(Not really) (Well, maybe)
Remember way back to Deathwatch Kitty and our little adventure with the stomach flu- that was the weekend we were supposed to go have gefuellte Kloesse at my boss’ house. German Filled Dumplings is an all day cooking project, and to be perfectly honest, any time I am invited by ANYONE to share a traditional meal from ANY country- I’m all over that! I consider it an honor to be asked and I’ve never been disappointed by the efforts involved. I’ve had homemade Indian food, Ukrainian food, German food, Native American food, Chinese, Japanese… Mostly these dining experiences are set up by the Woman of the House, and take a great deal of preparation and of course, they hope I like it (and I DO).
This weekend was the second kick at the cat, and I was NOT going to bail out again…except the boys were sick again 😦
So we went anyway.
I doped the kid up as best I could, pre-coached him on covering his cough and being a good sport about trying new food, made sure the iPad was charged up so when we got old and boring he had something to do (BIG shout out to my boss’ wonderful hubby- and all his lego-robotics and hover plane) and we arrived just in time for dinner.
The guest list was made up of two other coworkers and one of their plus-ones so we all had a good time laughing about stupid work stuff. But as the evening wore on, so did the drugs wear off and the kid was starting to fade. He was great anyway but he made it over to curl up on the couch finally and just chill out while the grownups had a few drinks and carried on.
I have always prided myself on raising an ultra-portable kid. There was a time when I seemed to be one of the only ones in the group who had a small child, and the options were “go nowhere ever for the next 18 years” or “teach him how to behave in public and go everywhere”. So I took the second option, and as a result, I have a kid that can go anywhere and not be a total shit.
Apparently there are still some adults that haven’t mastered that skill, and they think a lone child in a room full of people is great sport. They see a quiet well behaved kid sitting on their own and think “HEY! I SHOULD BOTHER HIM!” “I should see if he likes being SAT ON and POKED and TICKLED” “Ah! HE’s SCREAMING! I should tell him and his mom I think he’s a WUSS!” … And the evening nearly ended by my grabbing my coworker by the hair and dragging her out of the apartment to see how she liked being sat on- but I would have been using a fork to poke her- HARD.
But I didn’t.
And then, she notices his meds are wearing off (I’ve already rung the bell at this point- get ready to start getting ready to get ready to go) and she’s got him over her knee trying to “help” pound out his chest and he squirms and shrieks and tells her OW! and I tell her “He doesn’t like being held down” (in case she didn’t get that from the sitting on part) and she has the nerve to say “Well he would have been fine if Mommy had stayed out of it”. And I wanted to throw her over my knee and see for myself how much fun it must be to pound on someone who didn’t want to be pounded on.
But I didn’t.
I’m not one of those asshole parents that drags my kid to house parties and expects him to hide in a corner and be quiet while the grownups get wasted. (sometimes all the parents get together and we throw movies on for the kids and put them to bed whichever house we’re at and stay up late and get tanked, and play dominoes, but that’s a Parent thing). This was a dinner party on a Sunday night and we were hanging out with a small group of people that all know each other and like kids. But I’m wondering if maybe SHE was one of those asshole parents and figured that’s just how it’s supposed to be done.
So my options were to either make a scene and tell her “Hey, you’re being a cow, get the hell off of my kid” or resist the urge to rescue him as he wasn’t in danger of any real harm and try to distract her from her shiny new squeak toy. (by the way, when we showed up, she was already half a bottle of wine down and kept up the pace all the way) What with the being drunk, she was easily sidetracked and I led her to believe I really wanted her opinion on what I was doing wrong with my kid and how I should take him home and use a Neti Pot (read; Waterboarding) on him RIGHT NOW as that will be the ultimate cure for sinus issues and wussiness. As long as I kept her engaged and made sure I was physically interrupting her line of sight to my child, we were good.
I did the best I could. I felt like I really failed the situation though. I didn’t want to make a scene and ruin the evening for everyone. I stifled my urge to protect my son from being terrorized by telling myself he would have to learn to deal with assholes like that in life. And how bad does that suck? Maybe the right thing to do was to leave him at home in the first place, but as he was included in the invitation and he WANTED to go, and I was under the assumption that all the dinner guests were regular people and not Jerks, I took him along.
I am not the Authority on parenting- but something I’ve learned over the years, is I tend to take the most criticism from the WORST parents. And by WORST I mean the ones who can’t take their heathens anywhere without drawing dirty looks. The ones who have absolutely zero control over their children’s behavior and let them run amok and chew on people and screech and destroy property. Maybe they’re just trying to help me out with advice they wished they had followed. Maybe they’re just trying to make themselves feel better by dumping on me. Maybe they’re blind to their own situations. Maybe I’m blind to the monster I’ve created…but I sincerely doubt that.
Anyway, we made our exit- leftovers in hand and when we got home, I told my son he was great, that I appreciated his wonderful behavior and his manners, and I apologized for the stupidass drunk lady picking on him. He said “Yeah, but some people are just like that”. And I was so proud of him and so disappointed in the world at the same time. Because I knew that it didn’t matter if I had done the whole thing differently, he would still have to figure that out someday.
Let’s hope he’s better at it than I am.