When Strangers Attack!

Last week, Dave, Viv and I ate at a casual outdoor restaurant that welcomes families.  Our 18-month-old is a delightful lunch companion, but she’s a bit of a slob, and new with a fork, so chunks of grilled cheese and an entire cob of corn had fallen to the patio below.

I was away from the table taking a phone call when a pair of middle-aged women approached Dave.  One joked that it was too bad her dog wasn’t there to eat the scraps.  The other rolled her eyes and muttered, “I have nothing to say about that,” looking pointedly at the mess.

When I came back to the table, I found poor Dave hanging his head in shame like that middle-aged lady’s dog (or so I imagine).

Welcome to Stranger Scorn, babe.   It’s here, it sears, get used to it.

Dave was shaken up.  I told him not to take it personally–that all parents of young children have at some point received rude comments about their kids, their parenting or both.

I gave examples:

  • A woman I know was rushing her crying baby to the back of an airplane, trying desperately to calm him, when a passenger glared at her, put a finger to his lips and hissed, “Shhhh!”  Like that helps.
  • A group of mommies and babies were dining at 5pm at a family restaurant, and the noise level got a little high.   An older woman stood up from her table just to gripe, “Did it ever occur to you ladies to order take-out?”
  • Then there was my friend Cathy who, while flying solo with her boisterous toddler, was asked by a passenger, “Can’t you just put him in a closet?”
  • I, too, had been a victim of Stranger Scorn.  While Viv waited with me for a doctor’s appointment, I read her stories to pass the time.  A man growled at me to keep it down.  When I protested, “She’s just a baby,” his wife helpfully clarified, “It’s not her.  It’s YOU.”

Maybe these jabs don’t sound that bad, but in all cases, the moms were humiliated and pushed to the edge of tears.  That’s because parents of young children are vulnerable.  Our skins are thin.  We’re exhausted, beaten down and plagued with doubt, constantly wondering if our parenting choices will result in years of therapy or the minting of a serial killer.

On the other side of the brouhaha, you have these grouchy, outspoken folks–often older people who’ve been parents themselves, but who seem to have completely forgotten what it’s like to raise a child.

Sometimes I wish I was wearing a t-shirt that says, “I’m doing the best I can.”  Or better yet, “You were once a baby too.”

Despite my best efforts to reassure him, Dave took that cranky lady’s comments to heart, wondering if Viv’s poor table manners were a sign that our parenting was too lax.  I argued that at this age, we’re better off working on taking turns, saying please and not shrieking.   Eating neatly involves motor skills that Viv hasn’t yet mastered.  When her manual dexterity catches up, we’ll break out the Emily Post.

I don’t think he’s convinced, and my sense is that we’ll be eating at home for a while.  The grouches win.

Look, I get that babies and toddlers are not the most relaxing of companions.  And if they’re not your kids, then you’re taking on some of the headaches (noise, mess, chaos) without gaining the joys (snuggles, giggles, I wub you mommy).  So while it may not be realistic or fair of me to expect strangers to embrace our kids like relatives, I wish they could find it in their hearts to keep their scorn to themselves.

We’re very impressionable, and did I mention, tired?

I swear, on my blog, that I will never, ever forget what it was like to raise a child.  I will endeavor to always have empathy and appreciation for new parents.  I want to be the stranger who, instead of grimacing and muttering insults, offers to prop open a door, fetch napkins or engage in a chorus of Twinkle Twinkle.

You can hold me to it.

If you’ve been a victim of Stranger Scorn, please leave a comment.  It will help me win this argument, and maybe see the inside of a restaurant again.

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63 Comments

  1. Rachel
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Wow those are some rude people! I guess I’m lucky I’ve never been subjected to that level of stranger scorn. Although who knows what they’re saying behind my back :)

    • Amy
      Posted July 10, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      Rachel, New Englanders must be more civilized – except at the ballpark.

  2. Susan
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    I was fumbling for my car keys while coming out of a store with my newborn in his stroller when a middle-aged woman scolded me to “get that baby into the shade.” Are you kidding me? It’s not like I had him sunbathing by the pool – we were on our way to the flipping car!

