Saturday, November 10, 2007

the one where all my friends with kids turn agin' me

This morning we had a wonderful breakfast at Katy's in Carmel. An enormous omelette and eggs benedict menu, but it should be noted that they only take cash. So save your ones, strippers!

After that, we made the requisite visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We got there just when they opened, which was probably a good idea given how crazy it was then--I'm sure it was swamped by 1:00 pm. The experience was enjoyable. We got to see them feed the sea otters, the huge tuna and sunfish in the big tank that also has the sharks in it (though we didn't see them feed the sharks). We saw sea otters outside in the bay, too, as well as harbor seals. If you ever get the chance to go, I recommend it. But, please try to go mid-week in the morning, for glory's sake.

Let me say this: I enjoy children. Not even a "but" in that sentence. However, the "but" will come now. Somewhere between the double-wide strollers (often empty of children entirely) and the parents urging their children to worm their way around anyone standing in front of an exhibit, my patience entirely ran out for their parents. I know that I'm going to get flak for this, but I'm sorry. Our tickets (mine and Mr. Bump's) each cost more than your child's ticket. I am willing to wait patiently for my turn in front of an exhibit, to wait behind the person who is currently looking at the exhibit without trying to push them forward or squeeze in around them. To be fair, this happened with children and with adults, so I don't bias my remarks toward children. They aren't directed at children at all, but rather that special breed of parent that is completely unable to see beyond their needs and their children's needs.

I realize that by committing this to blog post I'm probably going to raise a lot of eyebrows and be deemed a cranky old coot. The lady who hasn't had children is now a kid-hater. But really, my problem is not the children. They are, after all, only as polite as their parents teach them to be. I would guess most of the problem is the jockeying to "get this done" before someone needs to go to the bathroom, take a nap, drink from his or her sippy cup, or have a meltdown. I get that. But just pace yourself. There is no need to see everything in the aquarium in two hours. Take an hour. Take them for a nap. Come back later. Take a break and sit outside. Just don't make the everyone else stressed because you're trying to get through an overstimulating experience before someone melts down.

I had the experience today of knowing that I was supposed to step back, move on, defer to a child when one was behind or (0h wait) in front of me. I knew what was expected of me, but I resented it. I know, I know--I'm rather childish myself. Maybe that's the problem. But it felt as if we ought not to have been there because we were in the children's way, and this was apparently an experience for children, so we should defer to whatever they want.

The difference between today's experience and yesterday's, however, couldn't be more marked. Yesterday had a tour of the Hearst Castle and there was a child of about 18 months old that came along with us and his mommy. He was fussy at times, and at some point tired (he slept) and some point hungry (he ate). But he didn't disrupt the experience by being with us. When he was fussy, his mom hung back from the group. When he recovered, she regrouped with us. I suspect at the Hearst Castle you'd get your knuckles wrapped if you were too out of control, however. (Oh yes. No eating, drinking, smoking. This is a direct quote--"Because of the problems it can cause, chewing gum is not permitted!")

Nevertheless. Part of teaching a child manners is teaching them about how to behave in public. And I didn't see a whole lot of that today. I saw more of it while watching the surfers in Santa Cruz, where kids and dogs and parents strolled along, watched a surfing competition, and generally were the mellowest of folks. Even after it started to rain.

Oh, and if you're ever in Santa Cruz, check out O'Mei. Chinese food somewhere between traditional Chinese food and "American" Chinese food. Very delicious. Great Turkish coffee ice cream with chocolate sauce and coconut ice cream with caramel sauce for dessert, too.

1 comment:

Miss Kim said...

I'm not turning agin' you, even with teeny little A here. I probably do too much drive-by parenting when we're at the zoo, like addressing kids who want to worm in front of me and mine at the panda exhibit with, "I'm sorry; you'll get your turn in a minute, but right now, you need to step back so we can see, please." Or I'll say, "No, please, go ahead, really. You obviously need to see this more than we do," to shame the parents into a quick walk out. But I've got the protective armor of my own babe in tow to protect me from the fierce pwecious-glare.