Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I may not be a “people person”. But I am most definitely a kid person.

So it’s no coincidence that some of my best relationships are with folks under the age of ten. Sad, I know. But I honestly enjoy the time I spend hanging out with my niece, nephew and all my cousins’ kids; preferring their company over many adults. Because they know how to have fun! And they’re so enthusiastic. About. EVERYTHING. The world is a joyous place again when I’m around them. And life becomes a lot simpler.

  --What do you like to do?
--I don’t know…burn stuff.
Plus, I love that you know where you stand with kids. There’s ZERO BULLSHIT.

When I make a less-than-winning suggestion. They don’t mince words. Or hide their feelings behind a mask of fake politeness. They look me right in the eye and say: “No. I don’t want to do that. It’s dumb”. End of discussion.

Or if I’m walking around feeling all cute in my fave grungy jeans. These tykes immediately set me straight, noting areas for improvement with helpful comments like:

….What happened to your hair?

….Why are your teeth, yellow? Hey, come look. Her teeth. They’re YELLOW!

….You talk too much. I don’t want you to talk anymore today.

….You wear those jeans EVERYTIME YOU COME HERE. It’s annoying!

Forget all those well-meaning poseurs on facebook. THESE are friends! Seriously.

I don’t want friends.
Of course, they’re also family. So they can do virtually no wrong in my book. Even when they’re misbehaving, I find them cute and funny and endlessly entertaining. But I don’t always find other people’s kids quite as amusing. In fact....


I’m not talking about the bratty ones either. I have a special affinity for this often misunderstood lot, probably because I myself was labeled “bratty” growing up. Bratty kids aren’t necessarily, BAD. They’re strong-willed, independent and curious by nature. They like to discover things on their own. And never let a stupid word like “no” stop them. They are a good-natured, adventurous brood; risk takers whose only real crime is they can’t seem to contain all their energy and excitement.

That was me! Every one of my middle school report cards included the comment, “needs to practice self-control”, scribbled with the teacher's all-too-familiar red felt tip pen. I didn’t even know what that meant! Aside from losing tv priveleges. Forever.

In any case, I have no problem with bratty kids. Bratty kids rule! What I DON’T like is a selfish, spoiled and over indulged child. A mean-spirited terror, who demands their parents give them WHATEVER THEY WANT, NO MATTER HOW RIDICULOUS OR UNREASONABLE THE REQUEST. You know the type: loud, disrespectful, begins every sentence with “I want" and tops it off with a deeply unsettling, ear-piercing scream. They are the “bad nuts” of the bunch. And they are simply not cute. 

What a beastly girl.

But I think my least favorite kids, the ones that really get under my skin are the precocious types who behave like adults. They. Are. The. Worst. 

Most child actors fall under this group. I've interviewed them frequently on Disney red carpets. And have also encountered my fair share among the home schooling set that for some odd reason love to frequent coffee shops. I just want to scream out to them--

You’re a freakin’  kid! GO PLAY.  

You should be snickering at fart noises in the corner. Or jumping around in a bouncy castle. Because bouncy things are A-W-E-S-O-M-E. You should NOT be talking about the economy. Or tectonic plate movements. Or young Hollywood! It's disturbing. And wrong. Just... STOP IT.

Think I'm exaggerating? Fine. Check out this interview clip of Cecilia Cassini, a sassssy ten-year-old fashion designer who clearly keeps up with the Kardashians. If you can make it to the end without wanting to punch your ovaries. Or her parents

You’re a better person than me. I can't. And I like kids.

P.S. On a somewhat related note, when I was a kid, I watched A LOT OF TV. And I think if I ever met any of my childhood tv idols, like Mr. Rogers or the Magic Garden women (LUUUUV them!). I'd probably have this same reaction.  My cousin's four-year-old acted this way when she ran into one of the Fresh Beat Band "kids" recently at a kiddie party (it was the the black guy; he was friends with one of the parents). She was absolutely traumatized. It was priceless! 

Don't be in such a rush to grow up, Ms. Cecilia. Childhood has its moments.   

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