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September 08, 2008


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Misterpie and I both work with kids, so we tend to step in and boss other people's children out of habit - I really only have once had a parent take offense, though I do on occasion note to the parent that I'm used to directing children at work by way of pointing out that I'm not saying they aren't present enough, which I suppose helps take the edge off. Still, I think if you are addressing the child in a friendly manner, most parents are okay with it. I would hope so, anyhow, because I would want someone to point out to Pumpkinpie to be careful if she was about to do something scary.

My kids are grown- I do remember how it was- not enough hands, the kid that is making you crazy. Yes, we do judge each other. But you can tell the kids who have mom pegged- if I scream long and loud I will get what I want. Pleaseee take the kid out of the store- save all the rest of our nerves- but no this kid is screaming I hate you all through the store or give me that now all through the store. I took mine home put them to bed and closed the door- I left grocery cart full of stuff- didn't have to do it too many times. Some people kids are allowed to act awful- I tried to be polite to others- yes there were the times I had to grab milk or whatever with a cring child, but I didn't stay in store 30 min. while all the people wished the kid was theirs so they could take the wooden spoon out.

Great post! How great would it be if people would quit judging other moms, and if we would stop being so afraid that others are judging us!?

I love when Moms just know how to help. I will always take the extra hands. I now try to do the same. I was without my kids one day at a small local toy store, call me crazy, and actually went back over to the entrance to help a lady with 3 kids in the door.

I love seasoned mothers, especially when we crawl down off our high horse of judgment and self-righteousness and actually help one another!

I was at church on Sunday and there was a toddler just roaming around near the parking lot...no attached adult in sight. I took her hand and she started screaming but I gently pulled her away from the parking lot. Grandpa came running around the corner and gave me the nastiest look to which I said "She was about to take off into the parking lot." He had the good graces to look embarrassed, apologize and hold her hand.

But I also feel his discomfort because if I came around the corner and saw some strange woman leading my screaming child away, i'd probably get all kung fu crazy on herl.

this reminds me of the time I was at the GA aquarium, and a young boy (maybe 4 or 5) was climbing on the faux rock display at the entrance to one of the exhibit wings. Right in front of the "do not climb on rocks" sign. At first we thought, "how cute" but then it became apparent that his parents were no where around (or if they were, didn't seem to care that their kid was climbing around like this). I asked him where his parents were and he just looked at me and said "I can't get down." So I lifted him down, and asked him again where his parents were. He said upstairs. So off we went in search of his parents (though in his parents defense, this kid was ALL OVER THE PLACE!! i almost lost him about 10 times in the few minutes we were together!!). Anyway, I never found his parents, but I handed him off to a nice aquarium staffer, who probably deals with many lost kids every day. I can only hope someone would do the same for my son if he ever got lost!!

I have been the grateful recipient MANY times of practical help -- I didn't even mind when a gaggle of old ladies twice grabbed my toddler and carried her on buses for me while I toted the stroller and baby. I think it's no coincidence that in both cases these old ladies were from other countries (once Chinese, once Polish).

But. I am the mom who says, "She's fine" and goes back to my conversation or my newspaper if you try to alert me that my toddler is climbing the ladder to the slide, or whatever. She's a good climber. She's also very small for her age so people probably think she's closer to 1 than 2. At any rate, maybe I have to hit rock bottom, but I do hate it when parents take it upon themselves to decide that I must not be paying attention because I'm letting her do what she's doing.

I'm all for the whole "It takes a Village" attitude myself. You are all welcome to step in and prevent my children from running in front of cars, falling down steps, sticking their fingers into light sockets, jumping from the store carriage and playing with knives, just to name a few.

I read Juli's comment about losing her two-year-old at a fair.

Just FYI - at fairs and events, I write my cell phone number on my kids' arms with a sharpie (under their sleeve, or on the inside of their arms) so they can contact me if they get lost.

Came over from Literal Dan.

My wife is very pregnant, and we were at the Decatur Book Festival the other weekend.

That you honey?

