I am a fairly typical first-time mother. I'm tired, easily frustrated, and relatively clueless.
Oh, and I'm a hawk.
Yes, you know. A hyper vigilant and reasonably over-protective basketcase.
I don't necessarily blame it on the two sets of broken bones in the last three months. Admittedly, that did not help my mother hawk status. And it's not that I fear for the life of my sweet, mild mannered daughter.
Quite frankly, it's because kids are flaming lunatics and their parents don't seem to give a shit.
"Whoa lady," you say. "Aren't you getting a little judgy here?"
Absolutely. And I'm not talking about little kids grabbing toys out of the hands of wee babes. Or accidentally knocking them over. Or even giving them a good old wack-ola for no apparent reason.
Fine. Kids do all that shit. Whatever.
But, when no one says a bloody thing to them about it or the other 147 nasty things that kids can and will do, then I get pissed. And when they try to tell me that "kids will be kids," or even better "boys will be boys," well, the talons come out.
What the hell is that supposed to excuse? That your kid just hit mine over the head with a plastic hammer and that's just how they are. Or that being a little bratty boy who climbs all over my furniture, knocking down and breaking my thought-to-be-child-safe knick knacks is just in his DNA. How sexist. How perpetuating of gender stereotypes.
Please. Spare me.
I watch my daughter. And while she is quiet and very friendly with other children, she is still learning to share and find her way in the social patterns of life, and has, on occasion, required some guidance. She is not permitted to hit, or take toys from other children. And if she does. She apologizes.
And if she was playing with something and someone else takes it, or hits her on the head and then takes it, I tell her to say something - and not just stand there and cry. Look. I'm an interventionist but also a realist. I'm not going to be there to save her ass and she needs to take care of herself.
But what really gets me, is when parents just stand there, watch it all go down, and do absolutely nothing. NOT A THING. Seriously. Get off your lazy ass and do something about your kid. I'm not talking about curtailing a screaming tantrum or punishing them for pissing on the floor. I'm talking about rude behavior that is socially unacceptable.
I have no qualms about saying something to the kid if the parent doesn't intervene. No punishment, no forced apology - just a "that wasn't very nice" and a mean glare at the parent. I'm good at those.
If it's one thing that's changed since becoming a mother it's that I grew balls. Either that or they sewed them on post-delivery. But however they got there, they're big ones. Big invisible hairy gonads that really don't give a shit if I ever see that parent again or offend them so much they think I'm a big flaming bitch. Honestly.
Because while kids will be kids, that doesn't give you permission slack off on your duty to shape them into responsible adults.