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January 24, 2011


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It is her opinion as a mother, if you don't want to lose the card you shouldn't not allow that
young age.. i agree in first time for everything.

Oooh. That makes me so mad! People think they can say anything! Most criticisms on my parenting come directly from the mouth of my in-laws. My son is a monkey. He climbs, that's what he does. And he's freakin' good at it. When he was almost two, he stood up on a plastic bin that was holding his matchbox cars. This thing is seriously less than a foot tall. It's sturdy. My sister in law (in my presence, in MY OWN HOUSE) told him to get down. When I informed her that he stands there often, and it's okay with me. She told him again to get down, but this time adding a little quip: "It may be okay with your mommmy, but it's not okay with me."

Oh okay. Because you are the boss of my kids and are aware of their capabilities.

Another time I was at the pool with my cousin and our kids. Her daughter was about 16 months old at the time. After we were done swimming, my cousin took off her daughters bathing suit and swim diaper to dry her and get her into her clothes. We were still poolside, rather than in the changing room. Some woman approached us and said, "I don't know where YOU girls are from. But in AMERICA we keep clothes on our kids. What you are doing is inappropriate."

Thanks lady, we are American, too. And where we come from, if you feel that 45 seconds of naked baby at your poolside is something indecent, then you are clearly the one with some inappropriate thoughts.

I used to stand back and let my son buy things at the store, watching from a short distance away. What always bugged me is that cashiers would completely ignore him and not serve him at all, until I actually said something.

Oh, this reminds me of the episode of The Middle I watched last night. The Dad wants Brick, the youngest, to rake the leaves in the yard. The Mom points out that he's not ready for that, he can barely blow his nose (I think he's about 9). Then there's a hilarious clip showing her trying to get him to blow his nose - "No, blow out! Not in!" And he does rake the leaves, but it takes him 11 days of working on it. Hahaha. Ah, nobody here probably saw that or knows what the heck I'm talking about. I still thought it was relevant. :)

Wow, that is some serious nerve! I get things like that from people all the time with my kids. I honestly wonder if people with no children (and are feeling above ever being a parent) really understand where they came from...

I seriously hate people sometimes. What business is it of hers and why insult people you don't know. Insult loved ones only, please!

We frequently have our kids do things other parents don't and we get told we are drill sargents and run our house like the military because we won't make our kids separate meals from us. REally?!

As an HR Recruiter in Corporate America, we have candidates applying for jobs and their parents call with questions about the application process. Seriously.

I even had one Dad come in with his daughter to ask what she could have improved upon in her interview.

Regarding the mat, I'd have done the same thing as you. I have no idea how I would have responded to that woman though...


That woman epitomizes exactly why we are in this world of people who claim no personal responsibility for their actions. I feel like there is a whole generation behind us in our 30/40s that were completely let down by parents that gave them all their hearts desires without working for it and honestly don't see anything wrong with that. I shake my head in disbelief regularly. I sometimes feel like I'm too hard on my 4 year old, but I know in my heart I'm teaching him that there are consequences to poor actions and that's a life lesson he can't learn early enough.

And yippee for baby! Big sigh of relief for that milestone to have made it!

My comeback:

"Wow. You're right. We are stupid. Thank you for your 10 second insight into our family dynamic and parenting decisions. In the future we'll be sure to take your opinion into account."

I think that says everything without leaving her much room to argue. Buttinski.

I think doing this NOW, at six, is wise. We're working on it now, at eight, with Girl Child, and it's a little harder. Letting go is hard. But not letting go will end up being harder in the long run.

I'm really surprised that was the first judgmental comment you've received in six years. My oldest is also six, and we've definitely heard them, starting with when she was a few weeks old and a grocery store bagger told me I was a wimp for having had an (emergency) c-section--one that resulted from undiagnosed, atypical preeclampsia that turned severe and resulted in a 4-1/2 lb full-term baby who spent a week in the NICU recovering from complications from the pre-e, and a mom who blood pressure skyrocketed after delivery and remained so for a few weeks after her birth. But still, a wimp. And she walked away before I could say a word.

After that, most judgments sting a little less.

The reality of parenting today is that everyone is judging parents, especially moms, and mom are judging other moms even more harshly than the rest of the population. For fun, think about the authors of most of the major child-rearing books out there: Babywise, the Dr. Sears Baby Book, etc. Written by men, right? But it's rare that a parenting philosophy, no matter how extreme (and let's face it, both Sears and Ezzo are *very* extreme if you strictly follow their suggestions), results in the kind of outrage that that Lenore Skenazy's philosophy does or, more recently, that Amy Chua's WSJ article did. It's even more crazy considering that most of the people who responded didn't even read Chua's book which, BTW, has the subtitle "This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it's about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old." It seems clear that society doesn't care about the bigger picture. We hear or read a little bit, react, and judge.

And of course, both Skenazy and Chua come across as judgmental of everyone who doesn't do it exactly like them. My least-favorite Skenazy blog post is one where she rips parents apart for sending a water bottle with their child to school, and for occasionally reminding them to drink from it. The horror! I totally agree with her when it comes to giving kids more independence, letting them play alone in the yard, letting them bike down the street, etc, but does it really mean that she needs to pick apart every tiny parenting detail to tell us if we're doing it right? I think not. Ditto for everyone out there who does the same thing.

