The Very First…
While there is a great need for uplifting and soul questioning blogs out there, mine most likely will not be that. It’s not to say that from time to time, I will come up with some insightful way to inspire some soul (most likely, however, it will be a twist on the greats who came before in enlightenment.) I just say this as a precursor, you know in case you were confused by the title of this blog, The Sarcasm Files.
No, instead I will be trying to tell the world to lighten up (or perhaps get more serious) about things, in a sarcastic, sometimes bitchy, but always truthful way (at least in my view). And believe me, people give me plenty of material to work with. I realize this may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you don’t have to like tea and you don’t have to drink it. If you find any of my opinions too sarcastic for you, then don’t read. But please, never be degrading towards me or anyone else on my blog. That actually is quite a nice lead in to the first blog I wish to post about..
What the Eff has Happened to Expectations?
I recently came across a news story (though why it was featured on a news site is quite honestly beyond me) about a restaurant which was considering having a discount for well behaved children. Really? Have we gone so far in our society that patrons and workers of restaurants can no longer expect to have a child sit down at the table, play quietly with toys, and say please and thank you to the servers? Has it become such a rarity, like the white rhino, that people gasp, point and seemed shocked when a child does such a thing?
All right, before I get railed on here by any parents who suggest it’s not easy to do just that, let me clarify that I myself have two young boys, Rylan 7 and Jadyn 2. As the mother of a rather opinionated two year old, I have definitely been on the receiving end of eyebrow raising when he has acted up. In fact, I have a rather magnificent story about just that.
My husband and I were out at happy hour *gasp! I know, parents who go to happy hour! * with our two boys. We always sit on the patio, because it gives our 2 year old a little more to look at, and therefore affords us an extra 10 minutes of leisure time. Well, this particular time, the patio was very busy and Jadyn decided he was going to accompany Ry and I to the bathroom (not really relevant, just setting the scene). After a fun splash about in the sink and discovery of an automatic hand dryer, we ventured back out to the patio. My oldest skipped directly back to the table and happily picked up his crayons (ok, who I am kidding, his Ipod) while my youngest stopped in the doorway. Why? Who the heck knows why, he’s two! So, being a good mom, I nudged him slightly and said “one two three, GO!” Of course, I was assuming that the reaction to my statement would be that Jadyn would run happily to to the table.
No.. instead the next few seconds that followed will blaze in my memory forever. (Ok, maybe not forever, but long enough until he does something as equally embarrassing) Unbeknownst to myself, Jadyn had a train in his hand (you know, the little wooden kind?) Apparently, either because he’s two or I don’t speak clearly enough.. he must have thought I said “throw!” and that’s exactly what he did, with remarkable strength and aim at the table directly (not ours) in front of us. The shattering noise of the train on the opposite table, accompanied by the startled scream of the young woman who was clearly not expecting flying trains, made the following silence of the very crowded patio that much more acute. I mean, you could’ve heard a pin drop.
Here I will say that I could’ve acted like many parents, who simply smile, shrug it off, and say, what are you going to do, he’s two! Except, that answer does not fly in my opinion. He may be only two and didn’t, per say, understand the full gravity of what throwing a train in a crowded patio would be like, but I wasn’t going to go down as one of those parents. With eyes watching me, I leaned down, told my two year old that was NOT acceptable behavior, marched him over to the young woman (which the train thankfully missed and all of the happy hour cocktails on her table) and made him apologize. I then plunked my two year old down in his high chair, (who was now crying) downed the rest of my wine and promptly took leave of my oldest and husband (who had been secretly praying we wouldn’t rejoin his table after the incident), and apologetically left the patio. There were quite a few empathetical looks from other patrons (I’m assuming those who have held a crying child and making a bee line for the nearest exit). One even said he was still cute.. (which I was doubting in that moment)
So.. what does this have to do with expectations? Well, the first is that when we go out, we always expect our children to behave. This includes the two year old, who does now always say no thank you and most of the time says yes please. We don’t allow kicking, screaming, talking back, or throwing toys and anyone who chooses to do so, gets to spend the time in the car with the now hungry and unhappy parent. Thankfully, it’s only happened a handful of times where we’ve had to resort to such tactics. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve suffered through children screaming at a restaurant and the parents will not take them outside. Or how many times I’ve had to step over a child who is ENTIRELY too old to be throwing a tantrum on the floor of the toy aisle. (and no, I’m not speaking of my children, who although may have a tantrum, are not being left there for the whole world to have to put up with)
Yes, I’ll admit it’s hard. It’s not easy to sound like a broken record as you say for the billionth time, “How do you ask me for that milk cup?” “What do you say when someone gives you something?” But that’s our job as parents, that’s the expectation our children have of us. To teach them, to lead them, and to turn out upon the world, a person better than ourselves. We must model the actions we want. And we must expect them. Our children are listening, even when we don’t want them to. Of course, this is all assuming that most adults know how to behave themselves… which is another story for another day.