A few weeks ago Jon, Jude and I were at Target perusing the toy aisles when suddenly things went from Regular Shopping Trip to Defcon 1: Toddler Madness and the screaming started. I can usually defuse his anger before it escalates to that level but that day for whatever reason he just wasn't having it. None of my preferred distraction techniques had any effect, and even the serious-whisper-talking didn't stop him from screaming at the top of his lungs, rearing back his arm, and clocking me cold in the face with a snowy avalanche of hatred. Jude's usually an easy-going type of dude so this was probably the worst public tantrum we've ever had, shew lordy may they continue to be few and far between.
Seeing that we weren't getting too far with
reason and logic Jon wasted no time picking him up and carrying him,
kicking and screaming, directly out of the store, performing the
ultimate parent walk-of-shame as Jude yelled things like, "Daaaaaadddd! I
hate you!" and, "Don't touch me!" while onlookers shook their heads and
clucked their ugly flapping chicken mouths. Jon got out to the car and
Jude promptly... fell asleep.
Behavioral mystery busted, crack work you
I stayed behind to finish grabbing a few things
and run through the checkout line, so I had the privilege of watching
the trail of angry looks and eyerolls that followed Jon and his yowling suitcase through the store first-hand. A few thoughts:
We quickly removed our child from the store to keep him from bothering
the general public, not as some kind of twisted plot to bother them
more. I'm not sure what else judging chicken mouth people are expecting
when it's obvious that parent and monster are already making a hasty
retreat directly towards the exit so shopping can resume in peace. Shut it
down. Z snaps.
2. Children aren't programmable robots or
domesticated animals, and even our most beloved domesticated animals
sometimes look us right in the eye and barf half-digested trash all over
the rug. Kids do the thing you least expect, for no reason or because
the wind blew their hair wrong or because their shoes are too green.
Don't misunderstand me, I'm not excusing bad behavior, but kids also
aren't tiny adults. They aren't always going to act like tiny adults.
Hell there are adults who go out in public and don't act like adults.
Why don't you cry about it, whiners? Wahhh.
3. This is a teaching
moment. If you would like this to not happen (again, and again, and
again) in the future please understand that I am trying to teach the
rabid pack of wolves inside my child's brain that this is not acceptable
behavior. Your grouchy world will be a better place later because this
happened. Corrective measures are actively being taken, please stand by.
You giving us the double-trouble stare down serves no purpose other
than making you look like a little puffy cherry hemorrhoid poking
out of a dog's butt. FYI.
I can't say I've never been among the
clucking chicken-mouth glaring crowd, because I have been that person. Boy have I ever been that person. I
wholeheartedly agree that crying children are annoying. As a result I do everything in my power as a parent to prevent the torture of all nearby eardrums, but sometimes shit happens.
As long as parents are making a good-faith
effort to correct the situation and not murmuring, "Yes, sweetie,
whatever you want, I'll buy you a puppy, here's your go-go-juice," while
their child screams endlessly and destroys stuff, eh, you know? I just
shrug my shoulders and go to a different aisle. Especially now that I've
walked in those shoes I give everyone the benefit of the doubt first,
On a completely
different day Jude and I were placidly strolling through the grocery
store aisles on a mission to buy everything in sight and then bake it
into treat form. We had just turned down a new aisle, deep in
conversation, when he started protesting.
"I don't want to go down here! I don't like this one!"
"You don't?! Well I think I see something down here you might like."
He paused, because tricking people that are 3 is easy. "...What do I like?"
"Look, mac and cheese!" I pointed, as we walked.
"Oh, mac and cheese!" Jude clapped happily.
We continued to go back and forth at normal-volume when out of nowhere an older lady stopped our cart and touched my arm.
son, you know, he's 35 now, he always tells me that I threatened to
call Santa when he was being bad. Just an idea to help you with...
that." She crooked her withered, skeletal finger in Jude's face,
sniffed, and pushed her glasses up her nose, "I never had any problems
"- Ha ha ha. Thanks." Jon cut her off over my shoulder, walking up
behind me midway through her little speech. He reached forward and
grabbed my jacket, digging his fingers into the fabric
and forcing me into motion.
Personal note: It is inadvisable to commit murder in a place where there are security cameras.
my name is Jamie. I do not typically punish my child for talking. I do
not consider having a conversation, in public, in which both parties
were happily participating, to be "bad." I do not threaten my kid with
the wrath of Santa when he's "bad." I don't make threats that I'm not
willing to carry through and at the wild, chattery age of 3.4 I am not
going to be the asshole that takes all my kid's presents away, let alone
because he was talking in the grocery store one time. What does he look
like, a fucking puppy? Bad dog! No! Bad old people! No! Your son is 35?
Cool story bro. Obviously no one ever stopped your mother in the
grocery store and warned her that Santa won't bring you presents if you
talk to strangers and they kill you and you die.
I'm sure she thought that she was helping in
offering me this amaaaaazing parenting advice that had surely never occurred to me before, so bless her heart or whatever it is you say to cover the
impolite feelings you have when you want to stab someone in the neck.
Frankly I'm not all that wild about talking to people I don't know in
the first place and hey! this is totally why. Not interested in your
parenting tips or your life story and why -the hell- are you putting your filthy slime paws on my flesh? Is this what we do now? Back out of the area slowly and reassess your desire to live.
Somewhere in the middle of the universe is a place where we're all reasonable human beings. GO TO THAT PLACE. Accept. Conform. Obey.
January 7, 2013
We will all survive this transient, painful existence until we don't and then we're dead.
parenting|politics and whatnot|rant|this is getting kinda serious|