What's in their heads?

Kids, they are so hard to pin down. Four and five year olds are by far the hardest to read. Do you agree? I have a five, and half the time I'm confused or amused or just plain stumped by what comes out of his mouth. On the other hand, he's so sweet and loving. He hasn't decided yet that I'm the one 'out to get him', the one who is 'bound and determined to take away all his fun'. :( It's not true, but sometimes it seems like the older they get, the harder it is for them to see. *sigh* maudlin. Didn't mean for that to happen! :D

My point is, it's hard to write children, especially into adult fiction. I've read some GREAT books and some not so great books. Usually I try to avoid putting them in my manuscript. Yes, I have four kids. Yes, it should be easy for me! But, perhaps it's having them that makes me so wary. Do I really know what they are thinking? Maybe only MY kids would react a certain way? What if the reader doesn't relate to my children at all? Will they speak in a way that people can hear and jive with? Or will the secondary characters sound unnatural, stilted?

This is a big deal for me. If I pick up a book that sounds unnatural, fuhgetaboutit.
What about you? How do children rate with you? Will seeing one in a romance novel pull you in or throw you out of the story?

I like a touch of children. Like a recipe, it can't be overdone, nor can they be excluded completely. Children are integral, of course. To create a world without them...would be, well odd. Hmm. There's an idea...
Okay, gotta go!
With Love,