The other day I was playing with Spazzy, our min-pin. Her tail was going a mile a minute, and because it’s so skinny, you could hardly see it. My husband reminded my of something my dad said when he first met Spaz, which is that her tail looks like it was drawn on with a pencil. And it does, it’s like a thin little piece of spaghetti. Perhaps that’s why some people choose to dock min-pins, but I like Spazzy’s skinny tail, it makes her look scrappy. Anyway, all this got me to thinking about the first time in my life, at the age of 15, that I declared I would never have children.
You know how a lot of kids will say they want to be a mommy or a daddy when they grow up? I was never like that, and as life went on, the feeling didn’t change. I won’t deny, however, that the biological clock finally awoke in me a couple of years ago, allowing me to understand this physical pull women refer to with regards to wanting children. I totally get it now, you see a baby, and a mushy feeling envelopes you. But while the physicality of wanting motherhood is there, when I actually stop to think about what it would mean for me and my husband to have a child, the desire to have kids wanes.
Which brings me to the first time I publicly stated that I would never have kids.
When I was a teenager, I used to periodically babysit for the people that lived directly across the street from us. They had three children, all close in age, two girls and a boy. The kids were very cute, and aside from wanting to watch Barney the entire time I babysat, they were fine (although the youngest was still in a diaper and I was not at all crazy about that). Next door to them was another family. They had a daughter the same age as my sister, and a son a couple of years younger. So, at some point, they asked me to watch their son. He was seven, and a little wild, but I figured if I could watch three kids at once, one would be a piece of cake.
When I arrived his mom told me she’d be back in a couple of hours and breezed out the door. Enter The Kid. Since our sisters were friends, he was familiar with me – too familiar perhaps, because he moseyed out of his room wearing nothing but under-roos. My first reaction was to get him to put on some pants, but no dice, he was quite comfortable and had no intention of putting on more clothes. We weren’t going outside, so I decided to give up the battle I clearly wasn’t going to win, and that was when he offered to show me his pets. In his room was an aquarium with several mice. I am not a fan of rodents, but I oohed, aahed, and nodded my head appropriately. Sensing my lack of interest, he opened the top of the container, picked one up, and stuck it in his drawers.
Now, I have no brothers, nor do I have male cousins close to me in age. Perhaps rodents in underpants is a normal thing for little boys, but I was freaking horrified.
Yes indeedy, I was very upset. So of course he plucked another of his beady-eyed friends from the aquarium and opened up his drawers to add to his collection. The mice, by the way, crawled around, apparently seeking escape. The Kid was absolutely overjoyed by my mounting dismay, and yes, the text book thing to do would have been to ignore him, but I was fifteen so what did I know?
At that point he grabbed a third mouse from the container and thrust it at me. I hightailed it out of the room with him hot on my trail. Once in the living room, I tried, while keeping distance between myself and the creepy crawling things in his britches, to sound authoritative and command him to remove the mice from his person and return them to their home. To my relief, he took himself and all three critters back to his room, presumably to obey me. I know, I know, stupid Vesta, right?
As you probably guessed, he walked back into the living room holding the aquarium, set it on the floor in front of me, and then tipped it over, sending mice scurrying around the room. I spent the next two hours standing on a couch, crying, while that holy terror ran around like a maniac. When his mother waltzed back in at the appointed time, she laughed about the whole thing, which really put my knickers in a knot because I was upset about her hellion child and his rodent minions.
Upon returning home, I relayed the story to my parents over dinner, and told them that 1) my career as a babysitter was over, and 2) I would never have kids. All they did was laugh.
About a week later, his mother told my mom that, while putting his laundry away, she found a pair of scissors and an unidentifiable object underneath his socks and underwear. She picked it up, trying to determine what it was, and why he was so clearly trying to hide it. Remember the family with the three kids that lived next door? They had a Doberman puppy, and the previous week they had his ears clipped and tail docked, and The Kid was absolutely fascinated by it. That object next to the scissors was the tail of one of his mice. Apparently he decided they too needed to be docked. Actually, he tried to deny it, which is kind of hard to do when one of your pets has a bloody stump and no tail.
PS – The Kid did not, to my knowledge, grow up to be a psychotic killer. From what I understand he’s doing very well for himself. Of course, so was Patrick Bateman.