    • Amy
      Posted July 10, 2012 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      Susan, exactly. You’re reminding me of even more stories. A woman scolded me to “put socks on that baby” and another insisted my daughter was going to have vision damage because her hair was (temporarily) in her face (my pediatrician debunked this). People are so nosy, and kind of nuts!

  3. Corinna
    Posted July 9, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I’ve always wondered what these kind of comments tell us about the society we live in…and whether it wouldn’t be worth it to move to Italy, where children are accepted as a vital and joyous part of life and community (no matter how loud and unruly they may be at times!).

    • Amy
      Posted July 10, 2012 at 5:51 am | Permalink

      Reason #349 to move to Italy…I love it!

  4. Posted July 10, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I’ve been there, it is sad. It is even worse when it is your own husband that tells you to please keep the kid quiet, or mess free. Kind of hard when you are talking about a 1 year old. I think he just grew up in a way in which his mom made it seem like what others thought was more important then what was really there.

    • Amy
      Posted July 10, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Alex, that’s a great point. Sounds like your husband needs a full weekend of toddler duty…he might change his tune.

  5. Posted July 10, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Been on the losing end of a stranger attack a few times too many. It always shocks me how rude people can be. Once I was in line with my son at the grocery store and I happened to be pregnant at the time. An older lady was in line ahead of me and was not even trying to hide the dirty looks she was shooting me. At one point I leaned over and grabbed a divider for our separate purchases and she looked down at my hand and saw my wedding ring. She looked confused at first and then her face visibly softened. She then looked at me and said, “Good for you, honey.” It took me a minute to realize that she had been assuming that I was unwed with kids and I’m sure it was because I am a young mom (22) but that does not give anyone the right to judge me. I would still be a good and loving mom even if wasn’t married.

    • Amy
      Posted July 10, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      Holy judgement, Shelley! What is up with people? The funny thing is that I am an unmarried mom myself – but I guess people are too busy commenting on my kid’s messy eating to notice!

    • Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      That is disgusting! I would have had some words for that old lady.

  6. Katie
    Posted July 10, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    This post and the comments just remind me that “mean people suck” Thankfully, I’ve never had any one give me any attitude but I’m sure my time is coming. Just in case, I have my reply already picked out, “You know, I have a pretty good memory and I don’t remember you being there when I made my kid nor when I birthed him and you know what, you’re not going to be part of my parenting either.”

    • Amy
      Posted July 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      Katie, it’s good to be prepared with a witty comeback. I might have to borrow that one.

    • jml
      Posted September 12, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Then I guess it doesn’t “take a village” and nobody has to pay for your brat’s education either. You can’t have it both ways, honey.

      • Posted September 12, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

        JML, let’s play nice. I welcome your comments and your perspective but there’s no call for insults.
        Amy recently posted..7 Lame Things That Turned Awesome When I Became A ParentMy Profile

      • CB
        Posted October 3, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        You think just because your taxes go to fund public education, you have the right to be rude and insulting to parents of young children? My 3 1/2 year old is currently learning about “respect” in her daycare. You should visit sometime.

  7. suzy
    Posted July 13, 2012 at 4:49 am | Permalink

    i had a brilliant idea to take my 1 yr. old daughter to the east coast on the redeye assuming (wrongly!) that she would sleep the whole way. Every time my daughter was about to nod off the TV in the aisle would flicker a different awfully bright color. She was miserable and so was everyone around us since they all wanted to sleep. We were getting glares and hrrmphs from all angles. At some point the man in the seat in front of my daughter handed me a PILL and suggested I give it to my daughter to help her sleep.

    • Amy
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

      Suzy, that is brutal. Moms hardly ever find dangerous suggestions amusing, even if meant sarcastically. Did you tell him where he could put his pill?

  8. Margo
    Posted July 13, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I was in church on Easter Sunday with my 2 year old. Before church I was giving her some cheerios (I know, I know. I’m one of those) This old bag behind me was telling her son, “I can’t believe that Mother’s these days have to control their children with food? They don’t know how to tell their kids just to sit and be quiet!” I turned around and said, “I can hear you, ya know, oh and when does the Easter Bunny get here?” :-) We left.

