Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Letters to Strangers who Suck

Being pregnant is like being a hot girl at a Star Trek convention. People stare at you, try to touch you and tell you lots of weird stuff that you don’t want or need to hear. Once you have the baby, public interest in you intensifies, although now it’s your baby getting all the attention. Except for when the baby is acting up, in which case the majority of the attention is back on you and it’s a lot more judge-y than when you were preggers. Actually, even when your baby isn’t acting up, people still manage to find all kinds of surprising ways to judge you, usually on days when you are already close to diving under the covers with a bottle of wine and a straw.

I’ve had my fair share of these incidents in the year and a half since I became a parent and apparently came under the watchful eye of the entire world. Unfortunately for me, I never seem to come up with any intelligent or witty responses during said incidents. I’m usually too busy feeling embarrassed or utterly stunned by someone else’s asshole-ish-ness. I end up spending 4,763,871 countless hours pondering what I could have and should have said. Since this takes up so much of my time, I figured I would share some of these experiences with you so I could at least tell someone what it is I really wish I had said.

To the grandmother who told me to be firm and not always give in:

Thanks for the tip. I even agree with you. Sometimes you need to remember who the adult is and who the child is. But when it comes to whether my daughter sits in the orange or the white highchair at the food court, I don’t really care. So what if Thumper whined and pointed passionately at the orange one, shouting ‘Ojah! Ojah!’ when I tried to put her in the white chair? She apparently preferred the orange one. Big deal. Another lesson in parenting, which I am exercising right now with you, lady, is to pick your battles. If the orange one was taken already, then yes, I would have asserted my role as the parent and informed her that it wasn’t possible to sit in that particular chair, that she’d either have to wait or use another one.  But since there was no one around and the coveted orange chair was available, then why would I engage in what likely would’ve been an epic battle for the sole purpose of asserting my power over my kid? I appreciate the sentiment and the fact that you're not sneering at me but I can still hear the condescending tone behind your polite words. So let’s make a pact right here and now. You don’t talk to me about parenting again and I won’t kick you in the box. Deal?

To the elderly man who yelled at me in the doctor’s office:

You are a mean person. And no, I will not “get that thing [soother] OUT of her [Thumper’s] mouth.” Firstly, you don’t know me. You don’t know my parenting style just by looking down your snotty nose at me and seeing a soother in my child’s mouth. Come down off your high horse and treat me like the human being I am. Secondly, other than when she’s sleeping, I only give Thumper her soother in emergency situations. Case in point, trips to the doctor’s office because my kid hates the doctor’s office like I hate strapless bras. Which is A LOT. But you wouldn’t know that because you’re too busy being a Judgemental Jack. You have no idea the kind of misery we have suffered because of that clown operation doctor’s office. Or maybe you do, because you were leaving as I was entering and maybe your doctor was as much of a moron as mine was* and you had just spent an hour and a half being berated and judged just like I was about to be. But that doesn't give you the right to take your anger out on me. And for the record, after leaving the most unpleasant routine check-up in the history of the world, I didn’t yell at, reprimand or judge anyone based on situations I knew nothing about.

To the woman who judged me at the play center:

Listen, you Judy Attitude-y with the mocking eyes, read the above post. I only give Thumper her soother in emergency situations. And today, being at the playgroup qualifies as an emergency because if she throws one.more.tantrum I am going punch someone in the face and then start rocking in the corner while humming my happy song- which is Since U Been Gone, by the way. So before you roll your eyes at me again, maybe you could play nice for a minute, strike up a conversation and figure out that the reason my kid is sucking on a pacifier is not actually because I’m an inferior parent but because I am desperate for some peace and quiet. Or don’t strike up a conversation, I don’t care. Just stop rolling your eyes and thinking that you’re better than me or I will punch you in the face and you’ll be the one rocking in the corner singing your happy song.

There. *sigh* I feel much better now. I am also starting to identify with how Katie Holmes must feel.

I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never judged anyone. I’m so good at it that I was once part of a team of expert people judgers. We were called Team Judgement. However, all of this has taught me an important lesson. Although we might think we have something valid to say, unless you know the context of the situation you will just come off sounding like an asshole. It’s almost always better for you to keep quiet. And as Justin Timberlake so aptly put it, what goes around, goes around, goes around, comes all the way back around. So the next time you feel a case of the judgies coming on, just remember what the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air would tell you to do. Yo, back up! BACK UP! Mine ya bizness, that’s all.

*This doctor is not the one referenced in Curse of the Picky Eater. This is the sucky-pants, worst doctor in the history of ever that caused me months of stress and ultimately resulted in me having to find another practitioner. Which of course is the one mentioned in my other post, also known as the awesome-sauce, greatest doctor in the history of ever. More on that later.


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