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The kids aren’t all right
I’ll come right out and say it: Children repulse me. They frighten me. They make me anxious. Babies all look the same, and they are all ugly. Toddlers are praised for doing ordinary things like speaking and waving. Children have a comment and a question about everything. And adolescents—if YouTube sensation Rebecca Black has taught us anything—are totally self-absorbed and completely lacking in any sense of shame. Each stage of development brings with it new things to annoy me.
I don’t understand why children are instantly adorable and appealing. It’s not okay for a strange man to stand next to me and hold my hand. Adults don’t stare at me with fascination on public transportation. And I am certainly not impressed when a fully grown woman colors inside the lines. Why should these things be permitted, even praised, when done by children? I would love to return to the pre-Victorian days, when childhood didn’t exist—children were simply small adults, and they were expected to act like them.
Imagine my relief when it came time to go to college, where, presumably, I’d be surrounded by people my age or older: peers, grad students, faculty, security guards—anything but children. Disappointment did not take long to set in once I arrived on the Hilltop. The appeal of Healy Lawn on a sunny day, the lure of New South hill after a heavy snow, and carnivals on the front lawn mean children infiltrate my campus on a regular basis, disrupting my day-to-day existence and making me ever more certain that not every girl is born with a maternal instinct.
The greatest challenge for someone suffering from a fear of children is navigating the surrounding neighborhood. Georgetown is, unfortunately for me, a great place to raise children. Fathers play with their daughters on our green spaces, pink-faced children play in the snow in their Patagonia jackets, mothers buy their sons candy in Wisey’s. Nowhere is free from the echoes of their jovial screeching.
Saturday morning walks promise at least one encounter with families on a stroll, where the daughter might loudly ask her parents, “Why is that girl so tall?” and the little boy might make lightsaber noises, spit flying from his mouth as he does so. Halloween means these creatures are knocking on doors all night, prowling the neighborhood like candy-crazed zombies. And that bastion of bacchanalia, Georgetown Day, is always tainted by their presence. What a total buzzkill to share the bounce house with seven year olds.
The many schools in the Georgetown area provide another source for the raging tide of youth that flows through our campus. The greatest threat to my sanity is not one of the many high schools nearby; it’s elementary school Holy Trinity on 36th Street. Their 10 a.m. recess always wakes me up in the morning. Their gym class in Yates totally disrupts my workout routine. The way they hang around the neighborhood after school makes me afraid to go outside.
I could muse on how the source of my discomfort lies in how the promise of youth that shines in their carefree eyes makes me lament my own loss of innocence, but it’s probably more accurate to say that these kids just suck. They’re loud, they’re obnoxious, they have too much energy, and they’re still learning how to conjugate irregular verbs. I have no time for that in my life.
The absolute worst and most jarring disruptions of my child-free existence are the weekly invasions of Leo’s by middle school classes on field trips. Sitting upstairs when they begin to pour into the foyer is one of the most terrifying experiences you’re likely to have at Georgetown. It’s like watching a giant army come over the crest of a hill, about to bear down on you with weapons ready. You’re helpless; you just have to sit and watch, and maybe scramble for one last fruit tart on Good Dessert Thursday before they lay waste to Leo’s supply of pizza, sweets, and ice cream. Your only hope for mercy is that they’ll sit downstairs so you can slip away unharmed.
My hatred for children is not crippling. I can make it through life coexisting with these little people under a ceasefire. I assume that they, like many predators, can sense fear, and will therefore leave me in peace. But there are no guarantees in life—not even the success of birth control. Here’s to hoping no little accident ever “blesses” my life.