I'm going to make this quick because I'm so tired I...zzzzzzzzz...*snort*...huh?
The problem with Claire

Why I really have to stick with the mom friends I have

This morning the boys and I were downtown, with a few hours to kill. I decided to take them to the ginormous Cherry Creek Mall, to play in the play place there. It’s a carpeted area with big foam squishy breakfast foods to climb and slide and jump on. Max loves to slide on the bacon, Raphi loves to leap from sausage link to sausage link, and Tre…well, Tre is really getting too big for the play place, which he finds entirely unfair.

But see, the area is mostly populated by moms with their one wee toddler child. They hover, they exclaim, they take pictures. Such moms simply cannot deal with a great huge ten year old jumping about, threatening their very child’s life and limb. Nor should they have to.

Max and Raphael, however, were in heaven.

Ok, I admit, I allowed Tre a few discrete laps. He was as sedate as he could be and no yuppie-spawn were injured.

Sorry.

I suppose this is when I should confess that this PLACE and the PEOPLE there tend to put me on edge. WAIT. Let me OWN MY FEELINGS. I am overly sensitive to the looks and comments of the competitive parenting crowd at the Cherry Creek Mall. I ADMIT THAT. See, these are people who own entire libraries devoted to the subject of child-rearing. They have advanced theories on the use of "I statements" in conflict resolution. They know where all their child's socks are.

And I, just by the virtue of having THREE kids, do not fit in. I mean, when I show up with my ranging herd of boys, they shoot me alarmed looks, as though we were going to start rifling through their baby bags and looting their color-coded tupperware containers of organic low-sodium oat circle cereal. Which I would never do, preferring to feed my children the butter soaked pretzels from the pretzel stand. Heh.

Anyhow, our time there was spent without incident. I chuckled with a grandfather over the antics of his ADORABLE flaxen-haired princess of a granddaughter. Seriously, this little girl could be the twirly ballerina in a music box; she was that sweet and girly. Oh my, made my ovaries ache. I chatted with a mom about the best place in the mall for shoes. I was the lucky recipient of several enthusiastic trot-by kissings from both Max and Raphael. Life was good.

Then I announced to the boys that it was time to go, and started herding them toward their shoes. We were almost there when I heard a thump and a scream. Before I could turn around, a mom went tearing past me, shrieking,

“WHY DID YOU DO THAT?” I turned to see her scoop up her little girl. Who Raphael had apparently knocked down.

Let me interject here to say that from my understanding, after interviewing several eyewitnesses (Raphael and Max), that Raphael did not INTEND to knock the little girl down. What I gather happened is that they both leaped for the same squishy egg yolk at the same time. The poor child was the unfortunate victim of physics, as her delicate little frame was no match for my son’s sturdy build. It was not a STRIKE per se, but a BUMP.

Nonetheless.

The little girl was screaming, and Raphael was standing there on the egg yolk, staring in slack-jawed amazement as this mom YELLED AT HIM.

“THAT WAS SO MEAN! YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO ACT LIKE THAT! WHY DID YOU DO THAT?” I’m pretty sure it’s only the presence of her daughter’s precious ears that stopped her from cussing him out. She was that mad.

I didn’t find her approach very…productive, so I stepped in and snatched Raphi up, throwing a quick apology over my shoulder. I sat him on a bench and started putting his shoes on.
”I didn’t try to hurt that girl, Mama,” he told me earnestly.

“I know, baby. Accidents happen. But she DID get hurt, and you should tell her you’re sorry.”

“But I DIDN’T TRY to hurt her.”

“I know. But you should still tell her you’re sorry, because even if you didn’t do it on purpose, you ARE sorry she’s hurt.” He sighed and nodded in assent. I took him by the hand and led him over to the little girl, who was still weeping in the arms of her mother.

“I’m sorry,” muttered Raphael.

“WHY DID YOU DO THAT? IT WAS SO MEAN! YOU HURT HER!” Flecks of spit flew through the air to accompany her rant.

“HEY!” I made my voice just that much louder than hers, and then followed in her shocked silence, “he’s TRYING to apologize.”

“Oh,” she said. “Oh. Ok. Fine.” I nudged Raphi, and he repeated his apology. As we turned to go, the woman hissed after us,

“It WAS mean, though.”

So I spun around and caught her on the temple with a roundhouse kick. She crumpled to the floor. I stood over her prone form, looked deep into her eyes as they fought to focus, and said in a low, dark tone,

“Don’t. Yell. At. My. Baby. Now go play nice.”

Ok, I didn’t.

But I wanted to. Ohhhh, how I wanted to.

Comments

Nic

Don't you just hate it when the parents of other children are less mature then your child is trying to be?

Liz

BITCH!!! Let me at her! How dare she!

Take solace in the fact that when her kid grows another ten pounds and starts knocking around someone else's kid, she'll feel bad about this.

My kid used to be the biter at daycare. Oh the shame. This one mom made me feel like crap about it, like I was secretly coating her little boy in chocolate so that Lauryn would chomp down on his chubby arms. I can't tell you how good it felt when her kid became the biter! Touche!

Jensgalore

It's so hard to stay rational when our children are under attack. Good for you, for not losing it!

Heather McCutcheon

My child was (is, on certain days) a biter... and one child in particular... the dad of said child is not helpful at all in this case and it's all I can do to not grab him by his 'too old to be wearing baggy pants' ears and knock his head on the wall....

The fact that his kid is the day care bully and has been the one to introduce all sorts of colourful language to the rest of the kids is a little comfort.

Kira I don't think I could have shown as much restraint, Thank you for being the bigger person!!

Mir

I just love you.

But you knew that.

Can you bring Raphi over to pummel my kids? :)

Heather

Oh, girl, you have so much more self-controlt han me. I wish we could take our boys there together. Hehe. I am not one of those organic mommies either and I feel the exact same way around them.

libby

I confess, I have one child, a girl, and would be the person shooting dagger looks at the 10 year old boys rough-housing in the play area. But, I would never respond to Raphi like that, I swear. I commend you on your restraint.

laura

It sounds like this lady is an expert on what constitutes mean behavior, as she practices it so proficiently herself against little tiny boys. What a bee-hatch.

Angela Giles Klocke

Oh, but we'd have paid good money to see it!

Carrie

I. Love. It. You are a guaranteed smile whenever I need one. Thanks for that. :)

MollieBee

Fuck Cherry Creek. I cannot stand that mall/area.

Have you been to the Children's Museum? It's kinda pricy, but really fun. Stinker loves the anthill.

Carmen

Imagine the looks of horror that I get when I show up at our play place - which has picnic foods instead of breakfast foods. How much FUN to slide down a watermelon wedge, or jump off a hot dog? Show up with six kids, and watch the mommys have a meltdown.

What a rotten mom. I was probably that way, when I just had one.

I would have paid good money to see you fight her, though.

Joshilyn

You know, that is the pettest of my peeves---the inability to forgive. The thing where you HAVE to keep grinding at the person who is already apologizing. They are saying sorry because they KNOW what they did was wrong and it is churlish and repulsive to to say YES WELL IT WAS WRONG THOUGH.

That is not to say I have never caught myself DOING it---just to say that when i do catch myself, I apologize too, because it is disgusting.

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