Friday, April 16, 2010

Opinions Welcome

Today a bit of an unbelievable situation occurred while I had lunch with a friend and our children. Let me lay this out for all to visualize and I'd like your opinions, please.

My girlfriend Marlene and I went to Panera for lunch and catch-up time with our children (ages 5 months and 8 months). Across the aisle from us sat a 40-something mother and her 4ish year-old daughter. We'll just call them Mrs. I'm-on-my-blackberry-constantly and little Miss I-just-want-attention. So Mrs. Blackberry completely ignored her daughter for a solid 10 minutes while the girl literally rolls around on the floor and makes squeaking noises. At this point in time, Miss Attention-seeker finds my daughter sitting in her high chair smiling and starts to talk to her and get closer and closer and then begins to poke her in the back. I forgot to mention that Mrs. Blackberry has now completely left her daughter unattended (no idea where she went, just that she left her 4-year-old for a few minutes). So I politely say "Please don't poke her." She walks back across the aisle and begins to roll around in the seat again and finally her mother comes back. Again, I forgot to mention, Mrs. Blackberry has yet to quit texting or web-surfing. Literally, the woman hasn't even looked up the entire time. And again Miss Attention-seeker comes over to poke my daughter. I asked her again, without a hint of rudeness in my voice to please stop touching my daughter. At this, Mrs. Blackberry gets very defensive and yells at her kid to come back to her. When Mrs. Blackberry's other daughter, a teen or early 20-something shows up, she begins talking loudly about how I was rude to Miss Attention-seeker. She goes on and on and finally I had to say something. I again wasn't rude, simply said that I have every right to ask that her daughter not touch my daughter when I honestly don't know where her hands have been and I don't particularly appreciate that she left her child unattended because I would feel personally responsible if something had happened when I was around. She said that I was being ridiculous and probably hurt her daughter's feelings because she just likes babies and always wants to touch them.

Here's my issue: I feel completely justified in not wanting some child that was rolling around on the floor and on the seat to put her hands on my daughter and aside from that, poking is a rather rude gesture anyway. I was quite angry that this woman was obviously old enough to have some sense and yet displayed none. How dare her tell me that I'm ridiculous when she wouldn't even talk to her child or give her the attention that she undoubtedly wanted and needed.

Enough ranting... I feel like what I really need to do is pray for the poor little girl. :/


The Perpetual Student said...

I think you're completely right. If I were in the same position, I would do the same thing, and I think most attentive mothers would. I probably wouldn't have said anything to the mother at that point, though. Then again, maybe I would if I felt provoked enough. It sounds like you took the high road. You could have said a lot more to that woman. Kudos!

Mama Hauck said...

It sounds like that little girl does need some prayer. She quiet possibly might be starved for attention.

I think you were definitely in the right to speak up. I wouldn't want my child to be poked and bothered like that, especially with filthy little hands that can spread germs. Though I must admit, if it had been me, it would have been very hard for me to stay pleasant and civil while talking to the mother. So good for you! I get very worked up over situations of neglectful parents.


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