Thursday, December 15, 2005

Why I'll Never Have Children: Part 2

I was late to work this morning and ended up forgetting both my iPod and my book for the metro. I did the WaPo crossword on the way there, but it was difficult and like an unintellectual wimp, I gave up and left it at work instead of blindly staring at it all the way home. God, I wish I had brought it with me.

I transferred at L'Enfant onto the Green Line and sat behind a woman with a toddler in a stroller. The kid, first of all, looked like he was going to grow up to be the spitting image of Alfred Molina. Just as I sit down, little Alfred sticks his wet, chubby little hands into the cupholder on his stroller and pulls out...what seems to be...oh god, give me a minute.

Particles from a wet Cheerio. He takes his pinched fingers and sticks them in his mouth as he leans his head back, so as not to miss any morsel of this delicious snack. His lower lip is glistening with unswallowed saliva, which is dripping down his chin in an array of green and red. How festive.

His mother looks dully at him while he's doing all of this. But happens to look away just as he's reaching for the Gatorade Endurance Formula (Orange flavor) that she's holding. He responds to her lack of instant response with:


Holy mother of god. Please, the last thing this kid needs is more Endurance. He could blow an elephant across the universe. Mom hands it over and when he's done he throws it on the floor behind him. At this point, some Bleach Blonde Middle-Aged Woman starts to walk up towards them from behind me, apparently to disembark. But she sees this behavior and has a flashback from those painful years cleaning up kiddie pee while teaching the first grade. She gives the kid the Teacher Stare and shakes her head and wags her finger. The mother continues to look on dully. Blonde Teacher then walks over and picks up the Gatorade and gives Alfred some admonishment I couldn't overhear. She begins to hand the bottle back to Mom but Al reaches out to take it. Mom puts her hand back as if to let Al take the reigns on this one, but Blondie will have nothing of it. She moves the bottle out of Al's reach and insists that Mom take it.

The Gatorade issue is resolved and Blondie gets off the train. Mom thinks Alfred deserves some kind of reward for dealing with her without screaming his bloody head off, so she gives him a Skittle from an open package I didn't realize she was holding. Good. Endurance and Sugar. Is this kid about to run a marathon or something? But, now the red and green stripes down his chin make sense.

I recently had a conversation with someone about feeding babies hot dogs. I don't remember how it came up, but I do remember being vehemently against it. I don't have the data on-hand to back me up, but I'm pretty sure that children very easily choke on hot dog bits, even though they seem to be a favorite snack for parents to feed their kids. Anyway, the theory is that they "seem" soft, so the kids don't chew them very well and swallow them almost whole. Skittles strike me as being somewhat in this neighborhood. They're small and smooth, but even worse, when you chew them they don't break apart. They just keep getting mushier and mushier until you decide to just swallow them. So, I'm thinking, not a great kiddie treat, especially while riding on the metro.

Anyway, I guess it was just me, because the kid had obviously eaten most of the pack already. Then it starts to get gross. Grosser. Since he can't swallow the Skittle, it also means he can't swallow his spit. Which starts to build up. And turn green. And slide down his chin.....

Alfred gets tired of chewing and I'm sickly mesmorized as he keeps putting it on his lips as if to spit it out, but changes his mind and sucks it back in, along with the ten liters of saliva covering it. I start counting the square patterns on my purse in my lap, but the kid is directly in front of me, and I'm paralyzed with nauseating fascination. Alfred reaches back in for more soggy Cheerio particles. I think about vomiting into my purse. Alfred picks up the Gatorade bottle and throws it on the guy standing against the wall, who looks down and immediately looks back up. Mom slowly reaches down puts it right back in his reach. Al throws it again. Mom apathetically picks it up. Al starts to throw it, but this time Mom finds some reserve of energy and makes a pre-emptive strike to block his path.


The masticated Skittle comes flying out of his mouth onto his eating tray, in all its chewed-up glory. The train pulls up at U Street and I leap to my feet and stand as close to the door as I can, trying to wipe images of saliva covered, sticky, hyper, wide-set-eyed children from my head. The train is stalled, the doors won't open. I use my Jedi powers to force them apart. It's not working.


The train doors open and I mentally make plans to get my ovaries removed.


At 11:53 AM, December 16, 2005, Blogger G. said...

You actually made me nauseous. Thank you.

At 12:08 PM, December 16, 2005, Blogger Heather said...

My pleasure.

At 9:58 AM, December 17, 2005, Anonymous Davis Arthur said...

the point of that story? you will develop your writing more if you take the leap and expose yourself, so to speak. you present yourself as an intellectual, yet you never broach serious topics or venture into the realm of self-discovery. some introspection would do your writing some good.

At 11:57 PM, December 17, 2005, Blogger Heather said...

Man, what's with all the criticism lately? Yo Dave: 1) The "point" was in the title you must have missed. 2) This is a blog, meaning I write about my daily observations; it's not a memoir or a philosophical treatise. If you're looking for something deep, go somewhere else. 3) I don't "present" myself as anything other than what's written in that little box at the right.

At 11:42 AM, December 18, 2005, Blogger Chai said...

Heather- that was such an amusing post. still laughing.

Dave Arthur: I don't even want to respond to you bagging on Heather because that will give your comment some credence, when we all know that what you said is not even slightly true. I don't need to tell you all the intellectual topics Heather and I have discussed, but our last convo addressed everything from the theory behind self and egotism, to Freud, to post modern art, to food, and of course, grammar. So, step off. If you want to test your theory, come see us at Busboys and Poets on Tuesday and we shall see who will lay the smack down on whom. All for intellectual curiousity, of course!

At 2:26 PM, December 18, 2005, Blogger Roonie said...

Ah, you share my aversion to children. And I could literally picture this in my mind. Brilliant.

I love that my Internet friends are such astute writers. I could sit and read blogs all damn day...

At 2:28 PM, December 18, 2005, Blogger Roonie said...

Dave Arthur jigga WHO? I think someone's just curious about your personal life, Heath to the E-R. And that, I said, that-that ain't anyone's business but those who you want to share it with. Yo. I like your blog. Duh. I read it all the time.

At 4:48 PM, December 18, 2005, Anonymous Ellen said...

Whoa! Heather, it looks like you pissed off someone somewhere.

I was the same way about kids in the middle 20s, then I grew up and got married and had two of my own and suddenly skittle drool seems cute. Looking back, I think I was just scared that I wouldn't find a man to start a family with or that'd I'd be a bad mom.

Is that good enough introspection for you Davie boy?

At 4:53 PM, December 19, 2005, Blogger Roonie said...

Looking back, I think I was just scared that I wouldn't find a man to start a family with or that'd I'd be a bad mom.

Erm. Those aren't my concerns. My concerns include wondering if I'll ever have the patience for squealing brats that take up so much ME time. And if I'll ever want to sacrifice myself for someone else who will just grow up to hate me. I'm sure I'll be a kickass mom. I'm just an awesome person. And I'll find a man, sooner or later. Sooner if I want to compromise my needs in a partner. Later if I stick to my guns.


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