When we were on our excursion to St. Louis, we visited The City Museum and the Science Center. We saw small children wandering around with no apparent parental figure in sight. We witnessed unruly kids of all ages being allowed to run wild while oblivious parents looked on - - - running crazy, climbing on exhibits not intended to be climbed on, screaming at the top of their lungs, and in general, just acting the fool.
I have noticed that parents of these type of children have either one of three reactions. Let's say that their child is climbing on a statue that's meant to be looked at - - perhaps it is even behind a roped off area - - When you look at their unruly banshee child and then look at them:
1) They don't notice because they are sitting on a bench 100 ft. away talking on their cell phone and not even looking at their kid.
- OR -
2) They refuse to make eye contact and say in a tiny whiny voice to the child, “C’mon sweetie…climb down off the nice statue now. C’mon baby….please? Look – mommy has a cookie for you! Come get the cookie!” The child will scream as the parent pulls him down off the statue, grab the cookie from the parent, then resume his post right back where he was as soon as the parent lets go of him.
- OR -
3) They stare you down and give you that look that says, "what are you lookin' at, bitch?" then after some time, say to the kid, "Let's go." The child then runs to the next exhibit where the kid climbs up on the next thing he isn't supposed to be climbing on or pushes some other smaller child out of the way to get what he wants.
When we went and ate lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory, I witnessed a scene that made me feel like parent of the year. Sitting directly across from us was a family of four. Three of the family members sat in the booths at the table, eating their lunch. The fourth member, a boy of probably 6 or 7 years, sat on the floor UNDER the table. The mother would occasionally make a whiny plea for him to come join them at the table, but he crawled around on the floor, occasionally stopping to chew on a piece of bread. She did finally get him out from under the table, but he refused to sit with them. He stood a few feet away, leaning against the wall instead. After a few minutes of that, he was back under the table.
Yes, I will admit that there are times as a parent when I have a little bit of work to do. . . but I can at least say that when I am out in public with my kids, you won't have to give me the ol' stink eye about their behavior. Feeling down on yourself as a parent? Go visit the mall or a McDonald's with a playland. Sometimes all it takes to make you feel better about your own parenting abilities is to simply witness others doing a markedly worse job than you.