Things I used to say:
1. Oh that poor family. When I see someone like that I am reminded how lucky I am.
2. Did you see the size of the child the mother was changing on the change station in the washroom? He looked at least 5. What the hell?
3. If that were my kid, I would take him back to the car and directly home and we wouldn't be coming back to the bookstore, EVER!
4. What the hell is wrong with those parents? Their son is biting everyone at daycare.
5. If you are calm and consistent with your children they won't lose their minds like that.
Oh yes, I did. And probably more extremely ignorant and unfounded comments that I can't remember. I sucked.
As a teacher I have seen some pretty poor parenting lead to some pretty questionable behaviours in children but the above comments were about total strangers.
Recently, I took both girls to the bookstore. Things were going well and this is not an anecdote about a meltdown but a moment when I saw the old me. Kate took an interest in a young mom and her baby. She was pretty excited and began to hug the mom and jibber jabber to her. If you've had the pleasure of hearing Kate babble, it can be pretty intricate and it sounds very much like a legitimate, although foreign, language. She babbles with extreme confidence and she waits for an answer. She has been regressing a little in terms of language lately (I blame the heat) and she has been using jibber jabber, more often than not, when excited or stressed.
The mom smiled at Kate but she looked very uncomfortable so I intervened and said: "She is just excited about your baby. She babbles when she is excited." To which the young mom responds with a laugh: "Oh my God, I was, like, what the heck is this kid saying to me? I couldn't make out a word. I was, like, freaking out."
At this point, I paused and chanted in my brain: "She doesn't mean it the way it sounds, she doesn't mean it the way it sounds."
I then quietly took Grace and Kate to the car and felt worse than I have in months. I think I took this one hard because this nice, normal mom cannot be compared to some internet troll or some insensitive music artist like Drake. She was me, when Grace was a baby. I like to think I had more tact but who knows. Her ignorance is more latent and maybe more dangerous. I felt ill.
The gravity of the situation was quickly forgotten when Grace, from her carseat said, "Mom, I think Kate pooped."
Happy Mail to:
27 Wellington Row
Saint John, NB
Grace and Kate's mom. (Shanell)