It is common knowledge in our small group of friends that one of us has this aversion for children.
No, it is not that he hates children. He just could not stand them. We assume that this is because he can never be a progenitor nor could he be in any chance or circumstance to take care of toddlers. And he explains for his allergy for children inasmuch as he could not stand their parents as well.
For instance, for the love of the good Lord Almighty, I too do not understand why any sane and sensible parent would bring his or her child to a tiangge during the height of the Christmas rush. OK, add any mammon of commerce during that crazy season when everybody but anybody can be found in a mall, elbowing his or her way on the escalators or plowing through the corridors of goods being sold in a department store.
Why would you bring your kid (ranging from a few months to about eight years old) to be part of this frenzy --- this commercial pandemonium? Why would you push around a stroller or drag along your cute bundle of joy dragging him through the sea of nerved-up shoppers? Has it not occurred to these parents that they are actually exposing their children to a variety of elements, some of which are dangerous especially to the fragile constitution of their kids? Whatever.
Then there is always that announcement at the PA System about someone's child who was found in a state of near shock or even catatonia. Why? Because the kid finally realized that his parents are nowhere to be found --- and it is either he wandered too far away while Nanay was busy haggling with a tindera to cut down the price by another thirty percent or his parents have just had too much that they decided to leave him to fend for himself and may the lucky creature to pick him up wins the prize of instant adoption.
If it is not the security announcing a child found somehow somewhere ... then it is a hysterical parent, usually a mother doing her own interpretation of the most famous Rizal character Sisa weaving her way through throngs of excited shoppers shouting ,"Basilio! Crispin ..."
I remember somebody giving a rather loud and heartless comment, "Eh, gaga ka pala ... bakit mo dinala-dala dito yung anak mo ... kung hindi mo naman kayang bantayan?" Precisely why, somebody said. She had to bring the kid along kasi nga there is nobody to take care of the child at home. This further aggravated the argument, "Eh, di tanga pala siya. Bakit siya gagawa-gawa ng bata kung hindi naman pala niya kayang alagaan?"
There is no real valid conclusion to such arguments.
After all, children are such bundles of supreme joy. Read: they are gifts from God. O siya. Gift na kung gift. But having said that, then maybe special care and responsibility should be taken into account before accepting such gifts, right?
Or what about my friend's pet peeve?
We were in a restaurant with a group of adult friends quietly having our ramen when this family came in with their four kids. There were three older siblings from ages of about 11 to 6 years old ... and there was this baby with matching yaya in scrubs printed with flying teddy bears and lollipops.
All was going well without nearly sacramental engagement with bowls of ramen until the kids started acting like kids inside the restaurant. The eight year old daughter had --- uh, rollerblades --- which she was using to zig zag her way through the tables and aisles to make sure she covered every square inch of the restaurant. The other two younger kids decided to play a catch-me-if-you-can game which involved a lot of running, a lot more screaming and a lot of tables and chairs being knocked over and even a whole lot more customers getting so freaked out with all that noise.
Well, let us not forget the baby ... who was about a year or two in age who was being handled by his nanny but was having a schizophrenic meltdown at this point. The baby was literally screaming his lungs out --- that we somehow predicted he would go completely deaf/mute by the time the evening was over. The shrillness of the child's screams reverberated in the Japanese ramen house and could even be heard over the collective, "Do Itasimashite" chorused by the waiters and other staff members whenever a customer wanders into their territory.
Truth be told the presence of these kids was ...unnerving.
How could we possibly eat when there was Rollergirl going all over the restaurant and soon to be practicing pirouettes and cartwheels over people slurping their noodles? How could we possibly eat in peace while two really obnoxious kids are screaming and running all over the resto treating it as if it were their village playground? Then there was Scream Babe ... whose vocal chords were of superhuman strength even at a very early age.
And what were the parents doing while pandemonium broke loose because of the Neanderthal behavior of their cubs? They were quietly eating their ramen and behaving as if everything was normal. Well, maybe this was their normal ---- after all, these were their children. So we assumed that they live under these conditions 24/7. All this noise pollution, all the shoving and pushing ... they have become numb to that.
Even the mother, impeccably dressed and not-giving-a-s--t to whatever is happening around her had this look of bliss, either through self-inflicted numbness or the effects of Xanax. Maybe even Demerol. Whatever.
My friend was already seething, "If that girl dares to zoom in front of me in her roller blades, I am going to stick my foot out to make sure she crashes." We warned our friend that if he should get into any form of trouble because of any of the children that we would not (in any manner whatsoever) support him for his vigilante cause. But of course our friend was just joking although he still had the compulsion to inflict physical harm on anyone, anybody just so that we can enjoy our ramen.
"Blame those idiots," he said, pointing to the parents who were now even talking while the missus was texting. "They should have the decency to realize that there are other people in this restaurant who do not find any of their children cute."
"If they were quiet and well-behaved, would you find them cute?" one of our friends asked.
He looked at the kids and then the parents ... then finally said, "No, it's genetic. If their kids turned out to be such undisciplined little monsters, it is their fault. They have been allowed to behave without giving consideration to others."
Our entire table looked at the parents who were smugly maneuvering their ramen into their hungry mouths with chopsticks. Yup, they could not give a hoot about anybody else in the restaurant while they were enjoying their meal and their kids turned the Japanese restaurant into Samurailand.
In the meantime, the rather harassed yaya was calling the attention of the older kids, "Stef-fy, Lui-gi, Pau-lu ... ...yu kam hir olredi and eat your pud ..."
Of course she got no response from the little monsters. So Yaya went back to the baby who was still screaming his head off, vocalizing while busting his vocal chords. And the rest of the humans populating that sector of the planet were quietly cursing and wishing for the immediate implementation of any bill in congress encouraging birth control.
We decided to just finish our bowls of ramen and get the hell out.
I guess we will never understand the way parents think, feel and behave when they go to the real world and foist their children.
I guess we can never know how it is to have kids not unless you really are out there raising them ... with all their foibles and follies which you think are cute ...but deplorable in the eyes of those who do not share your gene pool.