Taking A Big Bite Out Of Your Parenting

, , , , , , | Friendly | November 18, 2017

(I am kneeling in a bookstore looking for a particular book, and there is a mother with a toddler nearby. The mother is absorbed in her book. Suddenly her toddler runs up to me, then grabs and BITES DOWN ON MY BOOB — and I feel teeth!)

Me: *yelps* “What the f***?!”

Mother: *whips her head around like Linda Blair, glaring at me* “Excuse me! Don’t swear in front of my kid!”

Me: “Your kid just bit me!” *I stand up and gesture where he bit me*

Mother: “Oh, he must’ve been hungry.”

Me: “What? That’s not okay!”

Employee: *investigating the commotion* “What’s going on? Is everything okay?”

Me: “I—”

Mother: “It’s nothing really; she’s overreacting. Some people just can’t handle children.”

(With that, she picks up her kid and walks off like it was nothing. I explain to the employee what happened.)

Employee: “Oh… uh… Do you need—” *he gestures, clearly flustered* “—I mean, are you—”

Me: “It’s fine. Just… I’ll be going.”

(I never ran into that woman or her kid again, but since then I’ve been very wary of toddlers that aren’t being watched closely — once bitten, twice shy, I guess!)

A Touching Story

, , , , , , , | Related | November 16, 2017

(I am trying to teach my five-year-old daughter about danger. Not the details, but just what to do if this happens, what to do if that happens, etc. I tell her that if someone touches her when or where she doesn’t want to be touched, she has to yell, “STOP! I don’t like it!” and tell me. She seems to understand fairly well, and two days later my mum comes to visit. I go into the kitchen to make us tea and suddenly I hear, “STOP! I don’t like it!” and my daughter comes running in.)

Me: “What happened, baby?”

Daughter: “Granny hugged me ‘hello’ when I came downstairs, and I didn’t want her to.”

(Mortified, I run in to my mum, who is in stitches on the sofa.)

Mum: “Well, [My Name], I can’t fault your skills at teaching her safety. But maybe next time I’ll ask before I hug her!”

Tell Her Where You Can Stuff That Penguin

, , , , , | Friendly | November 15, 2017

(I am a bystander to this lovely scene in December. Christmas is fast approaching and, as such, most shops have put out tempting displays near the checkouts to fool us all into buying things we neither need nor want. I am waiting in line with my trolley when a man and his daughter join the line behind me. The daughter, about eight years old, spies the stuffed penguin toys.)

Daughter: “Oh, look, Daddy! Penguins!”

Dad: “Yes, they’re very nice.”

Daughter: “Can I have one?”

Dad: “No.”

Daughter: “But they’re so sweet! Please?”

Dad: “I said no.”

Daughter: “Pleeease? I’ll look after it!”

Dad: “You already have a bear in the trolley. You don’t need another toy. You can either put the bear back and have the penguin, or keep the bear on its own.”

Daughter: “But I want both of them! I’ll take care of them!”

Dad: *seriously annoyed now* “I said no. Pick one now or you don’t get either.”

Daughter: “But Dad! I’ll take really good care of them both!” *begins annoying whiny tactics of attrition, including deliberate sobbing*

(At this point, a middle-aged woman has joined the next queue over. To my horror, she leans over and says:)

Interfering Woman: “Oh, that penguin needs to go to a good home, doesn’t he?”

Daughter: “Yes!” *sensing an ally, her tears immediately dry up*

Dad: *gritting his teeth* “I’m sure all these penguins will go to a good home. Our home’s a bit full, isn’t it, [Daughter]? What with all the toys you already have?”

Interfering Woman: *talking to daughter* “Oh, but this penguin would be much happier with you, wouldn’t it?”

Daughter: “Yes!”

Interfering Woman: “Don’t listen to Daddy; he’s being mean! I bet Mr. Penguin would love to come home with you!”

Dad: *somehow barely keeping his temper* “She has lots of toys already.”

Interfering Woman: “But she wants this one! Don’t you? Daddies are so mean, aren’t they?”

(Around this point I had reached the cashier, and I paid for my groceries as swiftly as possible, and got the h*** out of there. A tense silence had befallen everyone within hearing distance who wasn’t directly involved. I sometimes remember the whole scene, and try to think of ways I could’ve shut that woman up without causing a violent ruckus, but I’m at a loss. As a parent, I would’ve bought a penguin, put both the penguin and the bear in the charity box on the way out, and given my daughter a hearty talking to when we got home. She really was the most whiny child of her age I’ve ever heard. As a bystander, I honestly couldn’t think of anything sensible to do.)

Mad About Madeline

, , , , , , | Related | November 15, 2017

(A father and daughter walk into the library with an armful of books.)

Father: “Hi. You accept donations, right?”

Me: “Sure, as long as they are in good condition and are not textbooks or phone books.”

(I go through the small stack, sorting them into children’s, adult fiction, etc, as well as pulling out a tablet case.)

Father: “You can just sell that or something.”

Me: “Sure.”

Me: *jokingly to the daughter as I pull a Madeline picture book out of the stack* “Are you sure you wanted to give this to us?”

Daughter: *alarmed* “NO! Nobody said we were going to give this to you!”

(She grabbed it from my hand and bolted for the doors. I apologized to her father, waited until they were out of sight, and only then began laughing.)

Mustard All Your Strength To Not Be Mad

, , , , , , , , | Related | November 15, 2017

(My eighteen-month-old son has found out about how doors open. He loves to slam the garage door, and he likes to hold the refrigerator door open. He glares at me whenever I close it, usually a few seconds later, as I like to follow him when he’s headed to the kitchen. One day, I ask his sister to keep her eye on him while I run to the bathroom, but I don’t say anything about following him around to prevent mischief. When I finish in the bathroom, I go into the kitchen to grab something super quick, because I assume the kids are in their playroom, but I find my son in the kitchen with the fridge open. He’s sitting in the middle of what looks like a tiny yellow island, grinning from ear to ear, squeezing mustard out of its container. He looks at me and starts drinking the mustard.)

Me: “[Son]! Mustard is not a drink!”

Son: *stops squeezing the mustard container, and looks at me* “But it’s good, Mama!”

Me: “You may like it, but I don’t think the floor likes it very much.”

(My daughter hears the commotion, and runs out of the playroom.)

Daughter: “Uh… What? Oh, Mommy, he was playing and then I didn’t see him. I thought he was in the tent playing sleepy night-night time.”

Me: “That… That’s not a game. Please help me clean this. And remind me to text Daddy to tell him we need a fridge lock.”

(After cleaning the mess thoroughly, and bathing my son, I sent a text to my husband asking him to pick up a fridge lock on his way home, and I installed it that night. Seven years later, we still tease our son that mustard is not a drink.)

 

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