An inside job

If I’ve learned anything since becoming a parent, it’s this: children are thieves.

That’s right. Before they’re even born, they overtake your thoughts (and in many cases, your body). Then they start bleeding your bank account, one crib sheet and carseat at a time. After they arrive, if not before, they push their agenda to the point that your schedule is essentially stolen. Around the same time, they lay prey to your space: a play yard pitches a pup tent in the same room as a bassinet and a bouncy seat; the dish drainer becomes a holding ground for bottles; bags of dated breast milk fill the freezer; pacifiers occupy your pockets; board books populate the bookshelves that used to contain a collection of Vonnegut. The inside of your purse is next, lip gloss and breath mints replaced by paraphernalia like extra onesies and diapers and travel-size packets of baby wipes. If they haven’t already, they then begin to pilfer your patience, snatching it away bit by bit until none remains, like a roll of toilet paper unspooling one solitary square at a time until it’s all been flushed away and all that’s left is the cardboard tube. And then they reach for more.

Believe me, children are truly insidious creatures. They lay waste to your energy, shamelessly siphoning it off like on that episode of “Breaking Bad” when Walt and Jesse hold up a freight train and drain all the methylamine out of the tank it’s carrying. And they continue to filch your finances, not just when they’re young but for all the days of their lives (unless they become wildly successful and buy a house for their mom à la Dwayne Johnson. That must be why he’s called “The Rock”). They purloin your pantry, usurp your sleep, burglarize your business, and hijack your priorities, putting themselves right up there at the top of the list. They even take your parents, turning them into an alien life form known as “grandparents”. As if all of this weren’t enough, they waylay your “kid-free” time; for example, you’ll find yourself having coffee with a friend, and what do you discuss? Your children, of course.

The other night, after ours went to sleep after a challenging evening, Brian and I were talking about the magnitude of work it had been to get to that point of the day. He asked if I’d been able to write at all that morning, and I told him I had, a little, and then I gave him a summary of this very post, the one I was hoping to type the following day. He said, “But if you’re giving them all of that, is it really stealing?” And I said, “That’s the whole point. It’s satire.” Still, I stand by my original statement because we’re giving all of this to them because those damn kids stole our hearts.

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