I don’t like infants or babies

As a group …..
I don’t especially like preschoolers. Middlers schoolers aren’t my favorite. I don’t like high schoolers at all. I’m not really drawn to many adults.
But, I dislike babies and infants most.

I’ve always felt sort of like Fannee Doolee* (defined below) when it comes to people.
It’s just been recently that I’ve put all this together in my mind.
As a group … or IN groups, I don’t like people ….
R.A.T.H.E.R  I care deeply ….  passionately …. intensely
about getting to know individuals …
one on one …. personally …. authentically …. intimately.

So, I don’t like middle schoolers but I adore many eighth graders.
I don’t care for high schoolers but treasure many ninth, tenth, eleventh or twelfth graders.
I find toddlers irritating but i LOVE many one and two year olds.
Do you see?
I don’t care for large groups of people …
but I adore the individuals who make up the groups.

In fact, this is the basic principle you often hear about Christianity:
It isn’t a religion, it’s a relationship.
It’s true.
I really dislike religion.
But, oh.how.I.love my Lord.

I think I like infants and babies the least of all age groups because
they have the least amount of control over how close people get to them.
Their only real defense mechanism to protect their personal space is to cry.
The way I see it, a baby isn’t a scrapbook to be passed around and gushed over.
And just because a baby is tiny and cute doesn’t mean we should
barge our way into their personal bubble to fawn and dote over them.
No wonder they have stranger anxiety before they turn one!!
So, unless I’m going to have a chance to build a close relationship with that baby
and be a part of his or her life weekly, I don’t like to pick them up and hold them … at all.

Being a Fannee Doollee,  I don’t like toddlers but I love to baby sit little ones … because I can get to know them.
I don’t like ‘tweens but I thoroughly enjoy teaching almost any topic to middle schoolers …. because I can be an influence.
I avoid high schoolers but I absolutely crave an edgy an conversation about the really tough, personal stuff with teens …. because I can make an impact.
I don’t like big, loud parties, but adore to find a quiet corner to sit and talk to a couple when at a social function …. because we can connect.I think this is why I ask so many questions. Questions probe. It’s pretty hard to answer a personal question without revealing something about yourself.  I especially love questions that probe opinions. They offer a glimpse into the mind of the speaker.
I’ve been thinking a good bit about this lately as we’ve been camping. Stone is an absolutely amazing single dad. He volunteers at his son’s school. He takes Jet camping, bike riding and hiking. They don’t sit around and watch tv or play video games. They go and do and see and live. He’s a hands-on guy in the midst of his son’s life.But, Stone is … let me phrase this carefully …. uhm… let me say, embarrassed easily over personal topics and is possibly slightly unschooled on topics that are of a certain personal nature. He had an older sister, but his she was much older. He is the baby of the family, with an older brother not far above him. I get the feeling that – like many families of the time – there was a lack of openness about personal topics … especially about the opposite sex. And so, he noticeably tiptoes around certain conversation. I laugh when I think of this. Because, I really don’t believe in (many) taboo topics.
I think there is a tactful way to talk about most anything.
And I’m all about breaking down barriers.

So, let me set the scene for you:

At one point on Sunday, we made a bathroom break before we headed off hiking in search of great rock finds. Having been the first one to visit the bathroom, I mentioned that it didn’t LOOK like a porta-potty, but it was in fact a permanent structure with a porta-potty style toilet. Joy immediately  claimed “Porta-potty-phobia” and climbed up a steep incline to privately relieve herself in the woods. Stone went on into the restroom as Jet let me know that I shouldn’t look as he, too, held phobias and would just pee right there at the foot of the hill. I assured him that I wouldn’t peek, but that most boys were built the same so I wouldn’t be shocked if I saw him by accident. He went on to announce, “I don’t have to pull my pants all the way down to pee,” since his pants had an elastic waist. I laughed and said, “That’s pretty cool,” as I went about using the mirror to add a fresh layer of lipstick. “Do girls have to pull their pants down to pee?” he inquired. “Yeah, they do,” I answered, “or they’ll get their legs all wet.”

I’m perfectly comfortable with this exchange. It is not inappropriate. The rule of thumb that I heard years ago was to only answer the questions asked. Don’t offer more detail or information than queried, but be open to answer whatever question asked. I’d certainly rather answer questions openly and honestly and have a child get solid, truth than ask a friend who might give them inaccurate information or more than they need. And I think it is especially important to answer the early questions in a comfortable manner so that the preteen and teenager feel comfortable to ask the more difficult questions when it’s time.  So, Jet continued.

By now, he’s turned around and has found a stick to swing in the air
and my lips are quenched with fresh lipstick when he asks,
“So, how do you do that?”
Well …. I hesitate very briefly and considered my next answer.
Then I squat slightly and say, “Kinda like this” ….
as Stone rounds the  corner leaving the restroom to hear Jet ask,
“Well …. don’t you get pee all over your pants?”

Stone immediately scolds Jet for talking to me about peeing, saying, “JET!! We don’t talk about that kind of thing!!”  The whole scene really made me laugh. I have to explain our conversation and I mention my rule of thumb and assure him that our conversation was not inappropriate. I can visibly see Stone relax.

Then we climb into the Rodeo and head off for a trail. And I give thanks.

God has given us, Joy and I, the opportunity to be a part of the life of these boys. We’re female, but we can hang. We are ladies, but we’re rough and tumble. While Joy is a girl, she brought a guitar, a Nerf gun and a Nerf ammunition vest camping. I brought a dozen roses with me to the mountains. They graced our picnic table all weekend. They were a birthday gift from James and I certainly didn’t want to appear unappreciative so … I threw them into the vehicle before we left home.

Jet found a snail that he carried around for a bit on Sunday. At one point, the snail pooped! I found that to be absolutely fascinating … so I took a photo. I had never seen a snail poop, have you?

So, we’re girls … we’re ladies
but we’re fun and don’t get easily grossed out like lots of females.

While I’m not particularly fond of elementary school kids as a group, I’m incredibly fond of this handsome, brown-eyed young man and his wonderful dad. I’m thankful for the opportunity to be a part of their lives for however long God allows us. I hope that my presence and that of my youngest daughter will be a positive one that adds a balance and affection to their lives that they will treasure
as much we are learning to treasure them.

……….

*”Fannee Doolee,” is a Zoom language game that centers around a character who likes any person, place, thing or concept with double letters in it but hates its non-double-lettered equivalent, e.g., “Fannee Doolee likes sweets but hates candy or “Fannee Doolee likes noodles but hates pasta.”

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