Question: What do you call someone who sneaks into your room at night to watch you sleep, is obsessed with the sound of your breathing and curates a growing collection of your discarded body parts with all the enthusiasm of a true fetishist?
Answer: A psychopath.
The correct answer is: “A parent”.
Don’t believe me? Here is a bunch of stuff us parents do that would seem positively creepy if we did them with anyone other than our kids:
- We stand over our kids and watch them as they sleep
Remember that creepy scene from Paranormal Activity where the zombie-like figure of a woman stands watch over her sleeping partner? Parents INVENTED that shit. We creep into our children’s bedrooms at night just to watch them sleep. Why? Who the heck knows, but it’s probably because they’re at their most appealing when they are semi-catatonic with slumber. They can’t talk smack, they can’t whinge for snacks and they can’t stare daggers at you because you’ve just confiscated the iPad. All of this makes them very sweet. Us, on the other hand? Stalkerish and creepy af. Try doing that at your ex-boyfriend’s house without getting arrested.
- We like listening to them breathe
I am the least soppy and/or sentimental parent ever. I don’t cry at major milestones, I forget to take photos of important shit and I certainly don’t practise scrapbooking or anything that might reveal I care too deeply about my kids. Having said that, the sound of my children breathing is my favourite sound in the entire world. It’s better than a bartender calling “Free drinks”. It’s better than unicorns farting over rainbows. It’s even better than Pavement’s “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain”, which is my favourite album of all time and the most perfect thing ever committed to vinyl. I never thought I’d be the sort of sappy shitheel who says “your breathing is my favourite sound in the world”, but there it is. Drop that into the conversation on a first date and see how well you go. He’ll be out the door before the napkin hits your fanny.
- We collect their used body parts
One of the creepiest things that parents do is collect their kids’ unused body parts. From shrivelled-up umbilical cord stumps, to locks of infant hair and tiny baby teeth, parents have this creepy compulsion to hoard the biological material of their offspring. I’ve even heard of people collecting their kid’s nail clippings, which sends me spiralling straight to “Dry Retch” on the hard-working “Gross-O-Meter”. This sort of shit plays out in a very strange way, and is the kind of thing you’d normally only ever see on an episode of CSI: Serial Killer. It’s weird and gross and creepy and I have NO BLOODY IDEA why I am holding on to one of my 6 years old’s front teeth. But I can’t bring myself to throw it out.
- NUDIE CUDDLES!!!!
Pre-bath nudie cuddles are a long-held tradition around here, and it’s the sort of thing that would normally have you all arrested if it played out in public. You have a gaggle of kids gleefully running around the house with no clothes on, like a bunch of drunken frat boys who have just discovered their penises for the very first time. There’s lots of skipping and jumping and flopping of willies and slapping of bottoms going on. Time gets called before one of them falls face-first into the coffee table, everyone has big squishy bear hugs and then the kids get thrown into the drunk-tank bathtub to soak it off. Nudie cuddles are the bomb. Don’t try it at the work Christmas party.
- We handle their bodily fluids and excretions with aplomb
Hands up who has ever voluntarily caught a fellow commuter’s vomit? Nope. Didn’t think so. Wearing the shit, vomit, snot and piss of another human being is part of the deal when you become a parent, and it all somehow becomes cool bananas. There must be some sort of primordial wiring at the back of our mummy brains to explain this, because I’m running for the spew bucket every time some other bugger loses his guts down the front or the back of his pants. Oh and for the record, I DID become one of those mothers who uses handfuls of her own saliva to clean their kid’s face. Try explaining that one to HR when Kevin from accounts has left-over pizza sauce in the corner of his mouth.