I run into this at the pool with older boys who want to wrestle near my little kids. Often I just tell them to please try to keep away from the little ones because they are still learning to be safe in the water. But there are even little kids who pull on our 15 month old while mom is busy chatting and I'll let them know to be nice to the baby. Once a kid said, "You aren't my mom you can't tell me what to do." So I asked where his mom was and told her what happened. Boy did he get in trouble! Ha!

Heh. Timely post. I saw a beautiful blonde girl wandering the parking lot last weekend just ambling thru parked cars ... while her granddad (or older pa?) fiddled in the car. I marshaled her back to where she belonged. The old man looked at me thankfully, but embarrassed that she left his watch. But then I got mad at a mom at Target when I knew my kid was one aisle over and the mom didn't know I was one aisle over. Next time I will just be grateful, not surprised and try to keep my own kid under my watchful eye.

I'd like to think that I accept help graciously, and I'm always willing to help out other parents. It's what makes life easier for all of us.

It's also one of the reasons I hated my old neighbors. If we so much as asked the kids to not do something, or tried to help a kid with something (like helping the 2 yr old inside when he was out at 11pm by himself in a diaper only), the parents were suddenly outside screaming at us for daring to talk to their kids. Idiots.

AMANDA: That mom was being a total b-i-t-c-h.

Dude. You can protect my children anytime you want. How about Saturday night? Heh.

You're my hero.

No, seriously. I suck at accepting help. Even when I so badly and obviously need it.

Dude. You can protect my children anytime you want. How about Saturday night? Heh.

Everyone wants to help when your pregnant. Where's that woman when you're toting the flipping infant carrier through the parking lot and trying to avoid having your other child(ren) run over on the way. Nowhere!

Oh wait... that was supposed to be upliftin or something right? Sorry, dude!

I can't tell you how many kids I have held on to at the mall, Disney Land and Target in my lifetime while looking for their parents. My cousin this weekend though took the award for Citizen Parenting when she noticed a little boy in a car, by himself (thankfully windows down but still..it's Texas) for TWENTY MINUTES while his dad grocery shopped. She wouldn't leave and said something to him when he came out and was rewarded with two words...one starts with an F and one starts with a B..she shoudl have just called the police!

If my son would slow down for a few seconds, I might get a chance to save other children from their parents' stupidity. As it is, I am delighted if someone else is there to help me out.

I take all the help I can get and I offer it to. If people are offended by my good gesture then, that's their issue. I still feel good for making it.

Yesterday evening my girls & I were coming back from walking the dog when a toddler girl of younger than 2 (I'm guessing b/c she didn't speak & wore a diaper. Its been awhile for me) was walking out towards the street w/no adult around! I knew which house she came from b/c I saw her in the yard as we left. I scooped her up and took her to the door where I found two women sitting in the living room, talking while the screen was ajar. I'm not sure if they "assumed" she'd stay put but she sure didn't! I'm just glad we found her before she hit the street or was scooped up by the wrong person!

You can't get an alcoholic to stop trying to make you feel guilty for bringing up his drinking until he hits rock bottom; and you can't get a parent to accept help without shooting you a dirty look until their child has hit rock bottom.

Guilt without tangible consequences makes people lash out.

In other news, I'm totally the jugdmental parent.

I will continue to help out kids and moms even if I receive dirty look after dirty look. Because all it takes is one person who really needed the help to make it all worthwhile. Sometimes, that mom is me!

I'm really bad about asking for help. But when it is offered, I'm just so greatful!

Jim, I write about cock rings. Bad grammar probably brings up the IQ of this blog.

P.S. If need to delete my comment to save the lowering of your blog's IQ from the grammatical errors (it's this wonky keyboard, really) and lack of proofreading skills before hitting 'post,' have at it.

I do it all the time. I don't care if I get dirty looks. If I had to say something, they were screwing up their end. If it's the neighborhood kids, I even a bit more strict since their behavior will reflect on my sons.

This is why parents are now struggling! My grandparents were in the generation with 'your kid is my kid' and everyone had an eye out. My mom wasn't the greatest and I struggle all the time. I try to help when I see, just like you do, and I always make sure that people know I would not have any issues if they were to step in either.