    • Amy
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Margo, LOL. I’m a big fan of Cheerios myself.

  9. Posted July 13, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Yup, and it happened at a restaurant as well. And my kid was a mess. But I talked myself through it. For instance, if my child wasn’t welcome there, they wouldn’t have had high chairs for children. There wouldn’t have been a kids’ menu. And the wait staff may have been rude. But they had the high chairs, the kids’ menu, and friendly and accommodating wait staff. So I know my child was welcome there. The other patrons should have stayed home or gone to another restaurant.

    • Posted July 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      “The other patrons should have stayed home or gone to another restaurant…”

      Really? Everyone else, staff, patrons, business owners are supposed to leave or just deal with it because you refuse to take responsibility for your kid? The highchairs are there as a convenience so that families can include their children, NOT as a free pass for irresponsible people to let their kids yell down the place or create a disaster zone.

      THAT attitude is why so many people feel that they can be rude to parents and why good parents get lumped in with rude, thoughtless parents.

      If you and your clan are the cause of disturbances to others, others who have paid their ticket, bought their meal, or are just trying to exercise their right to quiet enjoyment, you have the responsibility to do everything that you can to end the disturbance. Sometimes that means getting a doggy bag and heading home. That’s responsible behavior. I spent years seeing half a movie, having people over for dinner rather than going out, and leaving early…why? Because I have kids and I am responsible to them and for them.

      Far too many people figure that just because they brought life into this world, everyone else on the planet should just deal with it.

      • Stephana
        Posted July 13, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Alexandrea, for sharing what I was thinking.

      • Katie
        Posted July 18, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

        whoa! judgmental much? She never said she wasn’t disciplining her child. Her rationalizing was probably her way of dealing with the overwhelming mommy guilt that we all face. Rude comments like yours only intensify that FYI

    • Amy
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Alli, are you like me & always leave great tips to compensate for the mess? It’s no wonder the waiters are nice to us…they know there will be guilt money a-coming!

  10. Stephana
    Posted July 13, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Can I offer one glimmer of hope? When my daughter was about year old, my then-husband and were on a red-eye back from Maui. My daughter just could not get comfortable and my husband and I were doing our best to soothe her, but she shrieked and screamed for about two hours. The other passengers were awesome. They gave us sympathetic smiles and one woman told me quietly, “I’ve been there.” Not everyone is horrible, I promise!

    • Amy
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      Stephana, thanks for the ray of sunshine!

  11. Posted July 13, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    I’m not a parent and never will be, but I could not live with myself if I was a jackass to people with kids, even when I have to wait 15 minutes for a bathroom stall when some mom is in there with her 2 kids because OMG I can’t IMAGINE how hard it is to wrangle two kids in a bathroom stall. It’s gotta be like an Olympic event (maybe it should be? Extra points for keeping the kids from touching germy surfaces, keeping the toilet paper in one piece instead of shreddy shreds, and closing all fasteners and buttons).

    And I WILL help with holding doors, lifting stollers down curbs, grabbing handfuls of napkins for a spilled drink – because my mom had 5 kids and I would have wanted someone to help HER.

    It’s not heroic. It’s not a bother. It’s called being a human being.

    • Amy
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Suebob, that’s very cool of you. You’re damn right about the bathroom, and I’ve only managed that with one kid so far. I wish there were more human beings like you.

  12. Posted July 13, 2012 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    I really do not know why some people have to be so horrible and judgemental!
    This reminds me of Heather Spohrs post when her husband took Annie into the mens bathroom and an old lady was horrible and rude to him about it.
    where else was he supposed to take her?!? she’s a toddler! it’s not like he was talking her into a swingers club!
    these people need to get a grip!

    • Amy
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

      Becca, that sounds like an interesting post – feel free to leave a link here.

  13. Posted July 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    I have three boys, a 19 year old and twins who are 13. So I have been there. Because of my work, I have lived all over the world and traveled with the kids extensively.

    Rude comments are not limited to child rearing. I was asked “do you really need that?” while eating an ice cream cone. The idiot thought I was just fat instead of five months pregnant with twins, but 13 years later, it still makes me cringe to think of the judgement. So I really do understand how insensitive comments can hurt and can stick.