Unfortunately, that's what most moms are doing these days, whether in person, in blogs, in books, in the paper, or in discussion boards. I think it's just a fact of life these days.

So there's a magic age written down on making your kids get things (or learn to do things) themselves?

I must have misplaced mine. Maybe that lady has it?

I wanted to add on a serious note, though, that losing the card was a consequence of learning, experimenting and practicing for all of you.


I mean, we make judgment calls and we try and sometimes we err or not and we figure it out. Second-guessing after the fact (@Diverdad) is just that. Next time, maybe she won't lose it, or you'll watch closer, or whatever. No need for anyone to be judgy, really.

I used to run into the store and get my mother a carton of Winston Ultra-Light 100s at SEVEN years old. TRUE FUCKING STORY.

Pause a moment to let that shit sink in.

25 yards with a floating mat? Pffft. Next time, let her give you a foot massage on the beach and have those crazy people LOSE THEIR FUCKING MINDS.

I think you handled the situation really well! My kids aren't old enough for that level of responsibility yet (oldest is 3), but we try to let him make decisions and reap consequences as appropriate. We live in LA (where it has been over 70 degrees lately), so I don't make him put a jacket on when we go out. I offer the jacket, and if he says no, I stick it in the bottom of the stroller, should be change his mind. He's not going to freeze to death when it is 65 degrees, and he knows the coat is there should he change his mind. I can't tell you how many people feel compelled to comment that the red-cheeked, smiling, running little boy must be "dying of the cold without a coat." Really?

On the same note, are you a fan of the Parenting with Love and Logic books?

Awesome on the bottle. M held out until the last possible minute before I returned to work. Little snot.

I would have loved to have said something to a woman like that, but damn if I would have done it. I just would have dreamed about it afterward.

Just be smug in your knowledge that you are raising a good kid, and that her parents apparently lacked some of those skills.

Jo you took the words (and actions) right out of my mouth :-)

I agree you handled the entire situation really well. I recently went on vacation with my 5 year old and his manners were complimented by waiters and flight attendants--who I am sure deal with their fair share of brats--it meant a lot. And I felt it was more a reflection of him than me, which is the most important thing.

We want to raise independent, thoughtful women who can speak up for themselves. So we must give them the opportunity to exercise that. Good for you for letting her. Perhaps I will try letting my son order and pay for his own bagel or the like at the next time we go out.

As for the biyatch, she is a miserable person with a miserable life. Don't let her steal another moment of your brainpower.

My 2 year old is in the throes of "SELF! DO IT MYSELF!" and I sure try to let her, so long as major mess or severing of digits does not seem likely. I am by nature lazy, and therefore want to encourage my kid's independence and self-sufficiency as much as possible. Looking forward to the day she can bring herself and me drinks on the patio. ;-)

One woman in our neighborhood refused to buy Girl Scout cookies from Tacy because she was selling alone. Tacy shrugged and thanked her anyway.

People like that woman and the one who was so rude to you guys are the trolls of the analog world. A shrug is about as much reaction as they deserve.

You're doing the right thing! Earlier is better, as many of us with older kids will attest. My kids are 7 and 11 and we are in the throes of it here, too. It would have been easier had I listened to the kids' preschool teachers and encouraged earlier independence. (I think that may be the secret. Just do everything preschool teachers tell you to do.)

The common response to many of my kids' requests is "I think you can handle that one yourself."

If the stand was only 25 yards, there should have been no reason you weren't watching her every move. You would have seen her drop the card...problem solved. She is six, they make mistakes.

The woman was on to a point, just picked the wrong way about it.

I think you did the right thing, including not dumping your drink. It was a valuable learning experience for your daughter and people have lost key cards in all sorts of ways. Not a big deal, but worthy of a sit out. When people interject themselves in a situation it does not require a response from us at all and we certainly don't want to appear as rude as they were.

I think it was a great idea on both counts. I sent my 3 1/5 yo daughter 5 yards to get her own ice cream. While I watched her carefully, a man in his 50's commended me for letting her order it herself.
After the shock of the comment wore off because it came from a man, I tapped myself on the back.

First, hoo-frikkin-RAY re: bottle! That gives me hope for Roll.

Second, ugh. Among many other unsupervised things, I walked nearly a mile to/from school starting at age 5 (kindergarten) and made bank deposits for my parents (seriously, I couldn't even see over the counter) not much longer after that. Obviously, we're living in a different era now, but eople need to lighten the hell up.

I would've made some comment about teaching my child to be self sufficient at an age appropriate level because I don't plan on raising a self indulgent brat. But that's just me.

Ooh that would make my blood boil. Ok, so in my head it went like this:
Woman says horrible comment. You draw yourself up to your full, queen-like height, stare at her coolly and say, "We teach our children to treat others with respect, even if they disagree with what personal choices others make, especially when it is none of their business. Wouldn't the world be a better place if we all learned that as children?" Diva twizzle. Hair flip. Strut. And scene.

Ohhh, can we post witty comebacks you could have used? I love to read those. Anyone have a good one for the rude lady who deserves a drink on her head?

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