Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Don't be offended or anything - I'm sure your kids are awesome

I used to teach preschool.

Did you know that?

And you know what, I was dang good at it too. I had fourteen four-year-olds, four hours a day, five days a week. Those little buggers adored me. I had boundless energy and inexhaustible creativity. My lesson plans rocked the playground. I loved those kiddos to death.

So what happened?

And I'm not just talking about my suspiciously missing energy and creativity and plans (though I'd like to know where they went, too.) I'm talking about the L-O-V-E.

Pssst. Other people's children bother me. Somehow I've turned into Maxine.

image here

Now, we're talking about generally, here. There are puh-lenty of my friends' kids that I watch on a regular basis, and I love them. Some children just demand to be loved. And of course I'm obsessed with my niece and nephews. (I mean, seriously, it's impossible not to obsess over them. Truly.)

But in general? The rugrat population rather BUGS. Especially if I don't know you and yours.

It used to be that if you got me in the same vicinity with a shortling, I dropped right to my knees and cooed and coddled and immediately became said shortling's best friend. I knew all the right things to say and had endless games and tricks up my sleeve. Yet no longer.

Now, I generally ignore any human shorter than my knee that is not currently clinging to it.

Why is this? Do I have a limited amount of love that is simply poured upon my own posterity and a select few others? Or - perhaps more likely - a limited amount of attention?

Tuesday was my turn in the Institute nursery. Fifteen or so little ones, aged 21 months (my own Mr. Squishy) to not-quite-five. And DUDE, did I struggle. It's like I forgot how to make friends with children that aren't related to me.

By the end of the hour and a half, I had won over most of them. But the Preschool Teacher Within was buried pretty deep down - she was tired and complained profusely about being unearthed.

I think I might let her go back to sleep.


Kristina P. said...

I hear this a lot from moms.

And people always tell me they couldn't work with teenagers like I do. Well, no way in H-E-DOuble Hockeysticks could I teach preschool. Ever.

Nikki said...

Yesterday I actually said to a little girl at Daisies, "Well, I'll just have to talk to your mom when she gets here and maybe SHE can instill some manners in you." Oh. my. word. She was such a brat. I tried REALLY hard to love her but I really just wanted to flick her in the head. And I'm not even pregnant. lol The other girls looked on with huge eyes. It's a long boring story about this little girl not moving out of a seat that another girl was in.

Incidentally, I'd LOVE to be able to work with teenagers. I have always admired people that do.

Vanessa said...

I taught Special Ed for 7 years. Not only do other peoples kids bug me, but so do their ignorant parents that enable them.

If your kid is misbehaving, I will tell them to knock it off, even if I don't know you and you are walking by me at Wal Mart. I blame my mother, she does the same thing.

And yes, I am the mean neighbor lady that yells at all the kids for touching my stuff and climbing on my fence and thinking they can just run wild w/no boundaries.

I have issues.

Rachel Sue said...

My BIL has a saying: The definition of brat= someone else's kids. Before I had children, I thought this was a little harsh. I was totally the favorite aunt back then. I read books with the kids, played with the kids, would jump on every babysitting opportunity.

Then I had kids. And when I was around the family, I didn't want to spend time with more kids. I wanted time with the adults.

Don't get me wrong. I love my nieces and nephews. I really do. But the majority of them drive me nuts, as do all of the neighborhood kids. I used to babysit a little girl, 8 hours a day 4 days a week. I thought it would be fine. By the end of 4 months, I was worried for her physical and mental well being. I HATED it.

Wow. Apparently I feel strongly about this.

janel said...

Someone asked you to sub in the nursery when you were 9 months pregnant? That's what's not nice. But I was a nursery teacher when I was 9 months pregnant with my first, and that was totally different than if I were nine months pregnant with my fourth. Energy or attention, I'm not exactly sure which. But something is limited for me that didn't use to be.

Kristen said...

I read on a blog somewhere "I love my kids. I tolerate everybody else's."

I think that is totally true for most moms, including myself!! I am so with you on that.

Stepper the Mighty said...

I work with teenagers in my work and preschoolers in my calling.

Sometimes, it's pretty much the same.


KC Mom said...

Maybe it's because your are growing a child inside you!! Taking care of a bunch of children is VERY hard work and quite tiring! Plus, you take care of your own kids all day long so sometimes it's hard to give to a few more.
Since my kids are older, I have a hard time remembering how to work with little kids. I love them, I just love to give em back too. :)

DeNae said...

I realized a few years ago that I had no patience for any kid younger than my youngest kid. Since my youngest is 14, that has pretty much eliminated every human who might qualify for the title "kid".

However, an interesting phenomena has begun with both my husband and me. We've started noticing babies again, and thinking how cute they are and stuff. So we think maybe nature is prepping us to be grandparents.

