Tantrums, Glaring Eyes, and Baby Bans

The other day, while shopping, JSL declared that he was thirsty.  We hadn’t brought any water and the store was remodeling where their water fountains usually are, so I asked him to be patient while we shopped and we would buy him a drink at the end.  He was good as we walked through the store and bought our various items.  As we neared the checkout line, however, he began to melt down.

Knowing that he had been thirsty for awhile, that he had walked quite a bit, and that he was probably hungry to boot (it was approaching lunchtime), I took the boys to the store’s little built-in snack shop while B paid for our items.  There was a convenient display of bottled waters, so I picked one up and got in line.  The plan was simple: Pay the 67 cents for the water and give the kids a drink.  There were only 2 people in front of me, so it seemed completely doable.

I’m not sure what was going on at the register, but whatever it was was taking a long time.  (Or, as JSL would say: “It’s taking FOR-EV-ER!”)  I fiddled with the dollar I was going to use while the person behind the register just sat there not ringing up anyone.  The boys began to get restless.  I tried to give them something to look forward to by offering to let them pay for the water.  Unfortunately, this backfired as they each claimed the dollar as theirs to give to the cashier.  I finally had to take it back.

After a few more minutes of fighting and complaining, NHL declared that he was bored and I shouldn’t bore him.  By this point, I was at the end of my rope and sternly/sarcastically told him “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that I was supposed to entertain you 24/7!  Now stand still and be GOOD!”  I could feel the eyes of everyone in line behind me resting on me, judging me for my kids’ actions and my reaction.  Call it paranoia left over from high school, but I felt like everyone on that line was silently saying what an awful parent I was.

Luckily, by that point, B was done paying.  We hadn’t moved at all and there was no sign we would move anytime soon.  I put the water bottle away, pocketed the money and left with B and the boys.  We drove to a nearby restaurant where we had a lovely lunch and, yes, plenty of water.

Before I had kids, I might have glared at a parent whose kids weren’t totally well behaved.  I would have naively declared that MY kids would know how to behave and would ALWAYS behave properly.  Presumably, because these perfectly-behaved kids would be entertained by the abundance of airborne swine.  As usual, we plan the “perfect” scenarios and then life laughs at us and hands us something completely different.

Now, I’m not very judgmental.  During another outing, I took the boys out for ice cream.  As we sat waiting for our treat, a couple seated next to us was dealing with their crying baby (approximately 18 months old).  Had I been that “perfectly well behaved kids” pre-parent, I would have rolled my eyes at their failure to “control” her.  Instead, when NHL and JSL pointed out how noisy she was being, I told them that they made plenty of noise when they were that age.  Babies make noise.  It’s a fact of life.

Some institutions have taken to banning children.  In some cases, I can see the rationale.  No parent should take their young child to a scary movie at 9pm at night.  Still, while parents can take some measures to mitigate incidents, sometimes public meltdowns aren’t avoidable.  A single mother with no-one to babysit will need to take her child to the store.  A family going on vacation via airplane can plan for the trip, but kids might not react well to the circumstances.  In these instances, parents shouldn’t be confronted with glaring glances and whispered criticisms.  They have their hands full enough as it is.

Have you ever encountered critical reactions while you were out with your children?  Has your perspective changed from your pre-parent days?

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TechyDad

My name is TechyDad. Alright, my name isn’t really TechyDad, but I’d prefer to keep my true identity hidden. Kind of like Clark Kent except I’m not an intrepid news reporter for the daily planet, but a web developer for a health care organization. Oh and I’m also not an alien that can fly and shoot lasers out of my eyes. I’m married to the most wonderful woman in the world, B and have two wonderful children NHL and JSL. You might know B as the blogger behind TheAngelForever.com. She had been blogging for quite awhile when I decided to give it a go. I’m a self-described nerd who is interested in all things technology, even if monetary realities don’t allow me to buy all the newest cool toys. I’m also a kid at heart. I will happily get down and dirty playing with my kids or sit on the couch with them watching cartoons. One of the perks of fatherhood: you get to play with toys and watch cartoons and pretend it’s for them! I also am an amateur photographer and can easily fill up a memory card or two if given the chance. I like writing about an eclectic mix of topics. One post may be about programming. The next might be about a boy’s day out with my kids. The one after that might be about copyright law and the one following that might be about a new gadget I’d love to get. My blog is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.

