So easily amused

By Kirstin Buick
10 September 2013

I think I’ve figured out why Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt keep getting children. It’s because it doesn’t take a lot to make little kids think you’re super-funny and downright awesome most of the time. And when you’re Brad and Angie, you don’t even have to go through the whole messy biological business if you don’t want to – you just nip off to a country that has an abundance of kids in need of homes, pick out the cutest one with the best hair and features, and there you are!

Of course, the rest of us aren’t in the Brangie league and consider ourselves lucky if we get to have a kid or two during the course of our lives. Which we are. The problem is kids grow up and, unlike Brangelina, we can’t afford to keep injecting our families with small boys and girls and all the adoration they bestow on the adults in their lives. Gradually, as Brad and Angie are no doubt experiencing now that Maddox is a tweenie, your kids stop finding you funny and start fixating on your faults.

Picture the scene: Angie and Brad are dressed up for last year’s Oscars, Angie looking very movie-starrish in a slinky black dress. Twins Knox and Vivienne ooh and aah. Even Shiloh, die-hard tomboy that she is, is impressed. Ditto Zahara (although she comes with so much natural style she’s going to leave her mama eating her shorts in no time). Pax is too busy practising his tumble turns in the pool to take much notice (he’s a water baby, his parents say).

But Maddox is unimpressed. Does she really have to bare so much leg, he asks, as his mom poses by the front door, her right leg jutting dramatically from the fabric folds. And does she always have to wear something that shows off her tattoos?

It’s all speculation but you get the idea. Little kids are nice to their parents, bigger ones aren’t. Which is why, unless you’re Brad and Angie, you have to borrow other people’s under-fives when you run out of your own. If my two-year-old nephew had the vocabulary to do me justice, he’d tell you I’m the coolest, funniest person in his immediate circle because I:

a)    Bend down to straighten the kelims (always raises a big laugh)

b)    Swim underneath him as he bobs, armband clad, in the pool (much chortling)

c)    Do realistic neighing impressions (brings down the roof)

d)    Know his favourite Mickey Mouse DVD off by heart (much respect)

e)    Am prepared to grate cheese into tiny little wisps whenever he wishes (grave-faced gratitude).

All of which makes me feel really good about myself because my own bunch find me amusing and wonderful (or pretend to anyway) only when they:

a)    Want something, usually money

b)    Need to butter me up, usually before presentation of a school report or similar

c)    Suspect I’ve found their fake ID.

The rest of the time they just roll their eyes a lot and mutter “whatever”.

However, I’d like to tell Brad and Angie there are advantages to your kids growing up. This was brought solidly home when I saw the 2013 World Press Photo winners the other day. Among the collection of sport, war and wildlife pics is one of a family on a camping holiday.

The mom is sitting on the loo, yawning hugely, while at her feet a toddler rummages around in a bin. The caption is “Someone is up a little too early”. And you just know who the culprit is: the little horror in the nappy. Yes, the same person who makes you feel so warm and fuzzy is also the torturer who’s up at first bird call with nary a care if you’ve had one too many glasses of wine with dinner or watched TV till midnight.

Holidaying teenagers, on the other hand, will sleep until 11 and be monosyllabic until two. And there’s a lot to be said for that. In fact, I sometimes think I have the best of both worlds – a lie-in and someone who pops around for a good laugh at the curly kelims.

And Brangelina think they have it all.

- Nicola Whitfield

More from Nicola:

I’m so over exercise!

Stretched to the limit

Image: B2hambly on Flickr

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