My own kids can take their time on that one, though.

Lara said...

I think it's a relief to read your thoughts and the thoughts in the comments. It means I'm not some hard-hearted, children-hating woman. It means I'm normal.

My kids are amazing, and even they bug me plenty. I watch my friends' kids when I need to, but really I'd rather not. I do it to help out the friend, not because I like to do it.

Anne said...

(fyi- I found your blog through MMB)

I can totally relate to this post. (Except the part about being a teacher) And I really don't like watching other people's kids, although I will if needed. It didn't use to be that way- I guess being a mom yourself changes things.

The Prices said...

I hear ya. But as the years have gone on, and my children are getting older, I've started to like other children more and I feel my preschool teacher unearthing.

InkMom said...

There is no inner preschool teacher in this body. I treat my kids' preschool teacher like they are gods. Because they are: they do something I am absolutely, unequivocally incapable of doing.

When CPod and I were first married, I worked in the nursery. It was a hugely effective means of birth control for me. It wasn't that I didn't enjoy the kids -- I really, truly had fun, and I will freely admit I had my favorites.

But to do that now, when I'm already so absolutely exhausted by my own brood? I'm willing to help a sister out when she needs it, but just for fun? It's not going to happen. I know my limits!

Michelle said...

I can totally relate to these sentiments. In my pre-mom days I loved kids. I willingly babysat, for free, loved being around all kids, "borrowed" kids, etc. Then I became a mom and it was like a switch flipped and I went from all child loving person to get your kid away from me person (ok maybe not that extreme but pretty close, lol).

Kimberly said...

I'm kind of with InkMom on this one. Shortlings have always seemed like alien creatures to me. Until they hit about five or six, and then I totally hit it off with them. Give me a kid I can carry a conversation with and I'm good. Ask me to play with them? I'm lost.

Kazzy said...

I like how you mentioned that it is especially true if you don't know the parents (or something like that). I kind of agree with ya there. It is way easier to love other peoples' kids if you feel a bond.

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

I love you. And I wish more people would admit that other people's children suck. I did a post on this once and was sure that I would be ostracized by all other human mothers, but there was a collective "Yeah, me neither."

You, however, get more warm fuzzy points because you actually HAVE a preschool teacher inside of you. If I had one inside of me, it would be because I ate her.

mckell said...

I'm currently working with our sunbeams. In all honesty, I occasionally have to take a walk after class (our schedule is flopped--classes first, Sacrament Meeting after) just to cool off so I can hope to feel the spirit during the Sacrament. At times I've felt very guilty about that...
But I guess sometimes they just rub ya the wrong way.

Kristi said...

I AM THE SAME WAY!!!! Was in daycare/preschool for forever and every kids BFF... till I had kids... What is up with that? I am so glad that you are the same so I can stop feeling crazy!
I think it will go away when I have older kids.... it would make sense... ;)

Harmony said...

You probably have lots of similar comments, but don't feel alone about this one. I'm the same way (as, obviously, others are too). And this started for me many years ago. WAAAAAAAY before I was ever a mother. I just didn't care to make friends with ankle-biters if they weren't related to me. Didn't care. Still don't. What's the point? Too much energy spent on someone I don't really care about. So, you're not a grouch or anything. You're perfectly normal. In fact, you're way better than normal- you're YOU! :)

Hilary said...

I was JUST talking about this with my SIL this morning, then while we were on the phone I was checking my reader and *POOF* someone else on the internets was magically validating our entire conversation! :-)
I swear the biggest part for me, is that I'm sure there's all kinds of obnoxious things my children do that are now just normal to me . . . but when a neighbor kid is over and starts to do something else that's obnoxious, like WHINE (something my daughter only rarely does, 'cause it's completely ineffective with me), it's like fingernails on a chalkboard, 'cause that doesn't normally happen at our house! I stare at them like they're some form of alien life and think, "WHAT are you doing!? Does that work where you come from!? That's just obnoxious!" Then I feel like a bad person. :-)

LisAway said...

DITTO. I can agree with pretty much every word. All my life, from age 10 I took care of other people's kids, babysitting evenings until I was in high school when I babysat 4-5 hours after school every day. Went to school studying to be a preschool director (though I only ever wanted to teach), taught Head Start, went to the east coast to be a nanny, then became a "mother's helper" full time until my first was born. That's when everything changed. IT IS SO WEIRD. And a little sad. But I try to remember how I USED to feel about kids and make myself feel it again. It doesn't really work, but I still try.

Melanie J said...

I would rather do anything, ANYTHING to serve someone else than watch their kids. I really hate it. I will clean your bathrooms, I will run your errands, but OH MAN I do NOT want to watch your kids.

All right. I feel better now.