Sunday, February 26, 2006

The one where I am scolded in public for being a bad mother

The Terrors and I went shopping on Friday. I hate shopping without Hubby, because he buys food at the grocery store, whereas I only buy items on the list that cannot be combined to make meals. He buys meat, milk, cheese, and I'm not sure what else. I buy 3 tomatoes, aspirin, and sometimes yogurt. Anyway. I was doing my best to have a Fun Day in town, shopping and killing time until I could go home to bed. Girl Terror had to pee while in WalMart, and naturally she didn't mention it until I had all kinds of non-useful things in the cart. As I resigned myself to maneuvering the cart with both kids (If you knew my son, you wouldn't be asking "Why not just take the children to the restroom and leave the cart outside the door?") in it into the washroom, Girl Terror announced that as a big girl, she would like to go BY HERSELF. Okay.....I thought it through, ran through the close the door-pull down your pants-wipe-flush-wash directions, and sent her in. Alone. Now, understand, I was right outside the door. I could hear her footsteps. I could lean on the door, and see into the washroom. I had checked, and it was just her and one other lady in there. Girl Terror talked (shouted) to me the entire time. "Mummy, I can shut the door, otay? Mummy, I can get my own toilet paper, otay? Mummy, when I wash my hands, can I use some soap?" I could here her fine through the door. In fact, the entire store could probably hear her.
The other lady finished first and came out. I smiled at her, and she said "You're very trusting." I said "Well, she pees alone at home, and manages, I guess she just wanted to be a big girl here today!" and this woman said "Not her. You must trust everyone else, too. You never know what could happen to a child in a public washroom." I pointed out that I was so close to the door I was almost imprinted on it, I could hear every tinkle, and I had checked to see who was already in there before I let my daughter go alone. And this woman didn't let it go. She seemed sure that someone was going to sneak by me, or be waiting in hiding in one of the stall, or something terrible. And it would be my fault for not bothering to go in the bathroom with my child. She eventually walked away, shaking her head at my horribleness.
Girl Terror had an entirely different view. She came out just as we were ending our little chat, and after the woman left, she chirped "Mummy, that lady was peeing just like me! I heard her! She flushed, and then I flushed! I said hi to her!"
My god. Now I am letting her talk to strangers.


debby said...

At least you could go in if you wanted to.. having 2 BOYS (damn them) I had terrible thoughts everytime I let them (after they were like 13) go into the restroom alone. Come to think of it (they are 20 and 22) I still do..

Beth said...

Jeez, are we becoming so paranoid as a society that total stranger can come up and feel free to comment on your parenting skills??Probably doesn't have kids of her own. Children start separating from us from the moment they are born - it's our job to help them cope with that independence. Listen to your daughter....she has more sense.

Mary P. said...

How rude!

I had a similar thing happen last summer. I'd taken the tots in their four-seater stroller to a park. Before getting to the park, I stopped to grab myself a coffee. This is a FOUR-seater stroller. It's BIG. Not wide, but long. I sized up the coffee shop, and decided to park the kids outside.

Now, the shop is small, the front wall is entirely glass. The kids were all strapped in, and the stroller has not one, but TWO brakes on it. They were three or four feet away from me, and I could see them at all times.

The woman who approached me (it's almost always a woman) said THE SAME THING as yours. (Was it the same woman??)

"You're very trusting."

And she wouldn't let it go, either. And on and on. She was about twenty, too, the age of my oldest child. Little know-it-all.

But now I have a plan. Next time someone does this, I will say, with a very warm smile, "Well, thank you for being so concerned about the children. Since I can't bring them in here, I'll go stand outside with them, and you can get me my coffee, okay?"

I bet they'd be thrilled to help! Because they're so HELPFUL, after all...

OldHorsetailSnake said...

Bad Mommy. Bad.

(Geez, what a prig. Shoulda sucker punched her.)

Dana Glover said...

You certainly handled it better than I would have. I get a bit defensive when someone (mostly strangers) dares to address my parenting skills. And I have been known to be a bit ugly about it as well. Hmmmm ... what a great example I set for my boys, huh? :)

Anonymous said...

A person just can't win!

Had you gone in with her, the lady probably would have said something like "you've got to let go sometime" or "isn't it time to let her try it herself!"

There's always a negative person around, isn't there?

Mom's always know best. Take her comment with a HUGE grain of salt, and know you did the right thing!

Anonymous said...

If I had any doubt why you are on my blogroll, there is none now.
You are a stronger person than me, for my sarcastic mouth AND one remaining nerve would have lit into that woman with all four feet.
Great post.