The Storm After The Calm

, , , , , , | Friendly | January 14, 2018

(My husband and I are BLESSED with a very calm toddler. His calmness often worries people, usually strangers. One day while I’m out shopping with him, my toddler decides he wants to open a box of crackers while I’m browsing.)

Me: *taking the box away from him* “No, no. We don’t open things before they’re paid for, sir.”

Toddler: *whines and reaches for the box* “Mama!”

(At this point his face pinches up like he’s going to cry but I know he’s not going to do it so I shake my head at him.)

Me: *puts the box back in the cart’s basket* “No, that doesn’t work with me. You just ate before we came to the store, so you are not going to starve.”

(My toddler proceeds to very calmly jabber at me as if he’s trying to argue with me, but I keep telling him, “no,” and he finally shakes his head and goes back to playing with his stuffed animal. At this point, I realize that a woman is staring at us with a shocked look on her face.)

Woman #1: *awed* “I just knew he was going to have a meltdown, but he never did. How did you get him to act like that?”

Me: *shrugs* “He’s always been like that. He’s never actually thrown a tantrum, either.” *laughs* “My husband likes to joke that we’ve got a defective kid because he’s so well-behaved for his age.”

(The woman laughs and I hear a loud “harrumph” behind me so I turn around to find another woman glaring at us.)

Woman #2: *accusing tone* “You should be ashamed of yourself! Your son is obviously autistic or has something else wrong, and you’re making fun of him by calling him defective!”

Me: *rolls eyes* “No, ma’am, he does not exhibit any signs of autism or any other disorders. If you must know, his pediatrician says he is in good health and is a very happy and average toddler, and that he is calm because my husband and I are calm. Kids learn by example.”

Woman #1: “Yeah, which means if you have any kids, they’re probably rude little a**holes just like you.”

([Woman #2] stomped off in a huff and [Woman #1] and I shook our heads before wishing each other a nice day and returning to our shopping.)

Guardian Angel: Roadside Assistance

, , , , | Hopeless | January 13, 2018

(I am driving along a country road in unusually cold and snowy weather when I skid on a patch of ice and crash through a hedge. I have my two kids in the car with me, and we are unhurt, but pretty shaken up. We get out of the car and, sure enough, it is utterly stuck. The weather is very, very cold, it is starting to get dark, and we aren’t dressed for it. I try to phone my husband to get him to come and rescue us, but there is no reply. I decide to ring the rescue service, but I know they’ll take an hour or so to get there. Just as I am starting to get really worried, a van drives past, reverses, and pulls up alongside us. I tense up, realising we are pretty vulnerable, out there in the middle of nowhere. A tall, muscular-looking woman wearing muddy manual labour clothing gets out and comes over to us. She gives us a cheerful smile, as if seeing us made her day.)

Woman: “I’ve got some ropes in the van; would you like me to haul you out?”

Me: “Oh, yes, please, if you could!”

Woman: “Are you all okay? Anybody hurt?”

Me: “No, we’re fine.”

Woman: *to my kids* “I bet you’re cold, though. Hang on…”

(She goes and rummaged in her cabin and gets out two fluffy blankets with cute cartoon owls on them. She kneels down — in the snow! — and talks to my kids.)

Woman: “These are for you, if you want them.”

(My son and daughter, a bit shocked and shy about this strange woman, look at me, and I nod. They take the blankets gratefully and wrap themselves up in them.)

Woman: “Right, let’s get you out.”

(She quickly gets our car roped up to her van and easily pulls it backwards out of the hedge and back onto the road. It is such a huge relief when I am able to start the engine successfully.)

Woman: “Have you got far to go?”

Me: “We’re just going to [Nearby Town].”

Woman: “Is it okay if I escort you? Just to make sure your car isn’t damaged?”

Me: “Uh, yes, please.”

Woman: “Okay, I was heading that way, anyway. I’ll follow you.”

