Kids (Really Do) Rule

17 Jun

I was one of a quarter million who braved the scorching Texas sun to go to the Mavericks parade. Crazy? Perhaps.

But the event drew fans like honey. Dallasites young and old swallowed car exhaust and sunrays in hopes of catching a glimpse of the NBA’s conquering heroes.   My mom, cousin and I arrived two and half hours early and nabbed front row seats to the action.

After gathering a morning’s worth of evidence, I would like to propose that “like a kid at a parade,” be added next to “like a kid in the candy store,” in the world’s book of analogies. Being trapped in a crowd of standing adults sounds like the makings of  childhood nightmare. Oh contrare. Their tiny sizes are all access passes to the best seats in the house.

I discovered this firsthand Thursday morning when I tried to protect my turf against a talented troop of brats. It began when my cousin had to make a trip to a nearby port-a-potty. As she left, four little black children eyed her spot hungrily and readied themselves for a take over. In horror, I lunged forward, spreading my arms wide beyond my body to absorb as much space as possible on the barricade until she returned. No luck. They simply edged around me. And when my cousin came back, the cornrowed kids didn’t budge. They remained. The mantra “Finders keepers, Losers suck” was ringing through their tiny little heads.

“Where are your parents?” my cousin asked the eldest.

She pointed out her father, a dreadie about 10 feet away leaning against a tree. So much for parental control.

Dealing with somebody else’s kids is always tricky. There’s nothing scarier than a ticked off parent. The easiest way to create one is for a stranger to chastise, ridicule or fuss out someone else’s brat.

Thus, the battle for space continued over the next couple of hours as the antsy kids weaved back and forth between the crowd, playing with this, toying with that. Along the way, the group managed to snag a water bottle and Gatorade from neighboring paradewatchers.

“Do you mind if I have a bottle of water?” the eldest inquired of another onlooker.

Apparently, daddy didn’t remember to bring the little ones drinks.

The lady begrudgingly agreed. As the happy child left, bottle in hand, the giver breathed a few choice words about the nerve of people sending  their children around begging from others.

Children. Society has taught us to protect them. Or perhaps it is simply human nature to look out for the “weak.” In either case, our protests to being forced to babysit and feed someone else’s child was overruled by our sense of obligation to the youngsters.

It makes sense. Who could deny anything from those pretty brown eyes? Batting them with innocence, the young ones rendered us adults absolutely powerless. And got whatever they wanted.
You try telling a kid at a parade, “Hey, you, move back there so I can see.” It’s not like you can’t look over their heads. And it just seems obnoxious.

Thus, by the time the parade started, the quartet was cozily sandwiched between each of us, happily waving signs, hanging on the barricades screaming.

This was by no means a unique occurrence. Oh no. It was happening in varying degree all over the place as countless kids eased their way through the crowd while their parents lagged behind.

And who can blame the little ones. It’s true: Closed mouths don’t get fed. 

As if on cue, the absentee dad magically appeared to collect his kids as soon as the Mavs’ furry blue and silver float had rounded the corner.  

Talk about strategic.

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