I was browsing at Chapters the other week as some moms and kids are wont to do on a rainy day. We had some birthday gifts to pick up and R needed an outing so playing at the train table and looking at books seemed like the perfect way to pass an hour or so. Until we got there.
R, K and I rolled up to the kids play area and R noticed the plasma car was not being used so she got on and got ready to play. This gorgeous little girl immediately ran over and grabbed the back of the car with an intense look in her eye that eloquently expressed “MY CAR”. I said to the little girl “no honey, it is her turn now”. R misunderstood my vague use of pronouns and thought I meant it was the little girl’s turn so she hopped right off and relinquished the car. R ran over to the cute little shopping cart and started to play with that instead. Little girl darts over and the same situation played out with my repeated use of vague pronouns and R giving up the toy. I realized I wasn’t being clear and walked over to R and said quietly “sorry kiddo, I didn’t mean for you to let it go. She is having a hard time sharing today”. All the while this little girl’s mom is sitting over in a chair with a friend who has an infant, sipping her venti latte and happily letting me parent her child. Now, maybe I should have seen her venti latte as a cry for help. Maybe she was so lacking in energy that she needed to injest the caffeine, ignoring all her obligations and responsibilities as a parent. Maybe it was a matter of health, mental or otherwise. I don’t know. Either way, her coffe and conversation was clearly so pressing that she was completely ignoring her daughter. We were all trying to ignore her daughter actually. To be honest, her daughter was acting like a bit of an asshole. She was screaming any time someone touched one of ‘her’ trains. She was running around grabbing things off the shelves and from other kids (i.e. my kid), and was basically being a little terror. By this point her mom had taken some notice and was shouting from her chair “you need to change your attitude, you are in so much trouble, no treats for you”. Little Terror (LT) kept responding in increasing volumes “NOOOOOOOOO! I AM CHANGING MY ATTITUDE! I WANT MY TREEEEEEEEEEATS!”. Other mothers were rolling eyes at each other, steering their kids away from LT and her mother and trying to ride out the storm until they left.
It took way too long for them to leave, but when they finally did R actually breathed a sigh of relief and got down to some satisfying play time. I hate to judge (not really, I do it all the time), but when a mom is clearly doing little to nothing to model appropriate behaviour for the kid who is acting like an LT I have to lay down some judgement. Namely – get off your ass! Who do you think you are letting your kid run around terrorizing the place just because you want to veg out and drink your overpriced coffee? Chapters is not a free daycare! It is a public place! I wanted to punch her kid in all honesty but in hindsight I feel badly for poor LT. With no guidance, rules, consequences or behaviour modeling how do you expect your kid to thrive? I would have much more sympathy for a kid who is being a bit of a terror if their mom or dad was right in there trying to help them make good decisions. What a shit show.
Anyhoo, we played, had snacks, and spent way too much money. It was an enlightening afternoon.