A Pinch Of Good Parenting Can Go A Long Way

, , , , , | Related | July 21, 2018

(I work at a petting zoo which has emus. Emus are big and scary-looking, but ours are friendly and enjoy treats. However, they’re occasionally over-eager, and if you hold food on your flat hand, they might accidentally get your skin with a peck. It doesn’t hurt, but it’s uncomfortable. For that reason, I give kids lettuce to give to them, instead of their usual pellet treats, since you don’t have to use your flat hand.)

Boy: “We’re out of lettuce. Can I feed them those?” *points at buckets of pellets nearby*

Me: “Are you sure? We just need to make sure your mum is okay with it. Sometimes they do peck a bit harder than they mean to, so it can pinch.”

(The kid is very eager, and the mum gives us the go-ahead, so I help the kid hold out his treats. Shortly, this happens.)

Boy: “He pinched my hand!” *starts to cry*

Boy’s Mother: “Wow, isn’t that cool?! You got a kiss from the emu!” *to me* “Can I have a treat? I want an emu kiss, too.”

Boy: *suddenly stops being upset* “Wow! I got an emu kiss! Can I feed them again?”

(Great parenting, and unlike with most parents, I didn’t get blamed for the emu pinch that I warned them about!)

Hoping You’d Be Able To Belly-Band Together

, , , , , , | Related | July 19, 2018

(I grew up an only child. I’m currently seven months pregnant, and though I moved out of my parents’ years ago, I only live a couple of miles away. I suspect someone is going through our mail, so I usually have packages sent to my parents’ address.)

Me: “Oh, Mom, I was just going to let you know that I’m expecting a package from [Store we often shop at]. It’ll probably arrive next week.”

Mom: “Okay. Clothes? Or something big?”

Me: “Clothes. [Husband] picked out an outfit for the baby, and I ordered a belly-band.”

Mom: *looks at me quizzically* “A belly-band?”

Me: “Um, yeah. It’s kind of like a belt that’s supposed to help support my stomach and redistribute some of the weight off my back. After running around all day, it kind of feels like a bowling ball strapped to my front.”

Mom: *rolls her eyes* “When I was pregnant, we didn’t have belly-bands. It wasn’t a big thing. Seems a bit excessive.”

Me: “Um. Okay. Well, it’s a pretty common thing now, and if it helps my comfort and it’s on sale, why shouldn’t I take advantage?”

Mom: *exasperated sigh*

(For the record, I did get my package, and as soon as I put the band on, I felt like I could stand up straight for the first time in weeks!)

Don’t Drink And Parent

, , , , , , | Learning | July 19, 2018

(My sixteen-year-old daughter is taking drivers’ education at her school. The first part takes place in the classroom, followed by practical experience driving a car. Parents are allowed to attend the classroom part if they wish.)

Instructor: “Now, the law for drinking and driving for new drivers is very strict. It’s a zero-tolerance policy.”

(The mother of one of the kids raises her hand.)

Mother: “What does that mean?”

Instructor: “That means that your kids won’t be allowed to have any alcohol if they’re going to be driving within a certain timeframe.”

Mother: “I don’t get it.”

Instructor: “It’s actually very simple. If your kid will be driving within [number of hours], they can’t have any alcohol.”

Mother:None?

Instructor: “None.”

Mother: “But let’s say that my son is at a party, and he’s going to be there for an hour; it’s okay if he has just one beer, right?”

Instructor: *stares at her* “No.”

Mother:No? But it’s just one beer!”

Instructor: *starting to lose patience* “No alcohol. Period.”

Mother: “But—”

Instructor: “NO. ALCOHOL.”

Mother: “…”

(Her son looked mortified.)

Really Feline This Solution

, , , , , | Related | July 18, 2018

Mother: “You had rats as pets, right?”

Me: “Yes…”

Mother: “That means you know how to deal with my rat infestation, right? I’ve tried killing them with poison and traps, but I’m thinking the best is to get a cat. Remember when our old cat got into your room and killed your hamster?”


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The Father Needs Enrollment In A Humanities Course

, , , , | Learning | July 17, 2018

(I work at a community college switchboard and visitors center and, as such, I often get strange calls or visits. There is a line at my desk and I am helping the next person in line, a man in his 60s or maybe early 70s. I am in my late 20s.)

Man: “I’m here to ask about my son. He’s recently moved back home after dropping out of [Different College].”

Me: “No problem! Do you know when your son wants to start college?”

Man: “I don’t know. He’s a real dumba**, you know? He’d probably flunk out again, but I figure [Our College] is cheaper — is it, than [State University]?”

Me: “Yes, our tuition is typically [fraction] of the tuition price at [State University]. Do you know if he was interested in the next term, or perhaps next year?”

(The man answers the question, but continues to describe his son as lazy, dumb, a loser, etc. He does this gleefully and cruelly as if it’s funny or impressive, which makes me uncomfortable. It becomes clear that the man doesn’t know enough information for me to make a recommendation. That, combined with the fact that the potential student isn’t actually with him, means I can’t do much to help him, so I prepare to give the father a package of information to take home.)

Me: “Our enrollment information, requirements, placement test schedule, and calendar are all here. Your son can call, email, or visit us at any time with questions about getting started! Did you need help with anything else?”

(The man pauses and looks me over intently at this point, pausing to look at my chest for a few seconds, which is large, but is completely covered — there is no cleavage visible.)

Man: “My son is almost 30! Can you believe he’s such a loser? He’s actually here:” *the man turns to the next person in line, a 20-something that has been standing silently behind him the whole time* “Tell this young lady what you want; I can’t do everything for you!”

(I’m shocked that he has been standing here the whole time talking about his son this way, when he was right there. I turn my attention to the son to try and help him.)

Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t notice you! What can I do for you today?”

(The son is pretty shy, but articulate, and tells me the information I need to diagnose his path to enrolling. The whole time, the father is still standing at my desk and watching the exchange, sometimes laughing at his son when he becomes nervous or stumbles. After everything, the son thanks me for helping him and apologizes for being confused.)

Me: “No need to apologize, really! That’s why I’m here! Do you need help with anything else while you’re here?”

Man: *interrupting his son* “Just one more: first, do you have a boyfriend, and second, are you looking?”

Me: “I, uh…”

Man: “I’m asking for me, not him!” *points to mortified son*

(I have very little experience with this sort of thing, due to a sheltered upbringing. I am unsure how to respond, much less while working, especially after the way he treated his son, and especially considering he is at least forty years older than I am.)

Me: “Sorry, I am not currently looking.”

(The man is still standing there expectantly. Customer service is important to my office, so I try and end the conversation on a positive note.)

Man: “Well, okay, I was just asking.” *doesn’t leave*

Me: “Oh, well, thank you for asking. I hope you both have a good day.”

(The son gave an apologetic look while they both left the office. I felt awful for him, but also incredibly creeped-out by his jerk father.)


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