If you’ve read this blog for more than one post, I’m pretty sure you realize that I am the mother of two little girls. Sugar is 11 and Spice is six. While parenting any kid is no easy feat, I get girls… I am one, after all. When I was pregnant, I didn’t care either way whether we had boys or girls. In fact, the entire time I was pregnant with Sugar, I was convinced we were having a boy. Imagine our surprise when she popped out, we didn’t even have a name for her!
Since I’ve become a mom, I’ve had many occasions where I’ve been in charge of other people’s kids. Again, mostly girls as my kids’ playdates are usually of the female variety. I have a low tolerance for bullshit and high expectations for kids to use manners and behave like human beings. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect kids to behave like perfect little adults. I’m ok with them rolling around in dirt, belching their ABCs, belting out a tune with the word “ass” in it. Kids like to test limits, I get that. In the last several weeks, I’ve been around kids of the male variety more than usual and I’m wondering if I’m a complete tight ass and need to loosen up, or if this behavior is really over the top. Cases in point:
I see this 11-year-old boy for the first time in months. He is wearing a shirt that says, “Nice story babe, now fix me a sandwich.” When I made a comment about the shirt, he said, “Know your role.” I said nothing in response.
As our visit progressed, I asked him about his grades and he mentioned that he had gotten several Fs and that he had been suspended five times. He laughed about being suspended and said, “I’m glad it wasn’t six! Then I would have been expelled.” At this point I couldn’t hold it in any longer and said, “Suspension would have happened only once in my house” to which he started to say, “What the fuc…dge?” I said nothing, but looked at my mother who said, “All boys swear, doesn’t matter if they live in a good neighborhood or a bad neighborhood.”
Apparently, my mother, who mothered two girls twenty years ago, knows more about how boys should behave than I do. Again, I’m not the mother of little boys. That child’s parents obviously bought him the t-shirt and know about his suspensions, so it must be ok for a 5th grader to behave that way. I’m certain I am overreacting.
I was recently caring for siblings, an eight-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl. I have been around these kids a lot, but usually with their parents. I was in charge of picking them up and taking care of them for a few hours.
I’m a freak about seat belt and car seat laws, so despite the boy’s insistence at sitting in the front seat, I made the three of them sit in the backseat when I took them out to dinner. The boy sat between the two girls, his sister and my Spice. As we drove, he started pinching, pushing and smacking the two girls. I asked him repeatedly to stop and finally told him to sit on his hands, which he refused to do. The only viable option I could come up with at this point was to pull over and put him in the front seat. However, images of a car accident and his eight-year-old body flying through my windshield sent chills through my body. So he remained in the back seat and I did my best to get to our destination before there was bloodshed.
We arrived at a pizza place and were seated immediately. We ordered a pizza and the boy started loudly complaining about how long it was taking. Not for nothing, but I almost NEVER complain at a restaurant… always afraid that someone is going to spit on my food.
My salad arrived and I started eating it. The boy reached across the table and took food off my plate, then proceeded to try for more. Then the girls got riled up because the boy got something they didn’t get. Without a doubt, I know if I had asked them to eat salad, they would have revolted. Our pizza finally arrived fresh from the oven and was obviously very hot. I put a slice on each plate and asked them to blow on their food. I didn’t think it was unreasonable since they had all had a snack less than 45 minutes before, and taken multiple items off my salad. The boy picked up his slice and tried to dunk it in his water to cool it off. I told him not to do that and to just blow on it. He gave me a look that said, “Oh yeah?” and proceeded to blow on it so hard that the toppings lifted off and I was pelted in the face with cheese and sauce.
The dinner ended with an orange soda being dumped on my white pants. I finally just took our leftovers to the counter and asked for the check. As I reached into my purse for my wallet, the boy grabbed the side of my purse to pull it open and looked inside, “OH, YOU HAVE SOUR PATCH KIDS?? CAN I HAVE SOME?” Um no, you just reached across the table and forcefully took your sister’s soda. I think you have had enough sugar. AND STAY OUT OF MY FUCKING PURSE!!
I drove them to where they needed to be and sat outside for their grandparents to collect them. The boy jumped into the way back (technical term) of my Jeep and refused to get back into the back seat. He proceeded to jump around and shake the whole car and torment the girls until his grandparents arrived to take them away.
That’s it in a nutshell, folks. I’m not used to dealing with other people’s kids, especially those of the BOY variety. I’ve already said I have a low tolerance for bullshit, so I’m sure that I’m overreacting to what happened in these instances. I know I’m strict about certain things… I expect my girls to be polite and respectful to everyone: waitstaff in restaurants, their families, their friends and their friends’ parents. Every time I leave them with another adult, I remind them to behave and to use their manners. If I was told after the fact that they misbehaved, I would be mortified and there would be hell to pay when we got home. I expect them to do to what I ask them to do and belligerently disobeying is just cause for hell to be raised.
I am trying with all my might to be less of a tightass, to be more tolerant of the way other peoples’ children are allowed to behave, even when they are in my care. My kids aren’t perfect and I don’t expect them to be… I just ask that they use reasoning skills and the brains God gave them before they make decisions, before they react to situations going on around them.
This behavior is allowed in other households. In fact, I’ve seen both these boys behave in the manners told above, if not worse, in front of their parents… so it must be ok. It’s me overreacting. I just know it is. Therefore, I thank God every day for not giving me boy kids because I never would have known how to handle them. In fact, I’m not even sure what I’m doing being married to a man as he’s pretty sure my horror and dismay is nothing more than me overreacting.