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DINK People Problems. I Has ‘Em.

May 7, 2013

I am not a parent. Frankly, I don’t know how parents do it. Or why they do it for that matter but to each their own. And because I’m not a parent, I try not to judge them. It doesn’t always work out that way but I swear I do try. For example, when kids are screaming their brains out in a grocery store or kicking and rolling around on a sidewalk because they can’t have another ice cream cone, I don’t judge. I simply assume that the kid is having a bad day and the parents are probably having an even worse one. After all, I can barely police my own actions, I could not imagine trying to control the actions of another living being all day, every day.

Sometimes, though. Sometimes when I am sitting in a crowded theatre trying to ignore an overtired, screaming infant, I do have to wonder what was going through a parent’s mind when they decided it would be a good idea to bring their baby to an eleven o’clock showing of an R rated movie. I have also had to stop myself from asking questions like, “What part of you thought it would be okay to bring a five year-old to a sushi restaurant two hours before midnight?” I mean, what could possibly be on a menu comprised of  different kinds of raw fish that will appeal to a child’s palette?

See, I get that kids should not at any point in their childhood be expected to behave like adults, and if I want to leave my home during the day, I need to respect their right to exist.  But, here’s the thing. Isn’t there a time and place? Like, if I go to dinner before 9pm, I should expect to share the restaurant with families full of kids. Likewise, if I put off dinner until after 9 or 10pm and I avoid family restaurants, or I put off my movie going until the late show and choose movies that have adult content, shouldn’t I be able to enjoy these experiences without overtired, misbehaving children? Am I wrong in assuming this?

I went to a restaurant at 10pm a while ago. The boyfriend and I both left the table to wash our hands before eating. When I returned, a little kid sat at my seat, finishing off my drink. “What the hell are you doing?” I shouted. The kid immediately started bawling and the parents looked up, startled. There were at least three other kids at their table and one crawling around under the it. The mom grabbed her son and begrudgingly told me she would buy me another drink. “But that’s not the problem! There was three ounces of booze in there, and your son just sucked it down! Is he going to be okay?” This bit of information did not make the mom happy. She acted like it was my fault for leaving such an enticing, fruity looking beverage unattended. And maybe it was my fault but I’m not a parent, how am I supposed to know these things? Maybe if she took her kid to The Spaghetti Factory at 7pm, she would sit next to a table full of people who know better than to leave a triple tequila sunrise at their table while they go tot the washroom. This is why I try to avoid situations that put me in direct contact with children; I’m afraid I’ll inadvertently kill them.

I even do my grocery shopping late at night. I fucking love 24 hour grocery stores! I can wander the aisles without children or adults who act like children (except for the occasional drunk or high person) getting in my way. There are pretty much zero crowds, children or otherwise, at Loblaw’s at midnight. Which is why this next experience threw me off guard.

The boyfriend and I were in the grocery store minding our own business. He was in the next aisle, perusing the Ben & Jerry’s selection when a little jack ass kid turns down my aisle pushing his mom’s cart, his mother trailing behind. He races the cart around, knocking into the shelves on purpose, backing up and then knocking into the opposite shelves, leaving a trail of fallen products in his wake. The mom lets him do his thing, ignoring the mess and occasionally catching up to the cart to toss items in it. When he gets to where I am, he starts ramming his cart into mine while laughing like this is a hysterical thing to do – once, twice, three times. I reach out and firmly grab the cart. Just as firmly, I say, “No. This is not how you act in public.” The mom gives me a dirty look, I stare her down.

She finally shrugs and says, “Kids. What can you do?”  At this point, the kid is ramming my cart again. My boyfriend appeared just in time to hear me respond, “I know exactly what you mean. We used to wonder what to do with our kids.”

“Then we beat them to death,” the boyfriend quipped, without missing a beat.

“Problem solved!” I offered my most radiant smile.

The kid stopped ramming my cart. The mom’s eyes widened. Oh sure, she acted disturbed but I bet she was thinking about it.

