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And then there was McDonalds

You know, I'm pretty certain it's common for every mom to think her kid is so funny and cute. I recognize that things I might find totally endearing or hilarious in my child, might not be another mom's cup of tea. And that's okay. But yesterday, at McDonald's play land, it was very hard for me not to think I had the funniest kid there. Benja climbed to the top of the play structure where he was in a big yellow bubble with mesh keeping him from plummeting 15 feet. I was reading a book and not even aware of him, because my children's safety is my #1 priority. Suddenly I hear, as loud as can be, "Daaaaaaaay-oh! Daaaaaaaaaay-oh! Isuh day, isuh day, isuh daaaaaaaaay-oh! Daylight come and nobody knows...." And he was off to chase the cute blonde who called him McDade.

He's just like his mama, I sing random songs all the time without even realizing it. I have to say, I do find it endearing that this trait rubbed off on Benja. Avee will sometimes indulge in some extemporaneous singing. Her songs are more woeful ballads, I think. I'm anxious to hear what they are about as she gets older and more intelligible. As it stands, it sounds a lot like a poor toddler with saggy diapers and unclipped nails, trying to make it in a world of peers with full heads of hair and non-hand-me-down clothes. We'll see.

To be fair, about calling my kid the cutest or funniest, Benja's competition was lacking. A 5 year old boy there happened upon the big orange slide at the same moment Avee came flying down it with shrieks of glee. As she kerplunked onto her bottom, she let out a shrill scream of delight. The FIVE YEAR OLD boy turned and ran wailing to his mother because of Avee's frightening and very intimidating scream. I was sitting near the mom and kept waiting for her to say, "Yo dude, get a grip, that was a baby and she was simply laughing!" but instead she coddled and cooed and worked him through his trauma. I finally had to turn, because wouldn't it be really rude of me if like, you know, something was wrong with him and I was judging him for being a ninny? Nope, being a ninny was all that was wrong. The mother started talking loudly about how some kids just aren't polite and even though they should apologize they won't unless their mommy's tell them to. To be honest, I was floored at first. I mean, did she not see that Avee only has 6 teeth in her mouth and only says important words like "no" and "cool"? She started giving me long glances as though to encourage me to contribute in her helatious crime against our future society.

When I realized she wasn't going to let it go and I'd either have to move my butt AND my quarter pounder or say something, I said, "Did her screaming scare you?" He said no. "Did it hurt your feelings?" He said yes, it hurt his feelings because she was being mean. I said, "How old are you?" He said five. I think his mom may have realized she probably didn't want me talking to him after all, but it was too late, she gave me one sidelong glance too many. "Well, I think then that since you are a big boy, five years old is pretty big, that you can understand that she is a baby, she's only 1, and that she certainly wasn't trying to make you feel bad. This is a playground and you're going to see lots of kids doing lots of different things here. A one year old screaming isn't really a big deal, and if you let it bother you, you're probably not going to have any time to just play. Believe me, she screams a lot." I didn't say, "And in the real world, you haven't experienced fear until you've been on the receiving end of Avee trying to make you feel bad." I felt a little bit rude, and really, I'm not a rude person---but I almost felt a civic duty to give back that boy at least a month of the 3 and a half years that had clearly been squelched from his life. His mother pulled him to her, clearly to warm fuzzy away all the horrible things I said, but he pushed back, stood up and ran back to the play structure.

She moved away from me. I didn't have to transport my big mac after all. Later another mom came over and quietly said, "I think that was brave and absolutely necessary" so I didn't feel so bad or that I was the only one thinking there was a problem.

Nobody has ever called me brave before.

I don't think it's ever wise to "parent" another child, especially when the parent is right there. But, make my precious cub into a villain, a mama bear will do what she has to.

buck up, kid! more power to you for setting him straight in a very polite, mommy-ishly gentle way. good job. i think you're brave, too. and i love your blog. :)

The Brave Mama bear in action.
It doesn't sound like you were trying to parent him, it sounded more like SHE was blaming her lack of social skills/common sense on others.