The community family is pretty much gone. Too many people don't 'want other's snooping into their business' or are afraid to step in.

I do it too and I'd hope someone would with my kids.

I did once get screamed at by helping a kid down the escalator. His mother was choosing to scream at him and berate him, instead of helping him go down the dang thing. He was terrified. Poor little boy, I still wonder if he'll make it out of childhood alive.

You should have asked if she wanted to keep it going and just wheel those kids out to her car and babysit for the day. Or week.

You never know if it'll work unless you try. You must always take advantage of the kindness of strangers.

Well said. Why are we so obsessed with wanting to appear perfect? I blame that deodorant tagline "never let em see you sweat." Because if in doubt...blame television.

You know, when Daren and I dropped the kids off at school on Friday (in our new, smaller town) Daren remarked that there was no graffiti on the playground, like there was in our old neighbourhood in the big city.

I told him I think it's because everyone knows each other in the small town and as a kid/teen, if you get caught doing something like that, moms and dads likely call each other. I love the idea that my boys will grow up in a town like that - where kids/teens are taught accountability and a social responsibility that we didn't see in the big city. Not only that they are taught that, but that the whole community is teaching each other's kids.

I'm not quite sure how or why our culture has gotten away from the "it takes a village" philosphy towards child-rearing -- I think that it's very true, and it's a tenant still held by many other countries. It worked for so many years... sad that we've abandoned it in these times -- with more dangers out there than there ever were. Great post!

I am horrible about taking over when people aren't watching their child or have turned their back for one second and something bad is about to happen. It is the teacher in me, I just jump in whether I'm asked to or not.

What really bugs me are the mothers like the one we came across at the park once. My son was behaving inappropriately, and with my boys being 5 1/2 years apart I can't be in 2 places at once. She was close enough to me though that when My son went back to her child to apologize, she says "We don't want to play with you anymore." She didn't even give him a chance to say he was sorry. When he came back to me in tears, I said loudly enough for hear to hear "That's OK Honey, you don't want to play with that little boy anyway. He has a mean Mommy who wouldn't even let a 6 year old child apologize for a mistake." Uncalled for, probably, but that was the nicest thing I could do short of walking over and punching her in the face.

Living in the land of the judgemental, help is rarely offered or received without a dirty look. The lost child at the 4th of July parade whose hand I held while we searched for her parents was snatched away with an eye roll and a "We were right over HERE." It won't stop me from jumping in when it's necessary, but it does remind me to be more appreciative when I'm on the other end.

awe, that's nice.

I think when people see us coming they are either in shock or morbidly curious-like watching a train wreck...so help is rarely offered, but always accepted:)

Oh man, this is what I love about living in a small town. People DO the Citizen Parent thing on a regular basis here and no one thinks anything about it. I have to remember and modify my approach sometimes when I'm in the cities and the suburbs.

Great story about the lady with the buggy. Doesn't that kind of stuff just give you faith in humanity?

I think that where I am, in Suburbia Hell, there is so much snide judgment day-to-day that when you finally come upon someone who is just honestly lending a helping hand, you're a bit cynical and caught off guard by someone being nice instead of nasty. Which is really, really sad.

On the flip side, my instincts are to always help a child if I see one in need but I always end up feeling stupid for stepping in when the parent gets all huffy about it when, god, I was just trying to help!

I suppose that is a benefit of my being oblivious a lot of the time. I *know* I am oblivious, so I don't mind other people saving my older son from climbing shelves while I am trying to corral my younger one in the cart. I know I dropped the ball on it & am glad someone was there this time to pick it up for me. The other useful thing is I'm too oblivious to notice if other parents are less than thrilled if I help them in during their momentary lapse of attention. I probably have been met with dirty looks, but I never notice them.

When I first started driving, on the major road for the county, there was a little boy in the road. He was about a year and a half ot two years. Just walking around in the road. I stopped to pick him up there was noone in the yard at all. I knew these people. Someone coming the other direction stopped, picked him up and packed him in the house and said thats not safe is it?

