Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Children these days

I don't eat children for breakfast. Sometimes, I even get along with them.

Just last week, L and I were out at lunch and had a very nice conversation with an eight year old who was sitting at the next table with his mother. We already had our meal, and L had asked for the menu, trying to decide if he wanted a dessert. The young lad next to us was ordering his meal, and his mother let him decide on his appetiser, mains and dessert, and he was looking at the remains of our plates and working out if he had room for three courses -- maybe if he had a small appetiser and a manageable mains, there would be room for dessert. And then he started to work out what was manageable. L had a discussion with him on the merits of various desserts, and then the two of them made their respective choices. The boy had the gravitas of someone much older in his decision making (all kudos to his mother, who let him work things through on his own), though when his food arrived, he was squirming in his seat with anticipation like someone his age.

We said goodbye when we left, and L jokingly told the boy's mother to let him know if he was ever up for adoption.

"What's adoption?" the boy asked.

"It's when you live with someone else who's not your real mother and father, but they look after you and love you and they become your mother and father," she explained. "Maybe when you're a teenager," she raised her eyebrows at us.

"If I lived with you, you wouldn't be my father. You'd be my grandfather," said the boy, looking at L's white hair.

Touche. I've never seen L silenced by a child before

And then there are other children. The sort that run around and scream. Which was what happened today. When the tyke looked up at me in mid yell, I told him mildly: "You're a horrid little boy."

His reaction was one of astonishment. I don't think he's ever been told that before. I can't think why. But at least he fell silent.

"I don't know you. I don't have to like you. Especially when you're noisy."

His mother could hardly object, not after his public tantrum.

Maybe some children deserve to be eaten.

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