does change a lot once you have kids, and it seems scary from the outside, but you get used to it and (assuming you wanted kids in the first place) it's worth it. When parents say stuff to you about all the expensive stuff you have or your free time or vacations or whatever... most of them aren't judging you, they're thinking wistfully back to what their lives used to be like. Of course you're not a "bad person" for not leading a "kid-friendly life." Why should you lead a kid-friendly life? Drink your margaritas and sleep over in peace, my friend.

kittyrex said...

Kids at a brewery? I guess it depends on where you live. Where I am (Australia) a lot of our breweries have special kid-friendly areas. They are sort of partitioned off with low walls and filled with toys, books, games and even play station for the older kids. The parents can see the children being occupied if they take a table in the immediate vicinity.

I think it is a good idea because they aren't constantly around their parents, distracting the rest of the group.

Amber said...

This post made me giggle. A lot.

They generally come one after another... unless you adopt an infant one month and two months later, adopt her 15mth old brother :))))).

I know it looks like a lot of work and utterly exhausting... and it is. But, something you don't get to see and feel until you have your own, is the utter contentment and joy you take in their very presence. And the kind of love that is so intense that it makes your heart feel like it's going to bubble right out of your chest... and you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you would kill - or be killed - for them.

In other words: all the rewards that come from all that hard work :).

You may feel like you're not good with kids right now and they make you feel awkward... and mostly annoyed when they interrupt "adult time" but... as much of a cliche as this is... it really is different when they're your own.

You have a lot of love to give, Sarah. And that is what's going to make you a fantastic mother when the time is right :).

Miss Devylish said...

What Amber & Kat said - however, I think that mother/friend was trying to bond a bit and she said the wrong words frankly. She could've worded things much better.

Being a nanny for only a couple of years, I get where you're coming from. I didn't get kids before, tho I'm not afraid of them. Now I have patience I never had, I understand that magic when they only want you and they learn things from you and run to you telling you they love you and your heart could literally burst from your chest. It's crazy. I never thought I'd want that. I didn't want kids til this last guy made me actually excited by the idea. But there's nothing wrong w/ being kid-free forever either. The responsibility of kids is scary. Even the families I nanny for need breaks - lots of them - from the kids.. That's what nannies and sitters are for. It keeps you sane. But there are lots of rewards w/ children, but no, they're not easy at all.

And for the record - some families really look forward to kid-friendly places because good sitters are hard to find sometimes. And many breweries usually have a family area where minors are allowed and a separate over 21 bar area.. I'd bet you a zillion dollars tho they'd have LOVED to all come w/out their children. ;) xo

The Mad Inscriber said...

I did not "love" kids before I had mine, and the feeling was mutual. I still don't adore other people's children, though I am much better with them now.

Also, people should not be thought less of for not having children; it's a giant life changing event, and not for everyone. Exception: if they give child rearing advice like they're experts - which you would never do. So you're a-ok in my book.

Also also, as has been said, that woman was rude. Not unforgivably, but still.


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