I do the same thing, and I've gotten my fair share of dirty looks. If someone notices one of my kids doing something, especially if it were dangerous, I totally appreciate it. I feel like an ass that I didn't notice it first, but I appreciate it!

I'm always nervous to say anything to someone else's child unless it's interfering with my own children.

Usually, I'm very lax about anyone saying anything to my children because I'm typically on top of what they are doing (believe me, with these kids, I have to be). I'm one of those parents that uses "the look" to convey things to them. lol

But I have to admit the other day when an x-ray technician commanded my daughter to "say hi" to another woman passing in the hallway it didn't sit right with me.

I can't explain why but I think I felt uneasy because my daughter did it so quickly.

But I agree,as hard as it can be it's easier just to let someone else help sometimes.

I always appreciate it when someone offers me help and let them know. Goodness knows that sometimes with three kids ages four and under I really need it. I am always amazed though by the people who can see that you are really struggling and just look at you like you are the biggest dope in the world and that you are just slowing their lives down.
I hate it when you try to be helpful and watch out for other people's kids and they act like you are a psycho trying to harm their child. I tried to help someone pull the carts apart at Target the other day, since she had a baby carrier over her arm and a toddler on one hip and I remember being there about 4 months ago and she was so huffy with me that she could have done it that I wondered why I bothered. I guess you can't win.

I find men way more willing to lend a hand than women are. When trying to maneuver my double stroller onto the Metra, it's always some nice man that offers a helping hand. And when I was pregnant and riding the bus, it was always a man who offered me his seat. Women (single, childless women) often gave me this look like it was my own damn fault that I was pregnant and I shouldn't expect to have a seat any more than they should.

Maybe I need to move to the south.

I'm gradually letting go of my pride in this area. Accepting help doesn't diminish my independence or competence.

Or so I tell myself when my kids bonk their heads on a table or dunk themselves in the pool.

I'm never offended if someone helps me out (if it's actual help and not criticism). I appreciate any break I can get. And I always try to help other if I can, but there's always a chance it will be perceived as meddling.

I live in such a metropolitan area and it seems like it is everyone for themselves.

A few years ago I was trying to fold my stroller and hold my diaper bag, and carry my 4 month old in order to get into a bus. Three buses and many curse words later, a man from inside the real estate company that I was standing right in front of the entire time, the man comes out and says do you need help? HMMM YA!!!!

I wish more people would hlep out when they see a mom in need.


I'm one of those village moms myself and my babies are now 28yo and 25yo!

Yesterday my 2 year old son and I were playing trains at the local book store when another child who was about 5 years old stood on the rickety wooden chair and proceeded to climb onto the arms of the chair to reach a train that was for sale hanging waaay up there on the rack... I looked around and didn't see parent so I told the boy "Oops, that's not safe, buddy! Let me reach it for you!" The dad rushed in, grabbed his son, gave me a dirty look, and rushed out of the store carrying his boy. I felt like a monster the way he looked at me! But honestly, I would have wanted someone to do that for my son. Your post today was exactly what I needed to hear! Thanks!

I USED to think I never needed help. I'm Supermom and all, you know. Then this : http://threeminutesandarainbow.blogspot.com/2008/04/scariest-moment-ever.html I still wish (almost daily) that the sweet lady who found the Hurricane and took her to Lost & Found (appropriate, no?) had hung around so I could have hugged her, kissed her, thrown gobs of money at her (which I never have, so it would have had to be my credit card or debit card and pin and then DH would have killed me and then my kids would be orphans basically, since Prince Charming is a pilot and is gone 50% of the time, so maybe it's a good thing the lady was gone.... but I remember her in my prayers and probably always will).

I'd like to think that any help you can give will be appreciated more often than it isn't, and that it is sort of like parking karma. The more you chip in and help out others, the more often you will get rockstar parking when you really need it. Awesome post.

See? Letting the village raise your children works great. They almost always tell you when there's a problem.

I try to give help or at least sympathetic looks to any pregnant woman or mom with tots. I was always so grateful when someone would open a door for me, let me go through the checkout first, or offer a helpful hand. Pass it on.

WOW Somewhere inside my head I hear an echo :)

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