    BUT not every parent is the innocent victim. I have been to plenty of restaurants where parents talked among themselves while their kids tore around the restaurant screaming, “playing” and disrupting other customers as well as making it dangerous for staff. Why should the meal that I pay for be ruined so that someone else can make the restaurant their babysitter?

    I have been the harried mother on the London to New York flight with 6 month old twins. So I know that the combination of air pressure, cramped confines, and strange noises can make babies crazy. But I have sat near parents who let their kid wail for the entire trip saying, “oh we want to break little Billy of the pacifier.”

    Early in life, I also worked briefly as a waitress and have cleaned up the food, crayons, dirty diapers, and mess left by parents who not only didn’t take responsibility for their kids, but didn’t bother to tip extra for the fact that other people had to clean up after them. That $2.00 tip doesn’t make up for the hour that inconsiderate parents sat there ordering nothing but coffee or the 15 minutes someone will have to spend cleaning up after them when they leave.

    If you and your clan are the cause of disturbances to others, others who have paid their ticket, bought their meal, or are just trying to exercise their right to quiet enjoyment, you have the responsibility to do everything that you can to end the disturbance. That’s responsible behavior. I spent years seeing half a movie, having people over for dinner rather than going out, and leaving early…why? Because I have kids and I am responsible to them and for them.

    Far too many people figure that just because they brought life into this world, everyone else on the planet should just deal with it. Maybe fewer people would feel the need to comment if more parents would take responsibility for their kids and be aware of others. That being said, there will always be some rude jerks and if you are doing the right thing, you just have to ignore them.

    • Amy
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Alexandra, I like your balanced viewpoint. Though I want get in a time machine so I can throttle the ice cream commenter on your behalf.

  14. Posted July 13, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Parents of young children should move to Catalonia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalonia. If a child is crying in public it becomes everyone’s business to make it happy again which is the opposite to how you have all been treated by others. That and they spend most of their lives sitting outside coffee shops chatting and laughing. My ideal, perhaps with a pram too? I don’t think you should have to take attitudes like that and I love the idea of ‘I’m doing my best’ T-shirt but it really isn’t their business. I want to have witty remarks to make when my time comes to deal with this kind of bad attitude I just hope I can think of them at the time!

    • Amy
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      KayleighAnn, maybe a vacation to Catalonia is in order. Sounds divine.

  15. DanielleinDC
    Posted July 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    I’m not a mom and never will be. I’m also not a huge fan of children. However, I would never be rude to someone like that unless the child were acting up and the parents were doing nothing about it.

    • Amy
      Posted July 13, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

      Danielle, I dig your bluntness. Agree it’s frustrating to see parents not stepping up. Of course there are times like a massive leg-kicking on the floor toddler tantrum where there is literally nothing you can do until it’s over. It only takes 2 minutes, but it feels like 10 years and as the parent you’re mortified.

  16. Posted July 15, 2012 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Next time, hand the toddler to them and say, “Here. See if you can keep them quite and clean while we eat.” :)
    Kidding…would never hand my child to mean ol’ grumpy people who, obviously, dont have kids or are too old to remember what it was like.
    And try taking 5 boys and a baby girl out to eat!! Thats LOADS of fun for the ENTIRE resturant! Haha ;)

    • Amy
      Posted July 16, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

      Shanae I’m in awe of you eating out with 6 kids!

  17. Posted July 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    What I love is when people complain about the noise kids are making in a restaurant like Red Robin. Hi, it’s geared towards families. There is a giant animal walking around in a suit. It’s one step above Chuck E Cheese.

    I’ve gotten it all. The you’re subjecting your baby to a life of stupidity and obesity…all because of formula. The anti-vaccine nazi’s at my girls school. The socks of baby in August. Hi, it’s AUGUST! The if you loved your kids, you’d of stayed married. I could continue, but I won’t. At this point I just tend to nod and continue on my way. It helps that my kids are generally very well behaved in public.

    • Amy
      Posted July 18, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Issa, sounds like I’m preaching to the choir!

