I’ve said this a few times in my tweets, but I’ll say it again for good measure. I don’t want kids. I’m an aunt, that’s enough. I can’t really see myself doing this gig full time—maybe like two hours on the weekend, but that’s about it. And it’s not that I don’t like children, I just value that return policy that comes with borrowing other people’s property.
So yeah, I have this niece who’s about 14 going on 25. I call her “Monk”, because when she was a baby she would climb all over the place like a little monkey and the nickname just stuck. I rarely use her real name (rhymes with Sailor) and all her friends give her crap over the baby-ness of it all. It’s all part of the perks of being a “bad auntie”: picking them up from school in a bathrobe and hair rollers just to embarrass them, recounting tales of that weird baby blanket fetish in front of potential crushes, or laughing as they receive that well-deserved spanking that had been five years overdue. The humiliation of those you love is its own reward.
Anyway, Monk’s at that weird age where you’re a teenager only by numeric count and you:
a) Have no job
b) Have no driver’s license
c) Have no respect for anyone’s free time and demand to be chauffeured everywhere at a moment’s notice.
d) Have no means to contribute to the gas expenses for desired excursion.
I don’t know if she’s practicing for the step team or what, but from what little I could translate, she’d somehow found herself in a love triangle. Typical, if not cliché, but I listen anyway in case there’s some good material I can use in my writing. Oh, and that caring, supportive adult thing. This is the most she’s spoken in three weeks to something that wasn’t an Apple product, so it had to be a big deal.
During this ten-minute clap-happy monologue, she presents enough drama to fill a 30-minute slot on a MTV reality show. The stars of this teen soap opera is a boy named I-can’t-spell-it-Quan, who Monk is “talking to” but isn’t serious enough to declare a boyfriend. Then comes the Jacob Black antagonist named Dante/ Devonte/ Cool Ranch Dorito—whatever, who already has a girlfriend, but is expressing amorous feelings toward Monk via text and tweet. After finding these impassioned messages, the girlfriend is voicing her outrage on the web and has challenged Monk to a duel. Now, Who-Named-This-Kid-Quan is willing to defend Monk’s honor under the condition that they date exclusively. All blackmail and threats aside, Monk’s main concern is that Di Vinci/ Divergent/ One Direction may not be sincere in his affections. Otherwise, why does he still have a girlfriend?
Confused? You’re not alone.
Monk says, “Yo, I’m so caught up.”
And I’m like, “Yo, when did you start dating? Where does homework come in on this? And when did your life become juicier than mine?”
This just goes to show that I would not make a good parent. I’m not only losing track of essential items like car keys and sunglasses, but I’m also losing track of time. I could’ve sworn that when we pulled out of the driveway I was strapping her into the rear car seat, and now as I glance sideways, I see a young woman wading through the rough waters of adolescent stupidity.
I secretly long for the days when she was cute, nibbled on her own toes, and earned her namesake. I don’t want her hurt, but there are some things that she’ll have to learn on her own. I could give her my take on the situation, which is all kinds of WTF, but I can tell that she just needed a non-judgmental sounding board. Nothing I say will stick anyway, at this point her head’s buried in that stupid iPhone again and she won’t come back up for air for days . . . or until she needs a ride home.