She Hated Children!

When I was a child, I didn’t really get on very well with my brother. I was three years older than him, we had no interests in common and his idea of fun was deliberately pissing me off. However, some occasions brought us together and when they did, we had a brilliant time. Some of the greatest of these “bonding” moments happened when we were visiting Roland and Shirley.

Roland and Shirley were a couple my parents had known since Youth Club. They lived far enough away for visiting them to be a family outing and it was an outing we made maybe twice a year. The thing was though, Shirley HATED children. Roland and Shirley had (according to my Mother) asked for “the bit about the procreation of children” to be left out of their wedding service… That’s how much Shirley despised kids. This made visiting them a cross between a surreal nightmare and the funniest thing in the entire world (to me and my brother).

In case you were wondering what Shirley did for a job – she was a teacher. This meant that by the weekends her bitterness towards children was topped up to the max. We normally visited at the weekend. Before we got there, my brother and I would be instructed that because Auntie Shirley was “a bitch about children” (my mother’s words) we would have to be really, really good. Not to please Shirley, oh no, to prove her wrong. Our task was to represent every child in the World and to show Auntie Shirley that children were wonderful and that she was STUPID.

We were up for that.

Being a well-behaved child is actually f*cking hilarious, if you adopt the right attitude to it. I wish I could go back in time and watch, as my brother and I sat in Roland and Shirley’s immaculate lounge; our hands folded in our laps, our faces frozen in expressions of gentle innocence. We imitated good children with such beautiful irony that we didn’t dare to look at each other, in case it set us off. Shirley would try to break us, often by handing around biscuits to all of the adults and then putting the lid back on the tin, without offering them to my brother or me. We never so much as frowned, we just smiled on weakly and meekly. We were like artists; it was performance art of the highest level.

Sometimes Shirley cracked a little and let us play with a small bag full of plastic toys, saved from cereal packets. This was Shirley’s only concession to visiting children. We played but we didn’t really play, we were “Good Children Playing” and we competed to make our tiny characters the most polite toys on Earth “Hello Mr. Elephant, how very nice to meet you!” – all the while smirking at the floor, or making the toys copulate, when Shirley wasn’t looking.

The best time I ever had at Roland and Shirley’s house, was when my brother and I found ourselves alone in the kitchen –  with Shirley’s cat’s litter tray.  Shirley’s cat was a spoilt Siamese, who was only allowed out if it was tied on a long string. But we liked the litter tray even better than we liked the cat, because in the corner of it Shirley had neatly folded a few squares of toilet paper…

One of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life was the sight of my little brother, whispering “Mioaw, miaow” and miming a cat, wiping its bottom with toilet paper.  Hilarious and of course, made funnier by the fact that I was trying NOT to laugh.

On the way home in the car, my family always had a debriefing session, after a visit to Roland and Shirley’s. My brother and I always came in for a lot of praise, followed by a quick stop at the Fish & Chip shop, to collect our reward for being good. But we didn’t do it for the chips – we did it for (what would now be known as) the lulz.

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15 responses to “She Hated Children!

  1. My dad’s side of the family had a more than usually large crop of mad aunts (my dad was the youngest of seven children and was the only boy in the brood). The maddest of the clutch was Joan, who insisted I refer to her as “my very favourite aunty” and got visibily upset if I didn’t include the “very”. Joan was one of that peculiar breed who had a pristine front room in which everything – including the sofa and the carpet – was wrapped in plastic. The plastic never came off, which occasionally made me wonder if it was actually their sex playroom and they used to hose the dried spooge of it every so often and then snigger whenever they had the vicar around for tea and biscuits.

    Joan was one of those women who obviously wanted a child so badly that the wailing of her ovaries was audible to dogs, but at the same time she had no functioning maternal instinct and really had no clue how to relate to children at all, aside from regarding them as adorable dirt bombs primed to go off at a moment’s notice. During my visits to her – something I always regarded with the same kind of dread reserved for trips to the dentist – I became a master of the vague smear, which involved “accidentaly” daubing an adult with something sticky in a way that meant they would leave gummy marks all over the place, which I would then helpfully point out. The fact that I was always pristine and clearly not the source of the mysterious grime used to drive Joan bonkers, especially when she would discover the culprit to be my father, her long-suffering husband or occasionally herself.

    Yes, I know I’m probably going to hell.

  2. Why was there toilet paper in the litter box? Never mind, I don’t want to know!

  3. I feel SO sorry for her students! I can hear them now, complaining to their parents, “Honest mom, Miss Shirley hates me!” And the kid would be telling the absolute truth but no parent would believe them. Imagine all the therapists she’s kept in business over the years, from her former students having to seek help.

    The kitty tissue is hilarious! Man, saying this woman was anal brings on a whole new level of meaning! LOL

    Great stories. :)

    • Oh, I KNOW! It is really hard, because I can remember teachers at school who didn’t like me but I still think my son is exaggerating when he says it.

      Shirley had a job marking exam papers once but she told my Mum they’d stopped using her, because she was too harsh! She was really indignant!

  4. Isn’t it funny how the people who are around kids the most also tend to hate them the most?

    If I see kids in kid environments (the park, skating rink, swimming pool) I usually talk to them and tease them a bit. However, if I had my way about it, the restaurant would be kid free. No one under 16 allowed. If you can drive you can come in, otherwise, sit in the car.

  5. haha! That is awesome.

  6. Kids are obnoxious, enough said. ;)

    Kitty tp is so odd. Did you ever see the cat using the litter box to check if it used the tp?

    • Sadly no. It used to get the string it was tied to wound round cabbages in the garden, I remember that. We found it trapped one day, hahaha! My childhood was rather like a bad acid trip, at times.

  7. My parents would have know better. I spent most of my childhood hating W.C. Fields because he said, “I don’t likes the company of womans and children.” I’d have probably been in Aunt Shirley’s face, “Why do you hate me? What did I ever do to you? You’re boring? Mommy says you’re a bitch about children.” But, I was raised in the 70s and we were much less polite in that era. As an adult, I understood this attitude a little better. Fields just wanted some gin and thirty minutes of shut-the-hell-up. And, like most men, he enjoyed the company of certain women even if he hated us little twerps. Aunt Shirley probably voted conservative and spent a lot of time on her knees – really, my kind of gal nowadays, but as a child, I’m sure I wouldn’t have played along. I didn’t have many friends growing up anyway, so being grounded was no big deal. This was the advantage of being an outcast, I could mouth off to the adults I didn’t like.

    • Haha! Rob, somehow I missed replying to this!

      I was always a really “good” child, so I didn’t dare to be rude to Shirley. Luckily my parents made visiting her into a game, so being well-behaved just seemed like a laugh. You sound like you were a little badass though. In a way I envy you but I would never have had the courage to be rude.

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