  18. Posted July 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    I agree with almost everything posted so far! I’ve worked as a nanny, I understand the stresses and how sometimes there is NOTHING that can calm a 2year old who is teething and whose face HURTS and doesn’t understand why. I love kids. I want some, soon! But…..
    I’ve also been that waitress who’s had spaghetti thrown at her by a 4 year old, whose parents did nothing, and dodged 3year olds running loose in a restaurant (which is DANGEROUS, people!!) and cleaned up a HUGE mess of OPENED sugar packets dumped out and wasted on the table (at a freakin’ FOUR STAR restaurant). I’ve been tipped large, and tipped small, and one time I overheard a person at the table say, Why should I clean it up, I don’t work here. I was FUMING. Because table mess, regular clean up, sure, that’s the servers’ job. Cleaning up after YOUR child YOU let run amuck, nope. That’s YOUR job!

    Basically yes, I think…. behaviour comes down (mostly) to parenting. If your 2 year old is teething, stay home, let the poor monkey sleep it off. If you KNOW they need a nap and you’re going out later, and they don’t get their nap…be prepared to end your night earlier! You know your child, and what they need. They’re children. We have a responsibility to that little person to put their needs first.

    NEVER is it okay in my books to be RUDE to a total stranger, especially if they are obviously doing what they can to defuse the situation with the child. And yes, I will be the person making goofy faces to help the mom/dad/caregiver out, or holding a door, or offering to help off the bus.
    Cuz one day, that’s gonna be me! Laugh.
    Sorry for the rant!

    • Amy
      Posted July 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      Shannyn, awesome to get the perspective of a former nanny AND waitress – I trust you know what you’re talking about. You’re going to be a great mom someday!

  19. Jan D
    Posted July 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    I have a service dog, one that small children are very attracted to. He wears a very visible vest and does not leave my side while working. Dealing with adults that don’t realize seeing a dog in a place that does not allow pets means he is working, is a big pain, Worse than that, are the parents who think it’s our job to distract their kids! No your child can’t pet him, he is working. I don’t care how loud your child is crying, or that they are having a major meltdown in the middle of the grocery store. You STILL can’t pet my service dog.

    And if you keep trying to distract my dog so your special snowflake can touch him then this stranger is so going to get angry. Possible up to and including calling the manager of the store and getting you and your brood booted. But, attack, I think that is far to strong a word for some one making a rude comment because they are frustrated

    • Amy
      Posted July 18, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

      Jan, thanks for your comment. I can imagine this is trying problem for you. Is there a “best” way that parents can explain the service dog rules to young children to help them understand? I’d love to know.

      • Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        I wouldn’t normally advocate planting your kid in front of a tv screen, but in this case – there is an episode of Clifford (aired on PBS) that deals with this exact situation – when a service animal can play vs. when the animal is on the job. That was really all it took for my daughter to figure it out. After she saw the episode, if she saw a dog in uniform, she would point out, “Mommy, that dog is working right now, right?”

        And yes, I’ve dealt with B.S. like that from strangers. My daughter is hard of hearing, so when she was younger and we were out in a noisy situation, I had to raise my voice to cut through the din and get her attention. I got dirty looks from other moms ALL THE TIME. Once, I had a mom let out an audible “ugh.” I turned to hear and said, “She’s partially deaf.” That was it. I knew she felt like a turd after my retort, and that was all I needed. :)

        • Amy
          Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

          Karen, thanks, I’ll definitely have my DVR looking for the Clifford episode. Love your story – sometimes the truth is the best retort.

  20. Snowy
    Posted July 19, 2012 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    I recall some controversy years back when a restaurant banned young families.

    My mother (probably 70+ at the time) said “good, little kids shouldn’t be allowed”.

    I asked her if she ever went to restaurants with her kids, grand kids and great grand kids, to which she replied…

    “Oh yeah, I did, I got told off, I told them to get stuffed. That restaraunter needs a good talking too!”

    So soon people forget the hard nights and days that followed the hard nights and days.

