The Child

They are so lucky really. They can do whatever they want with little or no consequence. Their only “job” is to play, and their payment is toys, candy, and free time.

A child’s day normally starts with a natural awakening. As an adult we are woken with buzzing or beeping alarm clocks, which disrupts our internal clocks.

When the child wakes, he or she will express their immediate wishes. If these wishes are not met, the child may cry. As an adult this is frowned upon. When I express my immediate wishes to my husband: that he would carry me to the bathroom, he refuses. I don’t cry.

If breakfast is not to the child’s satisfaction, he or she may throw it to the floor. If my toast is not quite toasty enough, I silently stew about having to buy a new toaster.

After breakfast is free time for most children. They usually have several hours of uninterrupted play. They can build a blanket fort, play with Barbies, or watch a movie. Their day is generally not scheduled with board meetings or talking to assholes on the phone.

Mid-afternoon the children need a nap. Apparently, all their “hard work” has caught up to them. Meanwhile, I’m working on my fifth cup of coffee just to remember my co-worker’s first names, not to mention keeping alert as I drive home in rush hour traffic. No wonder there’s road rage: people just want to take a nap.

At dinner, the child can and will refuse to eat their vegetables. The parents will make accommodations for the child. They will allow children to play with their food. They will treat a broccoli stalk as an airplane and have the child’s mouth be the hangar. If the child requests the vegetables be removed from their plate altogether, most parents will make the adjustment. If the child requests a vegetable variation, one or more parents will jump at the opportunity to julienne a carrot.

When I, as an adult, refused to eat my vegetables my husband was less than accommodating. He would not make airplane noises, nor would he remove the less desirables from my plate. He wouldn’t even bring me a third white wine spritzer.

At bedtime, parents help their children with their pyjamas and brushing their teeth. They are coaxed into bed with the promise of a story, and tucked under the covers with a kiss on the head.

I put on my pyjamas all by myself (even when stumbling through the house in a drunken rage). My husband refuses to help me brush my teeth (even when I take them out of my mouth for him). He doesn’t even try to coax me into bed, with the promise of anything. He usually waits for me to pass out on the couch and then covers my legs with an afghan.

Oh, to be a child.

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