We’ll be taking back that award now…

I avoid baby stores like the plague, for they are full of my least favorite things: parents.

Babies have excuses for socially unacceptable behavior. Parents? Not so much.

Example from a recent trip, taken under duress and only because there simply isn’t any way to get a few necessary baby items if one goes to a regular store (by few, I mean one; and by necessary I mean newborn head support for Hazelnut’s car seat. The organic cheese puffs were not the reason for the trip, so don’t judge me. Okay, they were a secondary reason, but the baby superawfulstore is closer than a natural food store. And the head support. I’m trying to support my infant’s head, people. And they are grilled cheese puffs, made with natural chemicals and organic empty calories to taste like crunchy grilled cheese.)

Anyway.

Dad and Mom are shopping with one year old child. Mom is carrying her, but hands her to Dad as she investigates all the useless and lame sippy cup technology available at the baby superawfulstore.

Child wants to hold Dad’s glasses. He gives them to her. She shakes them. Then drops or throws them. He says:

“No. Don’t do that. That is being a bad girl. Do not throw Daddy’s glasses. I do not want you to do that. That is being very, very bad. No, I will not hug you. You do not get hugs when you are very bad. Bad girl.” Her lip is out; she’s sad and trying to hug him. He puts his glasses back on and walks away before I hear whether she cries.

Ladies and gentlemen of the Academy, I want to give this man a parenting award. He didn’t hit her for dropping or throwing the glasses, and in so doing, allowed her exactly one chance to express a totally normal scientific impulse: experimentation with gravity. She needed to see what happened to the glasses if they dropped. Sure he withheld love and told her that she was a flawed person for disobeying instructions he thought but never expressed aloud; but he didn’t beat her as most of the parents in the superawfulstore tend to. And that generous restraint is why she will grow up with stupendous self esteem and be willing to stand up for what’s right in the world. Ladies and gentlemen of the Academy, this man is a Nobel Peace Prize waiting to happen. He’s preventing future wars and genocide by teaching love, patience, and respect.

And if they don’t give him an award, they are very, very bad and he won’t hug them even if they cry. A guy’s gotta put his foot down, after all, with a parenting award committee that’s totally new to this planet and its rules.

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I’m not nice

It will come as no surprise to those of you who know me that I’m not nice. I’m not even an acquired taste. I’m a saucy, negative little smartass, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that the planet needs me this way.

But this week I take the cake. And refuse to share it.

Peanut wanted stories. I told him in a minute. I really meant a minute. I needed a few more spoonsful of soup. From the kitchen I heard him whining and frustrated that something wasn’t working. Probably having trouble climbing up on the bed. Or pulling book out of the overstuffed shelf. Whatever. I said in a minute. After a day of doing everything you want when you want it, you can wait while I finish the last few bites of my soup.

Crash. Cry. [Evaluate. Frustrated cry? Or hurt cry? The former gets a few beats before I respond. The latter gets a sprint and guilt at my absence during the injury.] Definitely hurt cry. I run into the bedroom. P has pulled a lamp off a high shelf and onto his head.

My response? Once I saw there was no blood I was glad it hit his head on the way down because pull cord=pain is better than pull cord=loud noise=crash=broken glass=delayed pain. Cuz I’m all about clear consequences. And intact lamps.

Hence the title. I really am not nice. Oh, really, a few of you say? Not too bad? Well how about the lecture he got about waiting patiently and about how the world does no revolve around him and that we do everything on his time table but I needed my lunch and he can wait next time? Hmmm? Is that nice? Telling him that sometimes Mommy comes first while he cries that his head hurts? Nope. By no account is that nice. Nor is the fact that, after I got him onto the bed and had his book ready I gave him another lecture.

M:Why did you pull that cord?
P: Because I needed help onto the bed so I needed to pull the cord.
M: And did pulling the cord help you get up? Hmmm? Did that work out for you?
P: [laughing] No.
M: So did you need to pull the cord?
P: No.
M: Did you like having a lamp bounce off your head and crash on the floor and make a big noise and make everything go blaaaaah?
P: [laughing again] No.
M: Hmmm. Maybe next time you could call for help. Or pull the comforter. Or try Daddy’s side of the bed, since it always has more of the covers than Mommy’s.
P: Yeah. Daddy is a cover grabber.
M: He is. But at least he doesn’t grab lamp cords.