Last week, I had the rare treat of going out for a delicious fry-up at a local café. My husband and I were WITHOUT kids, so I was more excited than usual at the prospect of devouring a massive HOT plate of fried, greasy meat and carbs, without having a 5 year old ruin it by announcing that he needs a poo the moment the food arrives at the table.
I asked for the standard ' Ultimate Champion Breakfast', with toast on the side and a cup of fine English tea. I was excited...I won't lie.
When the plate arrived, I saw bacon (nice!) eggs ( Yes!!) and massive sausage (always impressive!!) and Baked Beans ON the toast-NOT on the side as I specifically asked for (GAG!). I have a very sensitive gag reflex as it happens and bean-drenched, soggy bread really makes me want to chunder. It's unacceptable and I was disappointed. The meal was ruined. Ruined I tell you!!
I pondered how my absent 3 year old son would have reacted to the situation. If he had received this plate of food, he would have yelled 'YUCK!!!' at eardrum-shattering levels before pushing the plate out of the way aggressively, perhaps even onto the floor, and demanding a new piece of dry toast. An overboard reaction, yes, but I am certain that he would have received a positive outcome and a fresh piece of dried toast would have been served up to 'keep the peace'.
How, do you ask, did I react to the wet bread? Not as pictured above as it happens.
I said, in my finest Julie Andrews-esque tone: 'Thankyou so very much...it looks absolutely delicious!!'. I then waited for the waiter to leave, bitched to my husband about the soggy orange bread and then wrapped it in a napkin and hid it in my handbag, so as not to offend the chef when my plate was collected at the end of the meal. I then moaned about it ALL day and vowed that I would never go to that Café again.
Why did I do this? Because I am an adult. It's what we do. We have to be polite and restrained. We have to be considerate of other people's feelings. It's the way the world works.
Well, I've been polite for 16 years now and I'm exhausted!!
Why can't I react to the world in the same refreshingly- honest way that my kids do? Would it be so bad? As adults, wouldn't it be amazingly liberating to be honest, open and free with our actions and emotions??
I thought of typical child-like behaviour and imagined what the consequences would be if adults responded in the same way as kids.
WETTING THE BED
Child: If a child wets the bed, an adult usually gives them a hug, reassures them that 'It's ok, don't worry' and then removes the soiled linen and pyjamas and cleans it all up. The child returns to a fresh, clean bed and order is restored. Ahhhh. No harm, no foul.
Adult: If an adult pisses the bed, or worse even, their partner would definitely be appalled. They would accuse their partner of being a filthy drunkard or drag them down to the doctors to get tested for early onset dementia. A hug would be unlikely.
REALITY: If an adult wet the bed, they'd have to clean up their own mess and perhaps even cough up the cash for a new mattress, rubber sheets and some adult nappies. We'd definitely have to buy our partners expensive gifts to help restore the faith in the relationship and ensure that they didn't leave us. An expensive, messy business in truth.
Child: If a child falls over, they wail hysterically with Oscar- Worthy conviction - no matter where they are. Adults will flock to their aid. Plasters with cartoons on them will be distributed along with a giant bag of sweets to cheer them up. They will spend the rest of the day being kissed repeatedly and being smothered with sugary treats to distract them from their trauma.
Adult: If an adult lets rip into hysterical tears after falling in the street, members of the public would cross the road to escape what appears to be a total nutter. No ambulance would be called....just the Police. Along they would come with protective helmets and truncheons to escort the sorry soul off to the nearest hospital to be assessed by psychiatrists after getting a few stitches from a hostile nurse.
REALITY: When us adults fall, we have to get up immediately, limp home and sob into a cushion. We have to knock back a pint of wine to mask the pain whilst we mop up our own congealed blood. No one likes a cry baby. That's life.
EXPRESSING A DISLIKE OF OTHERS
Child: If a child finds another child vaguely annoying, they will often just go over and push them down to the ground. Just like that. Sometimes, they may even bite them. Consequences would be minimal: A telling off is likely and a possible 5 minutes on the 'Naughty Step' to reflect on their behaviour. In the worst case scenario, they'd be excluded from birthday parties at Cheeky Charlie's, but that would only be a blessing in disguise.
Adult: If an adult was to react in the same way to anyone whom they disliked , they would either end up with a black eye and a broken set of ribs from a reciprocated attack or they'd end up in court with multiple charges of GBH and aggravated assault. A community service order would result and they'd spend the next 6 months painting park benches in Brixton or scraping graffiti off the motorway bridges.
REALITY: If we don't like someone, we just have to smile to their faces and then slag them off to excess when their backs are turned....or plant a laxative in their coffee at a stretch. It's the 'Grown-up' thing to do.
FIDDLING WITH YOUR PRIVATE PARTS
Child: Kids, especially boys, quite often fiddle with their bits. They do it whenever they feel like it- at home or in public, it makes no difference. If they do this, their parents will politely and discreetly tell them to 'Stop'. Parents wouldn't make a big deal of it as they are conscious that they don't want to draw attention to their darling's embarrassing behaviour and make it worse.
Adult: Adults, especially men, quite often like to fiddle with their bits too ( Sorry boys, you know it's true). However, if a grown man suddenly started 'adjusting' themselves in public, all Hell would break loose! They would either get slapped with a handbag, punched in the face or they'd be arrested for being a grotesque pervert- even if the action was purely innocent and they were just the victims of unsupportive boxer shorts. Their names would be added to the 'Sexual Offenders' register, or in the worst case scenario, they'd end up in jail sharing a cell with 'Big Pete' and his wandering mitts.
REALITY: If adults want to have a cheeky scratch or a innocent spontaneous fondle of their private parts, then they must ALWAYS do it behind closed doors or they'll end up behind a door that remains closed forever. It's the way the world works.
GETTING YOUR OWN WAY
Child: Kids often want things that they aren't allowed to have. If they don't get their way, they will almost always throw themselves down on the floor and flap around hysterically like a paralytic, insane starfish. It more often than not happens in public, where the eyes of the multitudes are upon them. Parents react by trying to calm them down as quickly as possible so as not to disturb the general public and be judged about the effectiveness of their parenting skills. Usually, the child WILL get their own way, order will be restored and parents will leave the shop with their heads held high, having fooled the onlookers that they ARE in TOTAL control of their offspring. (You can control any kid with a bag of Tangfastics...that's a FACT-astic!)
Adults: Adults often want things that they can't have too. However, if they threw themselves to the ground in Aisle 10 of Tesco's screaming that they WANT a bottle of Bollinger that they can't afford, security would be called and they would be immediately escorted from the premises.
REALITY: Being arrested for 'Public disorder' would potentially happen and folks would end up with criminal records. We would then have to kiss goodbye to our chances of a holiday in Florida as the USA don't welcome criminals. Sorry kids, it's Butlins again this year- Mickey's castle is closed for refurbishment.
So to sum up, kids are mental. But they're cute- so they can get away with it.
Adults aren't so cute. So, to avoid divorce, prison sentences, black eyes, criminal records and nightly visits from 'Big Pete' in the showers at Wormwood scrubs, we're all going to have to continue as we do and keep being polite. Sorry folks, it's all we can do.
Furthermore, we are going to have to keep enforcing our wonderfully polite ways on our kids so that they eventually become as refined and elegant (and two-faced) as we are. It isn't an easy journey and a bottle of Bollinger sure would help us along the way. The great news is, Lidl does a bottle of Prosecco for £5.39...and it's damn delicious!! Get down there today and pick up a few bottles to help you through adulthood. Whilst you're down there, pick up a multi pack of Haribo and some cartooned plasters- you're gonna need them!