Kids say the funniest things...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010
"Mom, why aren't we moving?"
"Oh, sweetheart...we're sitting in traffic."
"Can you back up?"
"I wish. But there's a huge truck behind me."
"And if you backed up into him it would break his truck?"
"And then he couldn't drive it anymore?"
"And then he'd probably say oh, shit."


Judge Not...

Thursday, September 2, 2010
...lest ye be judged. I get that.

But my question is: When are you allowed to judge? When are you allowed to look at someone else and think, "Holy shit. That is not good."

I've said it before and I'll say it again...public parenting is a snapshot in time. It is just a moment, and most likely not a "typical" moment in your life (or the other family's life) and should not be used as a stick by which to measure. For instance, if you sat across from us at dinner last time we were out, you'd think that a) we always eat sushi b) we always drink sprite c) CFB always uses utensils d) BP always screams. Only one of those statements is true*. Or if you saw us at the park the other day, you'd think that CFB eats Otter Pops all the time, when in fact, he was enjoying his second Otter Pop ever. Or if you were at the zoo last Friday, you'd think that I was always that obnoxious lady with the too-wide double stroller taking up too much space in front of the baby seal, when in fact, that was the first (and last!) time I will take the double jogger out for anything other than a jog. You get the point. Public moments are rarely indicative of a person's day-to-day reality.

That being said, the kids and I met D at the park last Monday for a picnic lunch. D got to get out of the office, and the kids were ecstatic to play with dad (on a Monday!) at a new park (bonus!) We were done with our lunch - hummus, veggies, and turkey wraps - and we headed down to the playground. We'd been playing a while when a mom showed up with her daughter. Based on her language and height, I'd have to guess the little girl was about 2 1/2. The remarkable thing about her, though, was that she weighed about 70 lbs. And while my first instinct would be to think that she must have some sort of genetic problem, that changed when I saw her mother pull a half empty 2 liter bottle of generic soda (the caffeinated kind) out from under the stroller and proceeded to fill two take-out cups full of soda. She called the little girl over from playing to come drink some soda. Stop playing and come drink some soda. The little girl waddled around the playground like a sumo wrestler, shifting her weight back and forth from foot to foot. She had an excruciatingly difficult time getting up on the jungle gym, and while part of that could be her age, I guarantee that the fact that she is obese also played a part. I felt terrible, but I couldn't help watching her, repulsed yet fascinated at the same time.

This clearly was not a snapshot in time. You do not raise an obese toddler by making a few bad decisions. No, this was a lifestyle. This was the result of choice after really bad choice.

So my question is: When do you get to judge?

Do you get to judge when a mother tells you in conversation that her child is definitely allergic to dairy but that since she hails from Milk Country that she's not going to do anything about it, even though she suspects that most of the child's problems are a direct result of his allergy?

Do you get to judge when a mother storms into the store you're shopping in, dragging her little girl by the arm screaming, "You better stop being such a horrible little girl or I will drag you into the bathroom and spank you till you're good."

Do you get to judge when a father takes a two inch wide leather belt to his daughter's legs and leaves stripe after angry stripe of black and blue?

Do you get to judge the parent that lets their preschooler stay up late watching programs that have enough sex and violence to make event he most jaded adult think, "wow. That was gratuitous."

Do you get to judge the mother who shows up drunk to parent-teacher conferences? Do you get to double-judge when both of her kids have fetal alcohol syndrome and all the crappage that comes with it?

And if you do get to judge, what comes next? Do you just promise yourself you'll never do the same thing as that other parent? Would you have any way? Or do you earn the right to shun that mother and her child, when in fact, the shunning might only exacerbate the underlying cause of the problem? Do you fight the instinct to judge? And if so, what's the end result of that? Who benefits? Do you? Because you're such an enlightened, non-judgmental human being?

Yes, this is me, finally playing devil's advocate. You knew it was coming. Now, formulate an opinion and weigh in. Seriously.

* For those of you keeping track at home, statement d is true. BP always screams. Always. Usually it's just super excited loud babbling, but sometimes it's clearly a "Hey you, jackhole. Can't you see my tray is empty? LOAD IT UP WITH FOOD! And do it with a smile!"