I had my kids out at the theme park yesterday, well actually, the water park and then the theme park (spoiled little buggers). So of course, my son could not let the rather long and successful day go without causing an incident.
He is eleven, and I swear to god, he seems to have absolutely no self-control whatsoever when it comes to food. Almost every time that I mention this to another mother they swear that their son is the same way. It totally boggles my mind.
So it was late, and they wanted to hit one more roller coaster, and I hustled everyone into a restaurant that was getting close to closing just so that I could fill up my cup of coffee.
Just when I am handing my mug to the woman behind the counter who is about to deliver me that cup of rich warm heaven, I hear I woman shrieking at me from a couple of spaces back in line.
After I managed to decipher her alien language and figure out why in the hell she was pointing at my son like he had just torn the head off of a baby lamb (seriously, I was just about to look around for the blood-splatter), I got the message.
She was swearing up one side and sown the other that he had stuck his finger in one of the strawberry cheesecakes that the restaurant, (god love them), always puts in easy reach of children in a sparkly, shiny, sugary, spotlight. My son was shaking his head emphatically insisting that he had not.
Of course, I did not believe my son. I know that he has no rational thought when placed in close proximity to food, and I am an engaged and very observant parent, but it happened to be at that one special moment when I was attempting to communicate with an adult human for the purpose of procuring my damn coffee!
I could see absolutely no physical markings on any of the red jelly coated slices of slow death. We don’t eat sugar, and I could not bring myself to purchase a perfectly sellable piece of cake, to appease “I have never been in the presence of a human child in my entire life” lady in the back of the line.
I proceeded to give my son a rather ferocious public lecture about his behavior, along with grounding him from electronics for two days, before collecting my now not quite so blissfully exciting coffee, and herding the children out the door.
I was totally livid, but I honestly didn’t know whether I was more upset with my son, or with screech-owl lady, or with myself for not catching the kid in the moment. I pride myself on being a mom with really well behaved children, and having your kid called out in public sucks.
The more that I thought about it however, I realized how absolutely inappropriate the woman’s reaction actually was. On a realistic estimate, with those desserts that close to the public, one hundred fingers a day in the cheesecake is probably a very low guess.
After further long and laborious questioning of my son, he insisted that there was sauce running over the side of the plate, and that yes, he scooped it up with his finger and licked it. His grounding stands, and he knows that he will face some serious wrath if anything of the like ever happens again.
Unfortunately, the child-intolerant over-reactive lady who pointed out his behavior in line will never have the satisfaction of seeing him in the stocks, or publicly flogged as it was clear she thought he deserved.
In case you don’t have kids and might be interested in a recommendation as to how to deal with other people’s children who are misbehaving in public: all that I ever need to do is make eye-contact with the child committing the offense, and give them the look and they usually stop immediately.
The last thing that a mother needs is some random bystander freaking out on her child in public. No, this isn’t Europe. We don’t put the children away somewhere so that the adults will not be bothered.
Oh, and yeah, kids really like theme parks. Most parents take kids there and get them all hopped up on sugar too. Some of them go crazy pants out-of-control. If you dislike children I don’t recommend that you ever go there, ever, because you will not have a good time.
If you aren’t a parent, please try to be patient with us. We are all trying. Yesterday was just a normal day in my life of being a mom. I have three hundred and sixty-five of them every year, and I openly accept donations of coffee.