Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Check Yourself

The scene: 
11:30 a.m. on a Monday
A suburban grocery store
Aisle 5

The characters:
- A loud, obnoxious mother who thinks she's the only person in the world with a child
- Her son, who - at the moment - seems perfectly content picking his nose

"Ryyyyyyan! Should we get strawwwwws? Do you want to drink your juice through a strawwwww?"
As far as I can see, Ryan could care less how he gets his juice, as long as it comes with a side order of boogers.

Why this woman feels the need to share with the entire market the fact that her son can now drink through a straw is beyond me. 
Yes, I talk to my child as we're shopping for groceries... I ask whether she thinks we should have chicken or pork for dinner and I beg her not to judge me as I put a bottle of Pinot in the stroller's cup holder. 
But my voice rarely raises to a volume higher than a whisper, and the annoying straw lady is ruining my shopping experience with her climbing octaves. 
I don't know what it is about women who think they can become loud and unruly when they have kids.  These women often have loud and unruly children who - unfortunately - don't know any better. Then they wonder why they have loud and unruly children. 
As I moved my stroller into the next aisle I rolled my eyes and asked myself what this woman was trying to prove.  Did she have a child? Check. Had he graduated from a sippy cup to a cup and straw? Check. Was he running around trying to pull random jars of food off the shelves? Check. 
When you have a kid you become one of those proud parents who incessantly shows off new pictures of your beloved baby ad nauseam.  I never understood those people.  Why would I want to hear about your kid's poop, his newfound love of pureed peas, or his sleeping habits? Why would I want to spend more than 30 seconds looking at dozens of pictures of your child doing the same thing... SLEEPING.
But when it's your turn you evolve into one of those obnoxious parents and you don't care who judges you.  Watching your kid develop day in and day out is truly amazing and you want to share your pride with the entire universe. 
The straw lady was a different story though.  When I saw her in the next aisle, and the next, and the next, I had to hear all about Ryan's potty training and his love of cereal.  Not because I asked. Not because Ryan's mother and I had a conversation.  No. Ryan's mom just needed attention.  And since she wasn't getting any from her snot-licking son she turned to drastic measures.
Well, she got plenty of attention from me.
I rolled my eyes, I huffed and puffed, I even managed to give poor Ryan a dirty look (sorry, Ryan).
Congratulations, though.  You're now ready for straws (the ones you buy in a boxxxxx, not a baaaaag) and I'm sure they'll rock your world. 
The point is that we're all proud of our children and their accomplishments.  But sharing those thoughts with the entire grocery store is a little pathetic.  Not to mention rude.
This loud and proud mother exists in all circles. 
She's the one who always has it the hardest - "He's getting a tooth? Well, my daughter got all her teeth at once and it was the worst. I don't know how I ever survived."
She's the one who always has to call her child's name the loudest but never actually speaks to him.
She's the one who thinks the baby aisle at Target is a performance hall for all to gather and watch her daughter recite her ABCs.
The truth is... we can all turn into this mom at one point or another. 
So mommies... Check yourself.  
You're not the only one out there trying to run errands with a bored and cranky child in tow.  We're all there with you... we just know how to turn it down a notch.

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