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Tuesday, February 21, 2006

What can I say? Kids love me

I think kids can tell I'm never really sure what to do with them. They gravitate towards me like they're planning on tormenting me. I think they just love to throw me off. They draw me pictures, make me valentines, tear down the hallway to hurl themselves around my waist. There's one five-year-old who says, "I'm your boyfriend!" every time I see him, and comes to inspect my office to see where I've put his artwork.

Or maybe they can tell I'm not exactly a grownup, and I'll play around with them more than the other women around.

This all makes me subject to a lot of teasing around the office, because everyone believes I hate children just because I tell them I have no plans to push out a few of my own. (Whether or not that is actually true doesn't matter to me when it comes to my nosy co-workers. For the sake of their teasing, I'm not having kids.)

I never really know how to talk to them, so I use a combination of wide-eyed enthusiasm and adult language. As much as the baby-talkers annoy me, so do those who insist prissily that they talk to children just like they do adults.

But the real reason I try to avoid kids is because they're too hard to leave. I'm ok with giving up my women. I know it will happen; as much as I like a lot of them, it's easy to let them pass through my life. If the kids burrow into my heart, it hurts too much. I just sent a client on her way with two adorable children. Her 18-month-old learned to stand by my knee and wait for me to pick her up, tossing her in the air before she landed on my hip. She'd pierce my eardrums with her squeals, and bounce in my arms until I did it again. The 8-month-old would stare off sleepily into the distance until I came into focus, and he'd break into a drool-filled grin. I got him to laugh by dipping him and playing airplane.

I put them on a bus and sent them on their way, and the 18-month-old started to cry. So did I, as soon as I ran off the bus and got into my car, and sobbed. Sobbed. For ten minutes straight. I don't think I've ever cried over a client before. Ok, that's not true. But I've never cried about losing one before. These kids, man. They got under my skin. I miss them too much.

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