Monday, December 28, 2009

Great Moments in Bad Parenting

Probably because it's still the nondenominational winter holiday break and all the kids are out of school, many families are here today. This is great, don't get me wrong: a buzzing, full library is a happy library. HOWEVER, there are, along with the parents and school-age kids, lots of parents with real little ones, ones who really need an adult with them, and many of those adults have to have their InterWeb. As always, my heart is broken to see bored little ones, forced to pretty much stand there while mom does whatever. Some of them are real champs at it. One 18-month-old probably went a good 20 minutes before she started to lose it. Then Mom went through the 7 stages of crappy parenting while using the InterWeb:
1) Ignore. If I pretend the little one is not there, s/he will miraculously calm down and stand there like a little statue.
2) Little shush. I will say something like, "Shhhhh." The little one will realize that this means "I love you, my little darling, now stand there motionless while Mommy looks at Facebook."
3) Minimally placatory physical contact. My touch is love incarnate. A curt little squeeze is all that is required to turn the little one back into the perfect statue state.
4) Harsh shushing. This is the sort of shushing that would impress the librarian of your nightmares. By hissing out a load of saliva-laden air, I shall convince my rapidly de-angelifying child that I am serious: turn back into a statue or else.
5. Unkind words. Also known as "The Callate" or "Shaddap." May be accompanied by a lapsit.
6. Physical/Verbal Pre-freakout. The grab, the look-me-in-the-eye-when-I-talk-to-you, the mommy-is-all-business. On some level, she knows the game is pretty much over.
Seven? Seven is hard. It can go one of two ways: Back to Ignore (I know my kid is standing there loudly crying, but until the heartsick middle-aged guy comes over, I'm going to maximize my InterWeb time) or a super-rapid cycle through stages 1 through 6 culminating in the kid getting grabbed and dragged off amid anger and threats.

Pretty harsh on Mom, I know. What about the Dads, you ask? They weren't there, so I don't have the kind of data required to lash out with vicious and irresponsible generalization.

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