    If I ever find myself with a disturbing child, rather than castigating the parents or child, I ask if they would like a 5 minute break. Often a friendly, but unfamiliar face, will calm a child while their curiosity takes over (and they find themselves in the company of a refreshed, patient adult, rather than their frantic parents).

  21. Katrina
    Posted July 22, 2012 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I grew up in a family of four kids all within 5.5 years of each other. I remember a time being out for our annual back to school dinner (my parents were both educators) when I, the youngest, was probably around 6 and an older couple approaching my parents part way through the meal. They wanted to tell my parents that when we had first sat down (it was a bit of a nicer restaurant) they thought to themselves “there goes the meal”. However, they felt they needed to come over and compliment my parents on how well behaved we were and how they’d never seen a group of young children behave themselves so well in a restaurant. I’ll never forget that.

    I’ve also been the bus girl who had to clean up after the tables where kids were allowed to run wild and make a total mess of the place while their parents sat, drank coffee and smoked, never once raising their voices or disciplining their children. It works both ways. If you want people to be considerate and understanding of you, then you need to be considerate and understanding of them.

    • Amy
      Posted July 22, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Katrina, would love to get some tips from your parents – they sound like good ones. As for your bus girl experience, it’s hard for me to imaging relaxing to the point of kicking back over coffee and (yuck) cigarettes at a restaurant while watching young children. I am usually getting the check as soon as I order and I’m on a sort of tense high alert the whole meal. You’re right about consideration being a two way street.

  22. Posted September 12, 2012 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I think that, if The Village has to support in the raising of a child (which it has, since everybody, even unchilded person, pay taxes for things like schools, not to mention tax refounds) then it had right to talk about behaviour it consideres inaceptable.

  23. Posted September 12, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    I am guilty of shaming, yes I am. But I’m a waiter and hate cleaning up after kids who make messes.
    TheBitchyWaiter recently posted..Dude Looks Like a LadyMy Profile

  24. Nathan
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    All y’all are jerks! When we adults go out in public we want adult conversation and adult enviornoments. We do not want to be harrassed by someone else’s larvae. If we wanted larvae, we would stay home with a hot pocket and watch Dora the Dinosaur on TV. Why do you think it is your right to bring your larvae infested world out into ours? Don’t you want at least one hour of your week free from those parasites? We do!

    • Posted September 13, 2012 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Nathan, I (and others) be much more open to your point of view if you didn’t purposely try to antagonize. I agree that adults deserve quiet time, and for that I suggest you choose restaurants that don’t cater to families and that you attend these restaurants after 6p.

  25. Katarina
    Posted September 12, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

    Awwwwwwww! The Village, who pays for your trophy’s education, who is being leeched for your kid tax breaks, who has to pay for its healthcare, who has to pick up your slack at work (if you work), expects you to actually raise it and show some common curtesy when you unleash it on the unsuspecting public? People who have raised their kids properly don’t want to listen to yours, shrieking its head of? People who hired someone to mind their kids so that they could have an evening with adults don’t want to watch your kid smear food on itself and throw the rest around? The horror!

    All I can say to you is: Good! Keep it at home until you learn how to control it! Take some parenting classes while you’re at it as well! A child is not a fashion accessory. Either be a parent to it or put it up for adoption.

    • Posted September 13, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      I have my very own troll!! I feel like I have made it as a blogger.

      To my readers, this troll comes to us from a cheerful website called Refugees Bratfree — a bunch of anti-parent folks who refer to moms as “moos.”

      I’m not sure what they’re advocating – that the human race die out?

      Katarina, your argument is not going to hold much water when the “leeches” are paying for YOU in your old age. What goes around comes around.

      • Barbara
        Posted September 13, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Nobody is advocating that the human race die out. I believe people are free to choose whether or not to have children. If you choose to have children, you are responsible for teaching them how to behave appropriately. You also need to understand that some places or events are not appropriate for children. Sometimes you need to get a babysitter or stay home with your child. Sometimes you need to remove your child from a situation when the child misbehaves.

        Furthermore, nobody is “anti-parent.” People have every right to object when a child misbehaves and creates problems and the parents don’t do anything to correct the behavior or remove the child.

