How To … Deal with Other People’s Children
There are few things more irritating than a person forcing their baby or toddler on you. Let’s face it – babies are boring and toddlers are obnoxious. Basically, unless you popped them out of your vagina (or helped create them, I guess), they are not in the least bit interesting and you used to know that before you had one. Obvious exceptions to this rule are crime-fighting babies, babies with magical powers or babies that are being bullied by household pets, because that’s just hilarious. It’s not ok for me to push your baby over, but it’s perfectly fine if the family dog does it, so I shall live vicariously through that lucky animal.
Proud parents aren’t likely to change their actions any time soon, so here are some survival techniques for the next time you encounter a baby-related ambush.
♥ Holding Babies
Guys can usually get out of this easily enough by looking terrified, but girls are expected to squeal with delight at the prospect of cradling a mewling infant. In reality, most people only accept out of politeness… and because parents will keep harassing them until they say yes or judge them silently for not being maternal. If this is the case, accept the offer to hold a baby and then drop it. Word will soon spread.
‘Oh look at little Jeffrey staring blankly into the camera with a sunflower hat on’ – eh, no ta! If you are accosted by a friend waving phone pictures of their offspring in your face, pull out pictures of your own cat/dog/herb garden and return the favour. If you don’t have anything significant in your life to take pictures of, comments like ‘Well hopefully they’ll be intelligent or at least particularly funny’ or ‘There’s always plastic surgery, I guess’ are also good.
♥ Babies at Weddings, Birthdays and other such occasions
Muzzles and rope. Nuff said. I’m sorry that you couldn’t find a babysitter, parents, but hey, guess what! It’s not YOUR day.
If your acquaintance starts to tell a story about their child, hold you hand up and say: ‘Does this story end with your child travelling back in time and performing Johnny Be Good at your debs? No? Well how about discovering a pirate ship filled with treasure and defeating a band of escaped convicts? No? Ah, I see.’ Then walk away.
♥ Toddlers performing
I have no objection to your signing your child up for extra-curriculars, but if I’ve gone to the effort of making up a half-decent excuse to avoid going to their performances, is it really fair for you to allow them to torture me with their new-found ‘talents’ when I happen to be in your company? No it is not! Do you care? Not in the least. A good option here is to compete with the child. If they start dancing or singing, you dance and sing harder, better, faster, stronger! Alternatives include pulling a ‘Simon Cowell’ and telling the child how inadequate he/she is – “It’s just not very good, is it?”
Readers who have been positively affected by Catherine’s How To are reminded to send gift baskets and handsome escorts. Readers who have been adversely affected are reminded that this How To is for entertainment purposes only and any shattering of your cold, splintered heart after reading is purely coincidental.