Here are nicknames I have for my kids when they're not within hearing distance: "monsters," "hobgoblins," "pervs," and "mommy's little creepers." Don't judge. Don't judge. I don't call them that to their faces, and I certainly don't mean them maliciously. However, I will stand by all of them (in a cheeky kind of way) because my kids, your kids, indeed all kids, can be super creepy. Thankfully, so much of the creepy things kids do mean that they love us. At least, that's what I'll tell myself, over and over and over again, to make it all seem less creepy because, well, I've lost enough sleep over my children. I refuse to lose anymore.
Seriously though, kids are just walking talking bundles of pure emotion and knee-jerk reactions. They have absolutely no concept of propriety and so, to adults who have spent decades training themselves to conform to a very particular social standard, their flagrant disregard can be (at times) upsetting, awkward, awkwardly hilarious, and, yes, creepy as hell. They're also navigating a world that is entirely new to them, so they literally don't know what to do or how to behave in the face of new emotions, challenges, or situations.
As a parent, you loom gargantuan in their lives and, often, they don't know what to do with all the emotions that reflect your presence and how important you are. As such, they wind up expressing themselves in very bizarre ways. Now, when I say these things are creepy, they're only part creepy. Usually they're pretty darn adorable, too, in their own way, so that almost immediately makes up for how creepy your children are, right?
Live With Their Hand Down Your Shirt
My children were both completely obsessed with my breasts. I'd say it's because I nursed them for so long, but I'm assured by formula feeding moms and moms who breastfed for a short period of time that this happens to them, too. My son kept his hand down my shirt until well past 2 and then, on special occasions (when he was sleepy, scared, anxious, or cuddling), until after 3. My daughter was weaned a few months ago and still grabs fistfuls of boob on the regular. Sometimes (and certainly to the casual observer) this is really, really creepy. But to kids, breasts aren't sexual. They're just a soft, cozy, warm, convenient part of mommy to snuggle up against. They don't know they're being total creepers.
Throw Demonic Tantrums Upon Separation
Daycare drop-offs or swift departures for the rare and elusive date night can send your little angel into a tailspin of fiery, otherworldly fury the likes of which non-parent mortals will never experience. Seeing the fearsome contortions and wails the human body is capable of (a tiny human body, no less) makes you think, "Oh, this is why all those Salem Puritans believed in demons and witches and stuff." But take heart: they're flipping their shit because they love you.
Plan To Marry You
I believe the first time I heard my brother tell my mom he wanted to marry her, my reaction was an actual gag. But, again, kids don't get the difference between romantic and familial love: it's all just love to them, and since they kind of understand marriage as the ultimate expression of love (albeit a type of love they haven't experienced yet) the fact that they love their parents so much leads them to believe that marrying them is a splendid idea. So, if your kid expresses his or her desire to take you as their wife, don't be alarmed: this will clear itself up before things get all creepy and Game of Thrones like.
Stare At You While You Sleep
It's happened to many of us. You're sleeping peacefully then, all of a sudden you groggily open one eye only to see a tiny, concentrated face gazing down on you. Maybe they're smiling, maybe they're deadpan but, no matter what, it comes across as creepy. You did not hear your child wake up or approach; they're like a beloved little stalker-ninja.
"Hey," you say, trying to sound not completely freaked out. "What's up? What are you doing?"
"I wanted to be by you."
"So. Um. Do you need anything?"
Silence. Creepy, creepy silence.
Bless their hearts, they don't know how unsettling they are.
Watch You Poop
Because they can't stand to be away from you for even three minutes. Let me share a story from my own life that happened not one week ago...
Daughter: Hi, mommy.
Me: Hey, can I have some privacy, please?
Daughter: Okay *sits in front of me; I sigh* You make poop?
Daughter: Yuck! Gross!
Me: THEN LEAVE ME ALONE WHEN I'M POOPING!
Daughter: Okay *does not move; stares and smiles* Mommy, I love you. I'm happy to see you.
Get Competitive With Your Partner For Time And Attention
Because sometimes kids have just read Freud and Jung and they want to see how the Oedipus/Elektra complex works in practice. Don't worry, a child's getting possessive of a parent has nothing to do with any creepy designs they have on them and much more to do with the fact that this phase (if it manifests at all) tends to happen around the time kids realize that the world does not revolve around them, but rather their world is based on a series of often complicated, interconnected relationships. So, for the first time they're thinking (most likely subconsciously) about how to assert and secure their place within the family rather than assume that they are the ruler of all they survey. They just want to make sure you love them as much as they love you.
Kinda Creepy Portraiture
The above pictures is me, according to my four year old. To be honest, it's pretty accurate, in a Fauvist sort of way. Still. The horrifying proportions? The complete lack of any facial features? This creature could chase me in a particularly upsetting nightmare. Still, I love it because my baby made it and he was so proud and brimming with wholesome, joyful love when he gave it to me.
Tell You They're Going To Stay With You Forever
In the beginning, this is absolutely adorable and you're like, "OMG YES! Never leave me my sweet little baby!" Then you realize that you're being creepy. Then you think about it and the idea of your child just kind of lurking around your house for the rest of forever (and more than that: wanting to) is sorta creepy. Like "Um, don't you want to, do things?" But fear not: kids grow up and they spread their wings. They leave the nest and you'll probably be sad for a while, but then you turn their room into a pottery studio/writing nook/library/whatever and the adult parent/child relationship of your dreams will emerge.
As evidenced by the fact that kids have no problem watching you sleep, or watching you poop, or grabbing your boobs, they obviously have no sense of boundaries or decorum. So, when your child plants a really sloppy kiss on you, full on the mouth, it's nothing to be concerned about, even if it's creepy AF. By all means set a boundary, because that line should absolutely be drawn, but don't be concerned if they forget from time to time: their desire to express their love of you is too pressing and all-consuming for them to be bothered with remembering to keep their mouths closed or and/or not lick you.
Leave Dead Birds Around The House
Oh. Wait. That's cats. Yeah, if a kid does that you should probably sit down for a very serious conversations. Ideally with a professional.