When I pictured my future children, they always looked like they belonged in a Hanna Andersson catalog — perfect hair, matching pajamas, not a speck of dirt on them. But the more kids I had, the more unruly they seemed to get, banding together with a wild look in their eyes. Sure, I tried to keep my “catalog children” dream alive, but at some point I realized it was hopeless.
My children had turned feral.
Here’s what to look for if you’re worried that your children might be feral:
1. A “Lord of the Flies” hair style. When you hold a feral child down long enough to brush their hair, you find things like string, play dough, food, oatmeal and sometimes other siblings trapped in it.
2. Spoons and forks are only used for drumming, never eating. Why even have hands if you’re not going to use them to grab a fistful of yogurt?
3. When you set up a humane trap in the living room to catch a feral child, the only thing you get is the neighbor’s cat. Sometimes a raccoon if you’re lucky.
4. All furniture is considered a mountainous region that needs to be conquered. This includes not only the furniture in your own house, but the furniture in doctor’s offices, nice furniture at furniture stores and the furniture at your friend’s house who doesn’t have children and swears once you leave that her future children will never be like your feral children. (Fortunately, they will and you will have the last laugh.)
5. The same climbing rule applies to all trees. If trees aren’t around to climb, the feral child will make the necessary adjustments.
6. Everything is thrown, never handed. Even things like hot tea. When you ask a feral child to bring you something, it’s always quickly followed up by – AND HAND IT TO ME!
7. When food falls on the ground, the feral child does not have a three second rule. It’s more like a two week rule, a two month rule or a, “What? But mom, I already ate it” rule.
8. Bathtubs and showers are used as good hiding spots for hide and seek and places to race matchbox cars and that’s it — never for bathing. Feral children also know bathtubs as the place where mommy goes to cry.
9. Fingernail dirt is a sign that you’re a feral child “elder”. Clipping the nails of feral children should always be approached with caution and possibly the use of a tranquilizer gun.
10. Feral children know the only purpose of anti-bacterial hand soap is to squirt as much of it in your hand as possible and then chase another feral child around with it.
11. Crawling under a bathroom stall is the obvious best choice for leaving a public bathroom. Duh.
12. Clothing is optional for feral children. How can you cover yourself with temporary tattoos if you’re wearing clothes? Plus, in general, underwear is for losers. Fancy occasions only require a cape and possibly a wand.
13. Feral child are good at running while eating because they are always prepared for the possibility that someone might try to grab them and clean them. A feral child can run while eating a bowl of cereal, climb while drinking a smoothie and eat handfuls of candy while sliding under a bed.
14. Overpopulation. Your feral child will undoubtedly attract other feral children and soon your yard will be crawling with packs of them. If you feed them, they will never leave.
The good news is that feral children can still be loving members of your household. They are easy-going and fun and their filthy, sticky hugs are just wonderful.
Plus, even better than catalog children, feral children are great at catching rats.
Enjoy your feral child!