Warning- this post has little to do with food, unless you count the fact that the incident that I'm about to describe took place at the bakery after picking up my produce bucket- ha ha. It's just one of those ah-ha moments that I wish to share.
Yesterday, after picking up my produce bucket, I decided to stop at the bakery. I knew it was bad idea. I had just woken up both kids from their naps, because I didn't want them to sleep until suppertime I was paying for it because both kids were in a rotten mood. Bryce was especially grouchy and sullen.
That voice in the back of my head was saying, "Don't run an errand, don't run an errand, don't take these kids out of the car. They are not fit for public."
But the other voice was saying, "The kids have been loving toast for breakfast, and we ran out of bread. It's just one quick stop."
The second voice won- followed by the promise of a cookie if we could survive without a fuss. I should've listened to the first voice and saved myself a bit of grief.
Anyhow, I went into the bakery, dragging one grouchy miserable kid in each hand. I waited my turn at the counter, deciding what tasty bakery goodies I wanted to bring home today. The kids sat down at a small child-sized table nearby. I could do this. Two minutes and out, right? Well, a little battle about who was going to sit closest to the table began. Bryce pulled it his way. Bailey pulled it hers. Bryce pulled it his way, and one of those ear-splitting, two-year old toddler screams broke through the quiet calm of the bakery. I stepped over, gave them "the look" and continued with my selections. Not 30 seconds later, the table battle ensued again. Pull, tug, pull, tug, MIIIIIIINNNNNEEEEE. I turned to break up the carnage, when the ladies behind me covered their ears dramatically as one said to the other, all while shooting me with eye-daggers, "I can't take it in here. Let's go."
I quickly apologized to lady at the counter for scaring away her customers. She reassured me that it was ok and that those ladies were driving her just as crazy, complaining about how everything they wanted was sold out. It pays to be a regular I guess.
The whole affair really got me thinking, though. I'd be lying if I said my kids were perfect. They are by NO means perfect. But, I am used to getting nothing but compliments in public. We can go to any restaurant, grocery store, party, social gathering, park, etc and we rarely have an issue. I always hear about how cute, polite, well behaved, smart, etc they are. This was the first time ever that someone had looked at my children with utter disgust- and it hurt.
I wish I could've been quicker with my reaction. I wish I could've said something smart or sassy back to those ladies, but nothing came out of my mouth. All the good ideas come hours later. Grrrrrrrrr.
The reason I write this is to remind people not to make snap judgements. I've gotten so much better at this since I've had children of my own, but I certainly could do better. When a kid is having a moment in public- a meltdown, a fit, an attitude- please don't automatically assume that the child is bratty or the parents are useless. Maybe the child has special needs that you can't "see." Maybe the child is going through a rough time at home- a divorce, illness, or death in the family. Or, most likely, the child is just having a craptastic day. Heck, we all have bad days- we've all grumbled at the waitress who messed up our order, became impatient with the slow cashier in training, or blurted a choice word at the driver who cut us off. Adults have their moments and kids do too.
Instead think, is there anything small I can do to help? Can I give the child a distracting compliment? (hey I really like your race car shirt!) Can I hold the door for the struggling mom with a two year old, an infant seat, and 3 shopping bags? Can I let the frazzled dad with the fussing preschooler step in front of me in the grocery line? Even a sympathetic smile can make a big difference, and it is so much better than an eye roll and a look of disgust.
However one positive came out of this incident. I got to withhold the cookies I bought (they certainly didn't deserve the treat), so I am currently enjoying a delicious, sweet, almondy, frog shaped cookie. Yum.