Spending Spring Break With Other People's Kids Goes From Cute to Gross in Seconds
- Old friends you don't see enough
- A free place in a warm climate to celebrate gluttony and the equipment to honor it (Weber grill, large, fully equipped kitchen, sundry meats and cheeses)
- A pool
- 1,000 icy cold beers
Unless, of course, you add children.
Hold on, now. Before you get all "kid hater!" lynch mob on me, know that I like kids. Even these particular kids, who spent some of our spring break together actively looking to undermine my buzz, were very cute and often sweet.
Me? I'm child-free. But when my friends who are married with children invited me to their spring break getaway, I wasn't about to say no.
And, you, know, kids really do say the darndest things! My buddy's 3-year-old boy, doggy-paddling over to me in his water wings, demanding, "Throw me up real high and I'll come down again in the water and there will be splashes," was a particularly adorable moment.
But, man. Kids. They totally don't get the point of spring break, do they? And other people's kids are the worst because you can't really say or do anything that might be misconstrued as rude, such as, "Hey, little guy, mind getting your exposed genitalia away from my cheese plate?"
You see, the nice lady whose house we were staying at, a friend of a friend, decided her son wasn't the bathing suit type. I know this shouldn't be a big deal because he is, after all, just a little kid, and it was her house, but I have to cop to feeling a bit uncomfortable.
When you're not related, let alone remotely associated, to the naked child, deciding whether to turn away from his genitals -- like you would at the unwanted testicle exposure of an octogenarian in a gym locker room -- versus pretending like it doesn't bother you in the slightest that his parts are inches from your bare knee, is terribly awkward.
I guess when the kid came into my sight-line, I could have just sort of looked through him, but, at the time, I was too consumed with wondering why he couldn't just wear a goddamn bathing suit.
Yes, yes, kids are cute, but when they're not your own you don't want their penises anywhere near your brie.
I'm used to dealing with children who share my DNA, as I have a metric ton of nieces, and, when they get up in my personal beer space when I'm in need of some down-time, I have no problem letting them in on this super cool thing happening somewhere else that's nowhere near me.
Look, I love my nieces and appreciate spending time with them, but when I just want to get through the sports section, they will learn of a hippo on roller blades doing figure eights in the playroom in the basement that they must go check out immediately.
My spring break away included the company of three good little boys -- a 1 year old and two 3 year olds. But, honestly, after witnessing them take turns vying for Academy Awards with wailing soliloquies on the injustice of the word "No," and then being torn from sleep at the unholy hour of 6 a.m. by what could only be the sudden arrival of the dance troupe Stomp in the living room, it doesn't take long to begin longing for the relative sanity and tranquility of the New York City subway system.
It wasn't so much that the behavior of the kids was even that bad. All toddlers toggle between adorable and North Korea's Kim Jung Il. It was my behavior that was being scrutinized.
The overriding sense I got was that there was something somehow wrong with my utter slothfulness when, all around me, parents were abuzz with responsibility. There were feedings and naps and missing shoes and suntan lotion applications and pooping and the almost laughable, unbelievable rate of peeing (I guess tiny bladders plus a seemingly unending cache of juice boxes equates to a urination frenzy). All of this action occurred within the periphery of my horizontal form.
Nothing was ever said, mind you, but the general feeling was that the moms did all the work with the kids (the one dad there, my friend, did some, but was pretty much in charge of providing sustenance). Therefore, the sight of me, King Jackass, still single at 32 and without any responsibilities outside of clothing, feeding and inebriating himself as he tanned on a lounge chair by the pool with his
Somehow, just the nature of being a single guy hanging around a married woman and her little kids causes you to feel guilty and childish yourself.
And, so, I sat by the pool careening between feeling relaxed, self-conscious and slightly grossed out.
Would I spend another spring break or even a long weekend with these parents and their kids? Perhaps. Once I recover, anyway. So, count me in ... next year.
Want to get the latest ParentDish news and advice? Sign up for our newsletter!
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.