Petite tiny sweet little Avee traumatized a momma's boy...BWAHAHA.
What a wuzz. Sheesh, that mother is the kind of person who sues the school district to remove all the playground equipment because it's so dangerous and while she’s at it do away with playing all together least her sissy boy cries.
Oh, and no cupcakes for him either.

“Some kids just aren't polite and even though they should apologize they won't unless their mommy's tell them to”, oh just shut up lady!

Wow. It really would have been fascinating to see what kind of meltdown he would have had if Avee HAD been TRYING to make him cry. Little does that mom know that she's putting a big social target on her boy - "pick on me! you'll get a great show!" Funny that all he apparently needed was someone to talk straight to him and then he was off to play like a normal child with no apparent detrimental repercussions.

And I so love it when other moms validate a bold move. Don't you?

Cal uses the word "brave" a lot lately - not sure where he picked it up, but he says it with so much admiration, even when it's in the wrong context: "The neighbors have suuuuch pretty Christmas lights. They are soooooo brave, huh, mom?"

I'm not sure that I can call that brave. I think you should have kicked his mother in the crotch and then said to the little boy, "It turns out life has a way of making you feel bad, especially if you are mamby-pamby little boy."

THAT would have shown him, and his wimpy little mom, AND prepared him for grade school. He's likely to get beat up a lot at the current rate.

Good for you! I always have a hard time standing up to people and I wish I could do it more.

That mom is setting up her son to not be able to function in the real world. What's he going to do when Mommy isn't there? He will have a complete breakdown...that's what.

I love reading your blog! You are so fun and honest! :)

::trying to collect myself after reading Nathan's comment::

OK. You did very, very well and I don't know that I would've had the, um - that word my son had to teach the neighbor kids - to do the same thing. You handled it completely right. I would've been that mom who came up later and told you so.

I feel for that poor little boy. Your Avee IS really scary. How dare you subject your tiny baby girl to innocent wimp 5-year-olds and their overprotective, and frankly creepy, mothers.

Actually, I feel for him because his mother is totally crippling him from having healthy relationships. To suggest that a screaming one-year-old is a direct offense toward his mental and physical health and should apologize... that woman needs therapy.

Nathan's "...especially if you are mamby-pamby little boy"

LOLed Big Time :)

That mother turned it over to you by her actions. I think what you said was right on the mark. Unfortunately, she wants to feel needed and validated and this is how she is receiving that.

I agree with Suzanne, you write a fantastic, honest blog!

I would just like it to be noted, on the record---that I have had several conversations/interactions with Nathan in the past two and a half years that he's been married to my friend. He really is one of the nicest guys I have ever known AND his audacity and "true" definition of "brave" have had my laughing all morning. Nathan, you're a breath of fresh air (nervy, but fresh) among us mom's who are appalled at the parenting and mourn for the poor boy's future.

Leslie--thanks for stopping by. I love anyone who loves my blog. I'm just simple like that.

NCS--I think you are exactly right, these are the kinds of moms who sue school districts. What a hard life!

T-that is seriously all I could think---what if Avee HAD been trying to be mean!? That girl is ruthless and has no concept of her size or age when she has a point to make. I actually felt there was hope for the boy, once out of his mom's clutches. Since he did respond to me talking to him more maturely.
And Cal's "brave" talk is HILARIOUS.

Suzanne--I have been thinking a lot lately about parents setting up kids to fail. Sometimes it feels like a fine line between protecting and smothering. It's true that this woman certainly isn't arming him appropriately.
And, thanks for the compliment!

Millie--I love your narratives, so we get the whole picture. "trying to collect myself"
I think I saw that mom's eye twitching, I think you're right--she does need therapy!

Princess---good point, she did open the door for me. You always make me feel better about being rude. Now, about that rude husband Nathan...:)

I love your blog! I have been lurking for awhile. I just wanted to comment on this post. I think you were right on for doing what you did and said. I don't think I could be brave enough to do that, I probably would have been giving her dirty looks back. Very mature of my I know! Although, like you say, when someone is messing with your cubs, watch out for that mama bear!

Still LOLing at Nathan's comment.

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