New(ish) mum Samantha Dooey-Miles is charting her life in doodles. This week, she realises that one thing motherhood doesn’t change is whether you like kids in the first place.
At the airport the other day (I’ve warned you before about my jet-set lifestyle) my daughter was playing with one of those beaded contraptions. You know the kind: only found in places like airport lounges and doctors’ waiting rooms, they are a token effort to keep children entertained in places they have zero interest of being in.
My daughter was getting into the swing of moving the worn primary-coloured beads one way along the twisty wire and then the other. Bowled over by what a hoot my daughter appeared to be having, a boy a year or so older than her decided to join in.
Despite there being multiple threads of wooden beads to entertain him, he went for the one my daughter was playing with. He prised the lot out of her hand. Not realising I was going to utter anything until the words were out, I muttered to myself (don’t worry, he didn’t hear me), “Little shit”.
Immediately I corrected this thought. As parents it’s our duty to be sympathetic and understanding when we witness a moment of naughtiness in an unknown child. Who knows when it will be your child publicly misbehaving?
This little chap may have been experiencing an uncharacteristically bad day in an otherwise unblemished record of being a delight to everyone he encounters. I tried desperately not to dislike him but then he continued to want only the bits of the toy my daughter was touching and the thought came back: ‘Little shit’.
I don’t generally go around muttering obscenities under my breath about every small child I meet. That I was so irked was a surprise but it made me understand something about myself – I’m not terribly fond of children.
Or, to be more accurate, I’m not terribly fond of kids I don’t know. My daughter, she’s brilliant. Children I’m related to and my friends’ kids are all good eggs. Kids with whom I have no prior affiliation: untrustworthy creatures who I have no interest in fraternising with.
While this felt like a revelation as I helped the boy’s mother wrestle clammy beads from his grasp so Iona had something to play with, I realised later I’ve always been like this. It’s just I didn’t have to confront this face very often.
The only time it showed itself before I was a mum was when I found myself avoiding areas of the office, to bypass having the newborn baby of a colleague I’d spoken to next to the kettle approximately twice, thrust at me to admire.
Now, I’m staring down the barrel of many years of being around strange, new children because apparently it’s important for my daughter to have friends. Yay!
See Samantha’s previous doodles here.
Sam is a first-time mum doodling and blogging her way through teething, nappies and the constant struggle of never quite being sure whether she lives in Essex or London. Find her blog at anewessexgirl.com.