        • Posted September 13, 2012 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          Barbara, you sound like a reasonable person, but when commenters refer to children as a larvae, leeches or trophies, how could I not infer some negative “anti-parent” (or is it “anti-children?”) intentions? Or perhaps the commenters are just acting tough to show off. No way for me to know. The debate over the best way to share public space is an interesting one to me, but when insults are hurled, it’s difficult to have a good dialogue.

  26. TheTimeVortex
    Posted September 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t get me wrong here. First of all I know I wasn’t there; second, I am often quite pleased to see parents of little children – especially those around the same age as your Viv – board the bus when I’m on, as seeing their smiles and such as they sit with their parents, and often the widening grin if I wave hello to them, is a pleasant way to pass the time. (As children at that age are so SUNNY and it is so easy to get a smile from them- people really do need to stop the grown up tantrums every time a child gets a little cranky…that is really unproductive and counterintuitive as well as rude. I could go on, but I’m getting off topic…) On the other hand, some people might not like to see so MUCH mess of food on the floor. Perhaps bringing larger-handled/easier-to manipulate Beginner’s Fork, and an adequately sized pair of those corn cob skewer-handles, could help minimize these people’s complaints while still allowing children to learn to eat like grown ups do?

  27. L.
    Posted September 14, 2012 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    It’s like anything else, your right to swing your arm end where my nose begins.

    It’s quite simply, unreasonable of you to expect the other patrons of a restaurant to listen to your kids making noise. The same way it’s rude for adults to talk loudly on cell phones or play ipads at a volume others can hear.

    As for being embarassed by the mess your child leaves? Pick it up! It’s your job to clean up after your child. The reason servers hate seeing kids in their sections is because many of them allow their kids to toss food and crayons all over and then don’t feel the need to clean up after them. Can you not see that’s rude? As a waitress I’m actually more annoyed by the parent who giggle and say “oops I guess we made a mess!” In a “ha ha kids will be kids” tone of voice without it ever occuring to them to pick up after their own. Would you go to somebody else’s home and allow that?

  28. Posted September 17, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I am a server and can’t imagine saying something like that!!! IT’S A BABY. THEY ARE MESSY. I’m sorry that happened to you!
    yudelnoodle recently posted..Pregnant Women DrinkingMy Profile

    • Posted September 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Thanks–they sure are messy. I’ll check out your blog.

  29. Melanie
    Posted November 18, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    Wow to all the hate here! I(luckily) haven’t had too many issues with evil people while out and about with my daughter(about to turn 1 in 9 days!). I can see both sides of some of these issues, but I draw a line at rudeness. If people want to be in adult environments, then why come on here and act as if you’re a child? If I go to any public place and my baby has any bouts of craziness I bring her back home. Simply because I don’t want to share the noise :P Babies can be extremely messy, end of story. But anywhere I go I always have wet wipes on hand and clean up any mess made by my little stinker. I do the same even if I accidentally spill something. I’ve always been thoughtful that way even before having a baby. I’m so sorry to hear all the mean things people have said to all of you. I get tons of compliments on her and not any hate against her… if I did I’m sure I’d be sitting behind bars for a minute XD. I haven’t had any verbal rudeness, but physical yes! I love walking through a store carrying 20+ lbs of wriggling fury, and people just about collide with you and infant and look at you like you’re rude! Excuse me! Sorry I didn’t dive out of your way fast enough so you can go get 15 more cases of soda you ass! When I was pregnant with her I was rear ended in my car while stopped waiting to turn(this guy was no where i sight when I stopped and came out of nowhere! He started freaking out when I told him I was 8 1/2 months pregnant… as if the “Baby on Board” sign didn’t spell it out for him! Because it’s normal to wreck into non pregnant people anyhow… moron. And as for people paying “taxes” for our brats… psshhh. Because no parent “EVER” paid into taxes!!! Get over yourselves!!! Some people just need to lighten up and realize this is for fun and to share experiences, not attack people because you have nothing better to do but harass others. Get a life. And I worked food service/catering for 8 years and dealt with many children. Surprisingly the children did a better job cleaning up after themselves than ANY of the college/HS kids/adults!!! Sadly…

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