Linkateria: go there now. You need the laugh!
In an effort to become more like a real member of the human race, by which I mean someone who can be around small children without suffering a panic attack, I signed up to assist at Sunday school.
Well, that isn't entirely accurate. I signed up because Carol, the church administrator, made me. When Carol asks, one does not say "no." This is what makes her the perfect church administrator. But then I realized I could also use it as a Valuable Learning ExperienceTM that would Make Me A Better Person.
My childcare experience is limited by a number of factors, the primary one, of course, being a marked antipathy for children.
This began when I was a child myself. I always wanted to hang out inside with the adults and try to understand their jokes instead of being outside getting pushed off the monkey bars by Jeff Feely.
I remember being five and trying to play with our neighbor, Jeanna, who was four. Her mom told her that she had to share some of her candy with me. It was one of those long strips of cellophane packages from the grocery store, each of which has a few candies sealed inside it.
When Mrs. Parrack tore the strip in half, that made Jeanna's circuitry go all haywire. The sight of all her beautiful candy being divided and dispensed to another child caused what NASA would call "a major malfunction."
I sat there watching her convulse and scream turn red as a beefsteak and thought the rough equivalent of "Good god, girl. Get a grip." That seemed to be the type of thing I was always doing as a child - sitting back and gazing, in horror, at the idiotic behavior of my peers.
As I got older, I didn't take opportunities to be around children because it didn't occur to me that one would want those opportunties. And even though I had eight nieces and nephews (the eldest born when I was nine), they had the good graces to stay mostly out of state, leaving Dear Aunty Sue to forget their birthdays and important personal details ("And tell me your name again?") from a respectful distance.
As an adult, I have had plenty of friends who have chosen to breed (and some who have bred without consciously choosing to). I also have a surprisingly large number of childless friends - maybe we ganged together because of our similar world-view, which did not include welcoming little bundles of joy into our lives. Unless those little bundles of joy were cashmere sweaters.
This morning was my second time of being in close proximity to children who were my responsibility in...oh, gosh, my life, pretty much. Laugh away, all you moms.
And in Sunday School, we had a child who suffered a major malfunction. He lost his mind when his mom left him with us to go to church. It was my job to try to comfort the little guy while the teacher wrangled the other kids into a circle so we could commence indoctrinating them into the One True Faith (kidding. My church is slightly less dogmatic than The Oprah Show).
I did not succeed. My little pal was unconsolable. Screaming! Laying face down! Crying! And mom had to be fetched during the service to step in and save the day as only a mom can. But he and I both survived, somehow.
The cool part was that while I was watching him yell, I could see in his eyes what he was thinking.
The injustice! The unfairness! The horror of being a small little person without control over your circumstances! He seemed...well - human! I had a moment of emotional connection with someone under 15 years old!
"Yep, little man," I thought. "I know just how you feel. I didn't like being a kid, either."