Monday, May 31, 2010

Biting the Parental Tongue

Being a grown up sometimes means biting your tongue when you really want to unleash a tirade on someone. Especially when you're a parent. Here are two situations I've encountered in the last week that I assume are fairly common. What would you have done?

Situation 1:
We were at the park with my friend and her daughter. Anna was approaching a larger slide and had waited her turn in line (I was really proud!). As she sat down another little girl, I'd assume about 3 years old, came running up behind her, sat down and started pushing Anna down the slide. Not only was Anna scared, she was also being touched by some stranger, which she didn't like.

At this point I stepped in because the little girl's mother wasn't paying attention and said "excuse me, please don't push her" in my nicest, I'm-sure-you-don't-mean-to-be-doing-that voice. When she didn't stop, I tried again, "HEY! Stop pushing her!" At which point the mother noticed, came over and told her daughter to knock it off. I was pleasantly surprised to then see her talking quietly to her daughter off to the side after she came down the slide (I assume it was to talk about taking turns but it could have easily been to talk about what a mean, nasty lady I was to yell at her - who knows).

At what point in a situation like that should the parent of the non-offending child step in? I chose to because I was worried about Anna get hurt from being pushed the wrong way onto the slide. I think if Anna were a bit bigger and able to really speak for herself I would have bitten my tongue and let her handle it.

Situation 2:
We were at the zoo on Sunday and I had consumed too much coffee prior to our departure. We found a bathroom in the Apes of Africa and I rushed inside, only to bump (literally) into a mother with her son who was AT LEAST 11 years old. In the ladies room. Um...?

How old is too old? I'm not a parent of a son so I admit that I haven't had to deal with the "Do I send him into the men's room with possible gross dudes in there or do I tell him to close his eyes, shut his mouth and drag him into the ladies room with me?" dilemma. I do think that 11 is too old to be in the ladies room. If I as a woman feel uncomfortable using the facilities while your kid is in there, maybe it's time for you to switch to the "family" restroom. Or ask a respectable-looking stranger to check to see that the men's room is clear and then stand outside the door until your kid is finished.

Is my opinion out of line? I chose in this situation to bite my tongue, especially since they were washing their hands and on their way out when I entered the bathroom. Again, I haven't been in this situation with my kid yet, so I may very well change my tune. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. The same thing happened to me...where was it? Oh, at a Dodgers game before I left Los Angeles. A woman walked into the bathroom with her kid who must have been about nine years old. It was odd.

    Then again, I'm not a parent of a nine-year-old boy who has to worry about sending him into a public restroom with pervs.