Fun Uncle Syndrome
I could dismiss this if it were an isolated case, but I've experienced this a number of times now in recent years, to varying degrees. Most recently, when I visited some of my buddy's family down in Raleigh, NC for Thanksgiving.
It seemed that minutes into my arrival at the house, I had my friend's niece and nephews crawling all over me as if I were a walking jungle gym. Kids just seem to be instinctively drawn to the suicidal hate machine. Can't they sense the deep psychological problems I'm harboring??
When I'm around other people's kids, I'm never trying to engage with them. I'll introduce myself and I'll try to keep an eye out for them to make sure they don't hurt themselves. I'll humor them if they attempt to interact with me. I had a fucking disastrous childhood, so I guess on some level I'm just trying to make sure that the kids are all right.
But sometimes these kids take to me as if I were their new toy.
During this Raleigh trip, the kids would often try to drag me away from the other adults so that they could have me all to themselves. This was disconcerting to me on several levels. First, obviously, I want to be hanging out with the adults. Second, I'm just some random guy that their uncle dragged in from New York City: I could be strangling these kids in the quiet of their own bedrooms. Don't these people watch DATELINE? Stranger Danger!!! Kids, don't trust random guys who are covered in tattoos, okay? They're not all as nice as me.
That's where I suck at dealing with kids in these situations. I'm not there to help raise them: I'm just a fleeting guest. I can be the fun uncle because I'm not responsible for making sure they eat their meals, or brush their teeth, or go to bed on time.