5 thoughts on “Tantrums, Glaring Eyes, and Baby Bans”

  1. A few years ago, my husband was out of town and my sister was in town so we went to Giordano’s (i.e. a pizza place) with my stepson (then 3) and my son (then 11 months) on a Friday night. They sat us at a table (not a booth) near the center of the restaurant and we ordered right away because a deep-dish pizza takes about 30 minutes or more. By the time our pizza came, the kids were antsy and my stepson kept asking for our food, loudly, and he had pulled out some cars and was playing with them on the table. For a 3-yr-old at a pizza place on Friday night, he was being relatively calm and nobody was even giving us dirty looks or anything UNTIL…our pizza came and we started eating. Then we heard the man at the booth next to our table fighting with the server. Then, in a huff, he and his wife stood up to leave. THEN…he turned to me and said next time I go out in public, to control my kids. Then he told me that I was nothing but a Hispanic breeder, probably with no education. Then he told me he had two Ph.D’s. I’ve never felt so judged, as a parent or as a person, in my life.

  2. Hi.. I am a mother of a two-year old girl and at two, she’s starting to do really annoying things that no matter how patient I was, there would be times when I couldn’t handle the annoyance. I always wanted my girl to behave in public as it was one of the ways people will see how good mother I was. But yeah, there would be times that critical reactions were unavoidable. I remember going to a doughnut store with my girl. She was asleep in the car when we arrived at the doughnut store. I had to wake her up but this led to her tantrums. You know how bad it is to wake up kids in the middle of their sleep. When I gave her doughnut, she brushed my hand away and so I dropped the doughnut on the floor. I was so furious that I hit her hand and told her in an angry voice “don’t do that again”. I blushed when I saw other people looking at me. 

  3. Don’t know why I’m just now coming across this post, but it definitely resonated on  multiple fronts. 

    On the one hand, I’m very tolerant of folks who are dealing with a meltdown, especially if they’re handling it well. That doesn’t mean they don’t get sarcastic or stern. I mean the parents who allow the child to walk all over them rather than holding the line when it’s reasonable. I understand that sometimes, you need to compromise just to get to a better environment to deal with the situation. But giving in to the kid who screams because you didn’t buy the toy they wanted isn’t reasonable.

    Now… when it comes to crying babies, I’m of a split mind. Babies cry – that’s a fact. But if your baby is crying for over an hour, and that cry is a painful sounding cry – you should be investigating it. I have neighbors above, beside, and diagonally from me that have babies. As I am currently working from home, on any given day I hear babies crying for as many as five out of eight hours, and at all hours. Again, babies cry; mine sure did. But usually, babies cry because they need something. Ignoring those cries for up to 90 minutes at a time on a daily basis isn’t helping anyone. Personally, I don’t understand how they can tune it out.

    So, while I am far less critical of parents in a public setting, I seem to have gotten more critical of those parents that don’t deal with things in a setting they can control.

  4. Don’t know why I’m just now coming across this post, but it definitely resonated on  multiple fronts. 

    On the one hand, I’m very tolerant of folks who are dealing with a meltdown, especially if they’re handling it well. That doesn’t mean they don’t get sarcastic or stern. I mean the parents who allow the child to walk all over them rather than holding the line when it’s reasonable. I understand that sometimes, you need to compromise just to get to a better environment to deal with the situation. But giving in to the kid who screams because you didn’t buy the toy they wanted isn’t reasonable.

    Now… when it comes to crying babies, I’m of a split mind. Babies cry – that’s a fact. But if your baby is crying for over an hour, and that cry is a painful sounding cry – you should be investigating it. I have neighbors above, beside, and diagonally from me that have babies. As I am currently working from home, on any given day I hear babies crying for as many as five out of eight hours, and at all hours. Again, babies cry; mine sure did. But usually, babies cry because they need something. Ignoring those cries for up to 90 minutes at a time on a daily basis isn’t helping anyone. Personally, I don’t understand how they can tune it out.

    So, while I am far less critical of parents in a public setting, I seem to have gotten more critical of those parents that don’t deal with things in a setting they can control.

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