Last night, as I stood in a Chuck E. Cheese, wearing a fedora and clutching a Guitar Hero guitar and trying desperately to not look like a total idiot while activating star power on the Beastie Boys' "Sabotage", I began to think about families. Around me were families of all sizes, shapes, and variety. Kids were running around, doing the kinds of things that would get them thrown out of any establishment but a Chuck E. Cheese. And parents where there, some of them wrangling, some of them peacefully eating pizza, some of them melting your fucking face off on Guitar Hero.
Two women, however, stood out. One had obviously just come from work and was wearing a lovely pair of linen blend pants, just casual and summery enough to be seasonal, but not so much to preclude her from wearing them to the office. With it, she had a refined knit v-neck shirt with some shirring, flat black sandals and a long, thick necklace. Her hair was styled simply and her make-up looked effortless. The other lady was wearing a simple knit pull on skirt in a lovely blue, a black shirred t-shirt (not so unlike the other lady's white version) in a refined, substantial knit, and bronze gladiator style sandals. Her hair was pulled back in a clasp, and she wasn't wearing noticeable make-up. Both ladies were lovely, in a pulled together, appropriate way. One clearly had spent her day at work, while the other was probably a SAHM. Neither had the perfect body. But seeing them was enough to say, "Wow."
I will come right out and say that I wasn't stalking them because otherwise it might sound that way. If you've ever been to CEC, you know that you're stuck in there with everyone else and it is kind of like maybe being in a bank hold up together--you become comrades in a grand scheme to placate the terrorizing people (or, as they are better known, your children) around you. That said, I did notice that both women were there with 3 kids. And I smiled a little bit because I have three kids, and well, us 3-kidders are just the most awesome people ever, don't you think? I immediately started thinking of how that the three most stylish people in the CEC had three children and that couldn't be a coincidence? Right? RIGHT?!?
Anyway, I brought it up to Matt on the way home, and he was (probably rightfully) alarmed that I would consider such a thing or had really bothered to notice so much about these ladies (I AM NOT A STALKER!). But he quickly warmed to the idea, and soon, we were crafting a list of the ways to maximize your life's awesomeness by having the right number of kids. And yeah, you may disagree. But whatever. We all know I'm right.
1. You have to have a back-up kid (or two). Let's face it. You may be awesome, but it is totally possible that your kid may turn up being a fuckhead. We all know awesome people who have raised some real gems, amirite? Think about that kid on your freshman hall who ended up only wearing a bathrobe for the better part of his first semester and ended up in such a state that the counseling center had to come and debrief you all. That kid's parents were probably ok. No matter how good you do with being a parent, your kid could end up on the receiving end of some poor life decisions, and the next thing you know, he's living in your basement, eating tater tots and organizing rallies for Sarah Palin. Good thing you have a back-up kid (or two)! Your back-up kid can probably be goaded into doing extra special good to make up for his lackluster sibling. AND the back-up kid can even take on some of your job as a parent and try to help that sibling. While you sit back and watch Law and Order. Holla.
2. Movies have shown us that only children are creepy as all hell. I was an only child. Was I creepy? HELL YES I WAS. I had all these imaginary friends, the most prominent of which were weirdly named "William" and "Mary." I'm not kidding. William skiied a lot and Mary was a cheerleader. For what sport, I don't know. She just wore a cheerleading outfit around and carried pom poms. Did I mention they were bears? Cause they were. And this is not an isolated phenomenon. Damien from the Omen? Rosemary's baby? That creepy kid from The Shining? Norma EFFING Bates? All only children and all people that I don't want to meet in a dark alley. Plus, only children think they are special. We are not special. And when life beats us down to tell us that, it hurts. Excuse me while I blow my nose.
3. Multiple children can play together. When you have more than one kid, they can amuse each other. Case in point: last night, Matt and I took our brood to CEC. Alice is just old enough to where she can run amok and ride stuff and throw skee-balls at unsuspecting Little League teams. And sure it is fun enough to walk around with her, and put her on rides and hear her scream "NO!" and then relax and realize that it is fun and enjoy the heck out of it. All that's great. But then the pizza gets there, and you just want to sit down like a normal person and have a slice of pizza and talk about The Traveling Wilbury's. Older siblings to the rescue! Gabby (semi-relunctantly) "volunteered" to take Alice around while Mommy and Daddy finished eating. The best thing about this? These older children can be bought with basically nothing. Matt gave Gabby two extra tokens for her troubles (the equivalent of $.50) and SHE TOOK IT. HA HA HA. Before she goes out in the world, I'll teach her to not be a sucker, but not until I reap the benefits of this to the maximum.
4. A family of four gets squeezed into a booth. A family of five gets a long booth or the round table. Case closed.
5. Four or more kids, however, raises your likelihood to have a douche by a lot. The more kids you have, the more you're tempting fate. And the more your attention slides and the less you're going to notice. Sure, they could all turn out to be solid citizens. But the more you have, the more you skew those odds. You could end up with a kid who wears a lot of Ed Hardy, moves to Peru and names your grandkid something like "Cool Beans." They could just slip under the radar, and then one day, you're sitting at the dining table at Christmas and you realize the guy with the mashed potatoes is rocking looks like a paunchy Jonas brother. Man, that shit happened on your watch! Be vigilant and keep the kids down.
6. But lastly, the more kids you have, the better memorial service those kids can throw you. I have three kids, and I'm going to pay to send those kids to college. My main reason for this is so that when I die, I go out in a blaze of glory the likes of which you have never even dreamed of. I want to be cremated, and I want my children to take my ashes (which will be kept secure in a Folger's coffee can) on a cross country trip in my old Volkswagen. I want them to film this, and I want one of them to make it into a quality documentary film about my life. And I want them to get me to the Marin Headlands, right off of Highway 1, and there I want them to shoot my ashes out of an authentic colonial cannon and into the ocean while blasting ACDC's "Whole Lotta Rosie" from the car's stereo. See? I've gotta have three kids to finance that. I'm an only child, ya'll. You wanna know what I intend doing to my parents up on their death? Do the words "backyard BBQ spit" mean anything to you?