Parents, have you ever heard those words, or thought them?
I have thought them a million times, but have only actually said it aloud once, to a girl I used to know whose kid was a demon. I’m not going to spend a paragraph or two explaining why, because I could with a story or seven that will prove such. I’ll just say that I’ve seen a tantrum that I had to tell all of my parent friends about because I became speechless by the insanity that I saw. I saw it over a year ago, and I still remember it like it was ten minutes ago. But then again I can’t really say much because I threw tantrums forever.
I spent a lot of time babysitting when I was growing up, so before I actually became a mother I could somewhat understand children’s moods. Before the baby came along though, Randy and I made a solemn promise that if Blake started to act a fool in public, we would scoop him up and get the hell out. We have both silently judged screaming babies in public enough to know that it’s not a good experience for the baby, parent, and onlookers.
If anyone has had the pleasure of meeting our bundle of joy, you would know that his temperament is that of his fathers. He smiles and hugs often, and is only fussy when it’s time for him to take a nap. He wakes up and is our smiling baby again, and we continue our lives of parents that get sleep and don’t have to deal with a baby that cries for hours. (knock on wood)
This morning I was in Target with Blake, enjoying a morning of buying things that I don’t need and letting people tell me how attractive he is. It’s funny because when I go now, I have to look nice because people always look at him. Everyone looks at babies, especially when they smile back, and I don’t want to shame my son by wearing a Chelsea Houska outfit and having my fro askew.
We are in the shoe clearance aisle, trying to find a new pair of shoes to sneak in the house and Blake was very talkative. I always encourage his babbling, so I’m playing along. He gets excited and shrieks really loud.
That’s when I heard those three words. On the other side, a teenage girl says “Oh my god, control your f-ing kid.” I froze. Then without thinking I wheeled my happy baby to the aisle to see who would even consider to say those words about MY perfect child.
Every parent thinks their kid is perfect. If the kid is bad, the parent usually says something like, “he/she is really smart and gets bored easy.” “he/she is just expressing themselves.” Yeah, right. Expressing yourself has nothing to do with knocking over store displays, or being a six-year-old that still bites and refuses to listen when an adult speaks. I’m sure that unless a friend stages an intervention, I could be that parent that refuses to see that my child is out of control, I just hope it never happens. Until then, I raise my eyebrows when I see a child that’s too old for running, knocking over things, or screaming in public.
You can imagine the surprise when the two girls see me facing them in the shoe aisle. They appear startled, embarrassed, and completely unprepared for what was to happen next. I’m sure they would have gone running if I hadn’t blocked them in with my smiling baby and shopping cart.
“Actually, my ‘kid’ is a seven month old baby, and this is how he communicates when he gets excited, because he doesn’t speak English yet. So before you say to control my f-ing kid, maybe you should control your mouth.”
Silence. Staring. Then I push my cart with my still smiling and babbling child past them.
Yeah, I sound big and bad telling off a couple of rude teenagers, right? Not my finest moment, I will admit. I guess I’m a bit protective. Hopefully I’ll outgrow that when the fat kid on the playground that reeks of oatmeal knocks him over.