Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Excuse Me Sir, Do You Have Any Children?"

"Oh no? I didn't think so".

One of my biggest appreciations in life as a parent is constructive criticism when asked for it. It allows me to be a better parent to hear a different perspective if what I am doing doesn't seem to be working. However, my biggest annoyances in life as a parent come from strangers who probably don't have the slightest clue as to what raising a toddler is like who feel so inclined to point fingers and judge and "I would never xyz if that were my kid" comments until they've worked themselves up. She's not yours so now's probably a good time to shut up, is usually the gist of my response to people like that.

I get on the train to go collect my baby and head for home after a rather long day of work. There is a mom who takes that same train with a daughter of about 4 years old. I'll call her "Mini". Now don't get me wrong - kids are naturally loud, cute and annoying - seemingly at the same time, they don't always listen to you. They're sweet and cuddly but obnoxious and rotten at times too. You don't always think so when it's your own and when you do, it's much more tolerable simply because she's yours. The mom and the daughter get off at the same stop as I do and so we've grown friendly over the course of the last few months. Enough that I play with her daughter on the train, bring little goodies, carry her down the stairs, and the likes. Like adults - kids also have good days and bad days. Today was a not so good one for Mini and so she was admittedly a little bratty and fussy. I can see why passengers would be annoyed by it. Rightfully so. It's as said, it's not as aggravating when it's your own kid and it's more than understandable that you would be unhappy to have to listen to this during your commute. If your own kid annoys you and makes your ears bleed, can you just imagine what others feel during those ever maddening tantrums? Anyway - back to the topic at hand - it's true that this mom is a bit on the lenient side so I can understand some of the frustrated looks we get from time to time but it's her kid and you know what, kudos to her on that count alone - The fact that she's on a train with her kid shuffling to and from work everyday. So I lean down and say to Mini, "if you're nice to your mommy, I'll carry you down again but only if you're gonna be nice ok?" and she happily complies. A man we hadn't even noticed sitting there unexpectedly says in such a tone, "Oh look at that. She got her way". Mini's mom and I look at eachother slightly wide-eyed. He further adds, "you know that kids are very manipulative, don't you - ::insert diatribe::" and looks at Mini, who is now resting in my arms, with an expression dangerously close to disapproval. Mini is about the only thing that saved his ass from a verbal kick in the nuts that would have lasted much longer than "preach when you have your own and you can teach the rest of us parents how you've perfected it" in the sweetest voice I could bring myself to muster while all I really wanted to do was give him the finger and tell him to go _ _ _ _ himself. Folks, try to rein in your "I'd never let my kid ---" comments to yourselves if you don't actually have any kids. If, however, you do and you've figured out exactly how to perfect your always well behaved children, please share your knowledge without judgment and teach me the ways because mine won't be quiet. Like ever.

"Dear Sir - Being a parent to a child of any age is hard - so please, spare me your a$$hole-ism. It's uncalled for and unnecessary and it's ironic because I'm sure your mother taught you better manners than to lack verbal filter. Was it just one of the things that you weren't paying attention to as you got older? I guess I should be more understanding. I try to teach my daughter the same and it doesn't always work either. But she is loads cuter than you are and thus easier to forgive for such rudeness. She's also 2 and has an excuse for being incorrigible and unfiltered. Even though it wasn't directed at my kid - I still think you're an ass for meddling when we were getting off the damn train and would've been out of your hair anyway - had you not been bald, of course. I hope the rest of your commute sucked."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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