Tough Crowd

I don’t hate kids.

I talk a big game about how I don’t personally want to procreate, and how annoying kids are. I consistently rant about how people who are pregnant or parents of relatively young children post WAY too much on facebook about their fetuses/kids. As thrilled as I am about your ovaries getting a coat of whitewash, there’s nothing I care less about than how extended your stomach is, or your ultrasound, or how your kid said something stupid that you think is adorable. Why people think kids saying unintelligent things is cute or funny I will never know.

Despite my gripes I do appreciate a few things about infants:.

  1. They are essentially a squirming little ball of clay that eats, sleeps and poops that has the potential to develop any personality trait available.[1]
  2. They lack any sort of shame or self-doubt.
  3. They appreciate physical humor more than anyone else.

Numbers 2 and 3 define the vast majority of my interactions with them.

I went to the grocery store with my usual “let’s get this shit done” attitude recently. I walked through the aisles and grabbed the items[2] I wanted and was in line before some people even decide if they want to go to the store or not. I get into one of the long lines and as I’m having an inner debate on whether I should buy a Twix or not[3] I happened to notice a baby in the cart ahead of me staring right at me. I don’t like getting stared at. It makes me uncomfortable, and when I get uncomfortable I break the tension my body is feeling by saying or doing stupid things in an attempt at humor. So as I am wont to do in situations like this, I start making faces and doing other silly things.

My mini set started great.

I used my cereal box to block my face and then slowly brought it down so my eyes showed and shifted them from left to right quickly.[4] I then brought the box down to my exposed upper teeth and acted like I was trying to chew open the top of the box. Abandoning the prop I went to the always classic move of crossing my eyes and blowing out my cheeks.

At this moment, I was relatively sure the mom was more concerned with putting her groceries on the belt and talking on her cell phone to notice what I was doing. Unconsciously, I took my act to the next level.

I faked like I fell asleep on my feet only to wake up a second later with a confused look and making a slight “huh!” noise. I did my shoulder shimmy/limp arms dance and he got really excited for that one, giggling and doing the move that babies do where they pump their legs up and down. Feeling good about my abilities to entertain a being without a fully developed brain I stop my shenanigans and put all my items on the conveyor belt. Turning back around I notice the baby is still staring at me and the smile is gone. I felt awkward again so I grabbed a Twix and said to him in the voice I reserve for babies and dogs, “This is going to make me a fatty.” He was not amused. I turned to make a joke about how fickle audiences can be to the person behind me but she was on the phone too.[5]

As his mother paid there was a tension between the baby and I. Instead of being thankful for the entertainment I provided him he seemed perturbed that I hadn’t kept him laughing the whole time. I know he’s leaving soon so I make a last ditch effort to make him at least smile one last time by doing my ‘frog face.’[6]

Two facts I immediately found out about babies upon doing the frog face:

  1. They make a very certain face right before they start to cry
  2. There is no subtlety to a baby crying

Now I’m the one who is staring, eyes goggled and mouth agape, as this human tornado siren informs me how much he does not approve. The mother is obviously annoyed and when she hears me chuckle at the absurdity of the baby’s response she shoots me one of the dirtiest looks I’ve ever received, and quickly pushes her cart and still crying baby out to the parking lot.

I’m sure she made a really interesting facebook status update about it when she got home.

[1] I’m pretty heavily nurture in the nature vs. nurture debate (at least for personality traits). I do think chemical aspects of the brain plays a part, but most of the time the persons social situations develop them as people.

[2] cereal, milk, bread, cheese, Hawaiian sweet rolls, cup of pineapples and strawberries

[3] I shouldn’t but I did

[4] Had this been an adult I would have had some worry that they weren’t laughing at the physical humor so much as they were laughing at the fact that a 26 year old eats Fiber One cereal because he already needs to eat particular things to ensure healthy BMs. Babies don’t understand those kind of layers.

[5] It’s worth noting that if I was more popular and talked on the phone with my friends more than twice a month I wouldn’t be in positions like this

[6] Doesn’t really look like a frog. I close my eyes half way, have an over-exaggerated frown, stick my tongue half out and wag it from side to side.



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