Thursday, April 22, 2010

A Tale of Two Parents

Today was gymnastics for Leah. All year, Aaron has been taking her, with or without also taking Ben. And let me tell you, it has been awfully nice to have an hour or so of relative quiet in the house while they are all gone. Sometimes I'd scrapbook, or vacuum, and once Adam and I watched the "kid shows" that are part of the afternoon routine...all on our own. Because I know Adam likes them. Yes, I feel a little guilty about that.

However, the last several weeks I have started the task of driving Leah to class, and waiting in the balcony for the duration. Why? Because her friend E is ALSO in the class, and I happen to really enjoy chatting with E's mom Laurie. And since she also has 3 kids, E being the youngest, rarely do our paths cross, and then usually just briefly. The chance to visit for an hour once a week? Yeah, I'll volunteer for that!

Today Leah, Adam and I arrived a tish early. Like, 15 minutes early. I guess I forgot how close we live to the gymnastics arena - or how much faster I move without having to unbuckle Ben and wait for his lollygagging. Regardless.

We went back to the changing area and spent a few seconds absorbing how peaceful and quiet it was. AFTER, that is, we passed a crazed mom and two boys. Here is a synopsis of their "conversation":

Mom: Come on, Blaze! Let's go! You need to listen! Blaze, if you don't get going....well, I guess Ashton and I will have ice cream and you won't get any!
Blaze: But I'm hungry!
Mom: You just had a cookie! Now let's go!

By this time, I've already heard this kid's name way more than I really want to. And there is more to come.

I deposited Leah at her class, after a teacher showed up, and then the baby and I headed up to the balcony. And guess who was waiting there? Yep, Crazed Mom. And her two LOVELY boys. Here's some more of what I was put through, all from the Mom this time:

Blaze, sit down! Don't touch that (the railing)! I said sit DOWN! Sit down now! Blaze, if you don't sit down, you're not going to get that ice cream. Blaze, stop it. Stop it now! Blaze, I have had it with this! Sit down! Ashton, don't fall (through the railing...and since when does a kid fall on purpose?) You're going to get stuck...again! Be careful! Blaze, be quiet! Ashton, sit down. (By now, Ashton is sitting with his legs through the railings, dangling his legs over the trampoline below. But Blaze can't TOUCH the railing, or at least he couldn't five minutes previous.) Blaze, I will take you OUT of here. You can wait in the car. (I think she realized this was probably a bad threat to make in public. My ears perked up, probably visibly, and I started thinking about calling Social Services.)

Then I called Laurie. Thankfully, she was on her way upstairs, because there was no WAY I could sit through an hour of listening to that woman's parenting. I usually try to be understanding of a parent's situation, but this one went on for so LOOOONG, and she was talking so MUUUUCH, if I didn't have someone else to distract me, I was planning to go home and just come pick Leah up when she was done. I mean, the boys were squirlly, but they weren't being overly naughty, that I had noticed. Just how much do you expect of kids ages 2 and 4? When they are waiting for an older sibling, with nothing to entertain them? Seems like a stressed mommy waiting to happen.

Anyway, Laurie arrived and things improved greatly. Then she got a phone call from one of HER boys. Apparently there was some brotherly dispute going on, and one kid had locked the other out of the house, and it sounded like bodily harm might be inflicted. This is roughly what I heard from HER end:

Okay, M, what I need you to do is go to your room, by yourself, and stay there until I get home. Give the phone to C. M, give the phone to C. M, go upstairs and sit on the couch until I get home, and I don't want the tv on. If I get home and find out that you've disobeyed me, there will be consequences. Now give the phone to C. I want to talk to C. M, that's One. ...That's Two. ....That's Three.

And then M hung up on his mom, and her expression said that things would NOT be happy for M once she got home. What I admired is that her tone stayed even throughout the entire conversation! There was no sign of the screaming and battling going on at the other end (she just told me about it!) She was clear and direct. And yes, the boys were still naughty, but I had a feeling that if she had been there in person, the situation would have been resolved rather promptly.

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Have you ever just been flat out irritated by another parent's "methods"? And let me clarify AGAIN, I usually give the parent the benefit of the doubt in similar circumstances - kids throwing fits at stores, leaving playdates, etc. But this time it really seemed like the MOM was misbehaving more than the children.

To what extent will you change your schedule just to visit with a friend? Most extreme example, please?:)

1 comment:

Laurie said...

thanks for the vote of confidence...and if anyone was wondering the boys were alive when I got home and they did obey.