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. smallftprints permalink
    May 7, 2013 9:26 pm

    OMGoodness … I would have LOVED to have been there when you two said that … brilliant! I don’t have kids … I like kids … but I don’t like the way some parents just let kids go crazy in public places. It’s as though they use the restaurant, store or theater as their personal babysitter. In fact, I once had a woman tell me that she struggled with her kids all day long and when she brought them to a restaurant she felt it was the management and the other patron’s responsibility to watch them. Whaaat??? I chose not to have kids … and I don’t want to be responsible for someone else’s. And btw … it was not your fault that the kid drank your drink. Parents really shouldn’t have kids if they’re not prepared to be parents.

    • May 9, 2013 4:20 pm

      Wow! That woman has some sort of malfunction going on in her brain.

      Some parents are excellent. Some not so much. It’s like anything, really. The ones who suck give the whole group a bad rap.

  2. ciaraballintyne permalink
    May 7, 2013 11:33 pm

    I’m a parent and I still ask the questions you ask. My kids go to bed at 7pm. I don’t take them to adult movies. I rarely take them out for dinner and then we choose the venue carefully. They don’t run around unsupervised – sure, occasionally one gives me the slip, but the mother of the kid that drank your booze was just grateful her kid wasn’t pestering her and so didn’t bother to check what he was doing – understandable but irresponsible and if she finds them that tough maybe she shouldn’t have had too many! I’m stopping at 2 because I believe it’s all bad news when the kids outnumber the adults. And I do my grocery shopping online so I don’t have to deal with idiots of any age.

    • May 9, 2013 4:22 pm

      So smart, Ciara! An unmanageable amount of children can cause problems for even the best of parents. You sound like a great mom, btw.

      Also, grocery shopping online = brilliance.

  3. livrancourt permalink
    May 8, 2013 6:13 pm

    My kids have survived to be teenagers, and for the most part I can rely on them to behave appropriately in public. Can I just say, though, that you are in NO WAY responsible for the fact that a child ingested a potentially dangerous level of alcohol by drinking a half-finished cocktail from your table in a public restaurant. If I was the manager of that restaurant, I’d have made two calls: Poison Control & CPS.

    • May 9, 2013 4:27 pm

      Lol! Thanks, I really did feel like I was at least partially to blame for an intoxicated toddler. I mean, it just sounds like something that would be my fault.

      I had a friend complain to me once that her children acted like angels in public but little terrors at home. I told her that I was obviously no expert but maybe that was a sign that she is raising your children correctly. They know how to behave in public but feel comfortable enough to be themselves around their families. Then again, maybe I’m just talking out my ass. Whatever, it cheered up my friend. She walked around with a smile on her face for the rest of the day and stopped complaining about her kids for a little while, which, incidentally, put a smile on my face.

  4. May 9, 2013 8:51 am

    Lol. OMG! I so totally have to agree. I wanted to be a parent until my biological clock went off when I turned 40. I would have been a good parent, my kids would have been in the neighborhood by 7 or 8 at night. I take the bus to work, and when a parent gets on a bus with a fussy tired baby, then yells at the child. I want to say that it is not that child’s fault you have him/her out till after 8p when they should be home. I understand that taking the bus, working, picking kids up from sitters and stuff yeah, you are out late sometimes, but don’t take it out on the kids! And please, keep control of them.

    • May 9, 2013 4:29 pm

      I often wonder if I just see the worst of it because I tend to operate on opposite hours of good children/parents. When I go to dinner at 9pm, I’m only seeing the overtired, grumpy families. All of the good ones are at home reading bedtime stories.

  5. May 9, 2013 9:00 pm

    You see life from such an entertaining point of view. 🙂

    I do plan on having kids. I hope to handle birth well enough to have 4. Got out of child care almost a decade ago so that I could stop being so cynical before having my own. Mostly it wasn’t the kids, though, it was the permissive parents. Grrr! There must be boundaries and consequences or children will not know what is and is not acceptable.

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