Sunday, March 13, 2005

Confession

Lest anyone get the idea I think my kid or my parenting is perfect:

Today I took Mermaid Girl to Ginger's birthday party. There was a party tape on when we got there and I exclaimed "Oh! It's Triangle Man!"

MG made an awful face and said, "Yuck." Right in front of Ginger's mom.

And did I say, "MG! That's not appropriate!"? Did I remind her that we don't say "Yuck" about things in other people's houses? Did I apologize to Ginger's mom on her behalf?

No! I blanked out completely, in panic, and said to MG: "It'll be over soon, and there'll be another song." Then I said to Ginger's mom, "Um, sorry, she doesn't like that song."

"Oh!" said Ginger's mom, looking a little taken aback. She knows us, we like her, she (I think) likes us, but, um, maybe not any more.

What I meant was, "I'm so sorry, that's totally inappropriate and rude, and I know it and she does too, but for some reason she has a completely irrational dislike for this truly excellent song, which I personally love, and that probably has something to do with it, it's this weird power/identity struggle between us. Not that that's any excuse and I'll be right on it with her about saying 'yuck,' because she certainly knows better. I am so sorry. MG! That is not okay!"

But for some reason that's not what I said. Why? Why??

Do you think I can call the mom later and apologize? Or is that just weird?

I must remember this next time someone's kid acts badly around me and they don't correct them. I must remember this next time someone's kid acts badly around me and they don't correct them. I must remember this next time someone's kid acts badly around me and they don't correct them.

4 Comments:

Blogger Third Street said...

What is Triangle Man? I don't think it's that out of line for a kid to comment on a song. Even if they make a face.

I know the situation you're describing. Sometimes the scolding is a show, a way to prove that we are GOOD PARENTS. Really.

WE are so self-conscious around our peers. We worry that someone will see us buying our child a Krispy Kreme, or that someone will call when it's 10 p.m and our kids are running wild, etc. or that someone we'll notice we have Lucky Charms in the kitchen cabinet.

We - meaning my generation (here in Park Slope) are way, way weird when it comes to bringing up babies.

There's so much self-congratualtory behavior, so much judgement of others, so much keepin' up with the Jones when it comes to child rearing.

If you really feel bad about MG's outburst, give the mom a call. She probably won't remember it or maybe she will...but I don't think you need to prove to her that you are a good parent.

You are.

11:47 PM  
Blogger Kate R said...

Nope, you're not there yet. You'll know it's gone too far when you ask to rummage through their refrigerator to find food that's Acceptable to The Young Prince, unlike the stuff that's out and available.

Not that this Turkey Parenting Moment is a competitive sport. But if it was? You got some distance to go yet. . .

9:43 AM  
Blogger Rosie Bonner said...

Oh, man. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Phooey. And if you make too big a deal of apologizing for it, then it makes it seem like you think that she's going to overreact, which is why you're overapologizing. But if you don't mention it, then you're thoughtless or oblivious or one of *those* parents. Oof. I'm to the point that sometimes I'm grateful when people are a little bit rude (or late, or whatever) to me because it means I'm not the only one.

Maybe we're all just insane.

Love,
Rosie

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one of those situations where I always want to make it better but it usually turns out that there is nothing, I mean nothing, that I can do to fix it. But I try anyway and then it's just weird. And worse. And I talk it over with my therapist who says the problem was that I tried to fix it.

Rosie, I was delighted to see that you have been there too. Are we too cerebral? What is wrong with us? Why can't we just be rude and enjoy it? Why can't we fix things and have it work out? Why can't we use the word "ephemeral" in conversations with grocery clerks? Or make light conversation with people in Lowe's and have it not get awkward? Why do our mouths run away with themselves and, more to the point, why don't other people understand this when it happens? Thank God for Elswhere.

--Angela

5:58 PM  

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