I haven't figured this out yet . . .
I was at gym class with C today, where the instructors were trying to herd children back to the activity they were doing as the kids were trying to escape, and for the first time, I noticed how much children are like animals. Or at least they’re treated that way. I’m not just talking about feeding and cleaning up after them, but our actual interactions with them.
I mean, think about it, we have to house train them, when they’re in groups they’re herded like sheep or cattle, and we attempt to communicate with them through a variation of commands and hand gestures.
I may not be the best person to make this comparison because I never really had a pet growing up, and I despise dogs, so I’ve only had a couple of cats in my lifetime. Still, I sometimes feel I’m treating my children like a dog or a cat. I sometimes have to coax them out of hiding places, I constantly find myself saying to my children, “come here, girl,” or, “good boy,” (sometimes accompanied by a pat on the head).
Someone must have noticed this and invented those child leashes I’ve seen other parents use. Even if I wanted to use one, my kids would figure out how to get out of them because they were smart enough to figure out how to open or get around our child safety gates, as well as virtually everything else we’ve tried to child-proof. I’m digressing a little.
The sad thing about this is that I think animals are far more obedient than children are. If you tell a dog to stay by you, he will. Sure he may need obedience school, but it doesn’t take years for a dog to learn how to listen.
I could offer G anything his little heart desires to stay by me while we’re out, and he’d only stick around long enough to retrieve his prize before running off with it. Pets are cleaner too. My friend’s dog is a cleaner eater than my children, and dogs don’t even have hands! This is why if you can’t take care of a pet, you really shouldn’t be having children.
But will someone tell me when I get to stop treating my children like they’re animals? My son certainly has the fine motor skills to eat a meal without getting it all over himself, it just doesn’t always happen. My daughter understands language enough to comprehend a command when it’s given to her, but sometimes she just gives me a sly smile instead of walking to me.
We are humans and while humans are in the Animal Kingdom, we’re not like other animals. Or, maybe we are and children have proven that. Either way, children have to be “raised,” which is just a euphemism for “trained.” I may add, “Child Trainer,” to my resume.