children aren't really people (almost, kind of, maybe, starting to understand my parents)

You bring it home from the hospital, this tiny thing, helpless as a kitten - more helpless, even. All it can do is suckle and cry. You fall in love, you fall into a stupor, your only goal is keeping it alive. It's so cute, so cute, so small, so funny, so soft, this precious little pet, this unbelievably fragile toy which you are supposed to keep dry and fed and safe.

The toy gets bigger, cuter; it smiles on cue, like some kind of trick it has learned to please you. It bats at objects you dangle in front of its face, it sits up, grabs things, learns to walk, and all this seems like more learned tricks, all the manifestations of autonomy are absolutely adorable. "Oh look, he's smacking Mommy! How cute!"

It gets bigger, louder, faster, learns to talk - how cute, it has a favorite toy, a favorite subject, dreams, desires, goals that it thinks are unrelated to being cute - oh, how cute, it thinks it's people!

It gets bigger, hairier, more demanding - of you, of life. It's cute how it thinks it understands what it wants. It's cute how it thinks it understands how to get it. It's cute how it thinks you don't understand.

It gets bigger, it fights back, it sneaks out in the night - or maybe it doesn't, maybe it hides snacks in its underwear drawer because this is the only transgression it can come up with - maybe it smokes on the sly, drinks, fucks, maybe just reads sex novels with the dust jacket off. It's getting away with nothing, but how cute that it tries.

It gets bigger, it runs off, it moves out, it refuses to call on a regular basis, it gives vague answers to "where are you" and "where have you been" and "why" and "who" and "what's is going on with you," it snarls, it's hardly even cute anymore, but look, it's been arrested, it's had a pregnancy scare, no one's asking it to dance, it's crying, it needs help, how sweet, how cute.

It gets bigger, slower, sadder, greyer, more like you, swears to be less like you, it bites when you pet it, it refuses to make eye contact, it doesn't understand, it doesn't understand you're only trying to keep it dry and fed and safe.

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