Saturday, March 04, 2006

I can't have children.

No, I'm not talking about my shrunken ovary.

I can't have children because I can't stand the noise. And the mood swings. And the noise. And the fighting. AND THE NOISE.

For instance! I'm in Iowa this weekend to help my adorable nephew celebrate his seventh birthday. Yesterday morning I was left in charge of the nephew and niece while my family ran errands. Our time together started out as delightfully as possible; the kids invited me to snuggle under a blanket with them and watch a movie. (OK, it was a Star Wars movie, so "delightful" was relative, but I was bonding so I pretended to enjoy it.)

We were being all cozy and cuddly, and every time there was hand-to-hand combat and gruseome death on the screen, my adorable nephew--who obviously had watched this movie enough to know his cues--jumped adorably up and swung his toy light sabre at his villains and returned adorably to the blanket after all foes had been vanquished.

But! Eventually the niece jumped up mid-vanquish and wanted demanded to use the light sabre. And there was grabbing. And pushing. Then there was crying. And screaming. And accusations that the niece would "never get [her] strength back" after a particularly grievous push to her arm.

And then we decided the movie wasn't fun anymore and let's play a game! But the nephew wanted to play school and the niece wanted to play Battleship (and the readers kindly kept their gender-issues comments to themselves) and Uncle Jake refused to be the tie-breaking vote because neither option sounded particularly fun so a vote was railroaded through by the nephew that we would play some electronic counting game instead but the niece was screaming too loud for the nephew to hear the electronic questions every time he stepped on the buttons. Because pushing the buttons with a finger is apparently how crazy monkeys would play this game. And we're not crazy monkeys! We're screaming children! We use our feet!

And then! And then the niece became Angry Drama Queen From Hell and started screaming like Medea over her dead children and Sally Field off her meds on ER and Janet Leigh in the shower all at once. And she's never even read Medea! (Neither has her Uncle Jake, but he's pretty sure Medea does some screaming after she kills her kids. If not, please substitute the screaming of Oedipus after he goes through his patricide/motherfucker/self-blinding phase. Only in a womanly voice.)

And then it was Uncle Jake's turn to scream, only in a manly voice. And he actually YELLED ANGRILY! at a four-year-old girl. He yelled to STOP SCREAMING! And that fighting over a game DIDN'T MATTER! And WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? And he didn't feel guilty about it. Not one bit.

And then he asked her if she wanted to go to her room. (Bad move; he should have TOLD her to go to her room. But he was new at this. And kind of a pussy.) And through her hyperventilation and gutteral sobs, she said no, she did not, in fact, want to go to her room. But she'd like some money. And after a little sobbing-child-to-English translation it was determined that she actually wanted her bunny. But the little stuffed bunny was nowhere to be found.

And then: the deus ex machina! Uncle Jake's sister came home! And though the bunny remained steadfastly in its hiding place (and could you blame it?), the screaming ended, the sun came out and Uncle Jake went to the kitchen and had a banana.

And eventually he went shopping and came home with four shirts, a new set of 400-count sheets, six new serving pieces for his fancy new dishes and a mountain of kitchen utensils--all on sale and all with an extra 20% discount from a coupon his mom had.

And he loved his new possessions like they were his own flesh and blood. Because they didn't scream.

And that's why I can't have children.

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