Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Would someone shut that kid up?

Ladybug is a social butterfly. She’ll jabber up a storm with whoever will listen and left a trail of victims during our two-hour wait to board the plane.

I’m always a bit hesitant to let Ladybug babble with strangers. They’re obliging enough, carrying on a conversation with the typical Oh, really? Tell me about it. Uh-huh. What do you see? I stand by Ladybug’s side as she chatters and will sweep her up when she gets too close – setting off an inevitable scene of screams and kicks until I put her down and she heads right back to the last person she was talking to.

I never know how to handle those situations. What’s proper stranger etiquette? I found myself saying, “Let me know if we’re bothering you and I’ll keep her away,” but the people she had targeted said they didn’t mind.

Still, I couldn’t help wondering what was going through their heads. I think back to my pre-mom days and how I’d roll my eyes at the parents who couldn’t control their kids. And I’ve been known to say to my husband in exaggerated whispers, “Can’t they shut that kid up? Wait until we have our own. They won’t behave like that.”

But here I was in an airport, trying to get Ladybug to burn up her extra energy in the hope she’d sleep on the plane, letting her talk to whoever was in her path and run wherever her legs would carry her.

I got some sympathetic glances and a few “I know what you’re going through” comments. But I also saw the travelers who were rolling their eyes and leaning in to whisper something to the person sitting next to them. I could just imagine the criticism we were getting.

But that’s OK, I thought. What goes around comes around. Just wait until you have kids.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was the same way before I had kids. Now, I don't dare look down at any parent. Even if their child is having a temper tantrum in the middle of the floor, in a restaurant, I'm just thankful it's not me. I have empathy. Try not to let those people that roll their eyes and whisper get to you. My theory on that is that if they can't handle being around children, they shouldn't be in public places! As long as you're doing everything thing you can to make your child mind, let them whisper and roll. I'm sure it makes them feel better about themselves. "Oh, if only I could go back to those much simpler days where someone else's child would be the talk of my day"!

July 9, 2007 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Michelle Mahfoufi said...

I try to remind myself that I'll most likely never see those people again, so who cares what they think.
There was one particularly empathetic stranger in the airport -- a little boy of about seven or eight. When he saw I was having the hardest time keeping Ladybug calm, he came over with his stuffed bunny that had a broken ear. He explained that he used to get upset all the time too, and that's how his bunny's ear got broke. How cute is that?

July 9, 2007 at 9:29 AM  

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