(Sure enough, the car was fine, and she waved goodbye when we got into town. What I really regret, and why I’m writing this, is that I never said, “Thank you.” I was too shaken up by the whole thing. So, if you’re reading this, mysterious lady, many thanks; you might have saved our lives. My daughter is now in her teens and still has the blanket with the owls on it. She says her guardian angel gave it to her.)

He Kids You Not

, , , , , | Working | January 2, 2018

(I am the head store manager. One of the department supervisors has recently gone through a rather dramatic divorce. For a few months, he has gossiped to all of us about his ex, who claimed he was irresponsible, much to his anger. With the holiday season approaching, we have a meeting of all management and supervisors one Sunday night. I’m out front handling some customers when one of my employees comes out. The supervisor has arrived an hour early and has his kid in the back stockroom, which is against the rules; it’s full of palettes, boxes, and machinery. I head to the stockroom and find the child climbing on a rack with no shoes on, his father nowhere to be seen. I ask the kid to sit, and ten minutes later the supervisor appears from the break room.)

Me: “You know you cannot let non-employees in the back, especially not a minor!”

Supervisor: “He’s just playing. I have custody of him this week, so I had to bring him with me.”

Me: “You can’t bring your kid to a business meeting.”

Supervisor: “It’s okay; there’s lots of girls around the shop to keep an eye on him.”

Me: “Absolutely not. You need to arrange a babysitter, or miss the meeting and take the write-up.”

Supervisor: “Hey, I’m just trying to be a parent.”

Me: “You’ve known about this meeting for a month. Most of the management are parents; they’ve all found babysitters ahead of time.”

Supervisor: “Ugh, I’ll try calling my sister.”

(He calls. I agree to let them stay in the break room until his sister arrives, and head to my office to prepare for the meeting. Fifteen minutes go by, and I hear the supervisor talking to one of our security guards, then he knocks on my door.)

Supervisor: “Hey! My kid is hungry.”

Me: “Yes, and?”

Supervisor: “You got any graham crackers or goldfish or anything in your purse?”

Me: “No.”

Supervisor: “My mom and my ex always have food for him in their purse, but you’re, like, the third female I’ve talked to, and none of you have anything!”

Me: “I don’t carry food for your kid.”

(The supervisor shrugs and leaves. His sister arrives just before the meeting starts and we can hear an argument as she picks up the kid. The rest of the management team is gossiping while we wait on him.)

Coworker: “He asked if his son could play with my phone, because he didn’t want the kid accidentally breaking his!”

Supervisor: “Hey, sorry I held up the meeting. My sister was being a b**** because I didn’t have shoes or a coat for my kid.”

(Since then, we have had no problems seeing why his ex thought he was irresponsible!)

What A Complete Let Down

, , , , , | Related | January 2, 2018

(My spouse and I have a two week old newborn. I have just finished showering while he watched her and I am now nursing her.)

Spouse: “Look! She follows me if I make eye contact with her!”

(He proceeds to catch her eyes and move around. She’s nursing horizontally so she looks up to follow his movement. He moves out of sight, so she leans back to keep him in view, losing her latch in the process. If you are unfamiliar with nursing, there’s a reflex called “let down” that sends milk out. It does not have an off switch and can be anything from just some dampness to a fountain. I’m gifted with a strong “let down” reflex.)

Me: “[Spouse]! Do not unplug the baby! I’m getting milk everywhere! Where’s her burp cloth?! I just showered!”

Spouse: “What? She’s not a wireless baby?”

When Arguments Happen At Christmas, The Claus Come Out

, , , , , , , | Related | December 28, 2017

(My husband and I have never let our children believe in Santa. We host my in-laws for Christmas this year. They live 2000 miles away, so they stay for a couple weeks. We adults are chatting a couple days before Christmas, when my four-year-old comes up to me.)

Daughter: “[Nine-Year-Old Uncle] is angry with me.”

Me: “Why is he upset with you?”

Daughter: “Because I told him Santa isn’t real.”

(Thankfully his parents were amused, not upset! I had another chat with my daughter about not telling other children about Santa, even though she knows he’s pretend. Meanwhile, it’s not everyday that a niece breaks the news of Santa Claus to her uncle!)

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