Monday, May 26, 2008

The Silence of the Babes

So I'm sitting in Starbucks this morning (where else?), with two kids. The morning has not gone so well.

The Little Guy woke up at 5am and would not go back to sleep. The Boy got up at 6am and would not go back to sleep. How on earth did I manage to pop two early risers out of my lady parts? It makes no sense. I hate mornings. I am most decidedly NOT a morning person. I may get up early of necessity, but I am not happy about it.

The Boy's 9;30am soccer class was off/on/off/on due to rain, necessitating FOUR calls from the coach, right during the Little Guy's much-needed albeit truncated morning nap. We were late to the class because I kept assuming it was off, and I forgot a burp cloth. The Little Guy spits up a lot. Not that it's possible to feed him in public, of course, because EVERYTHING is more interesting than eating eventhough he will be a total bear if he doesn't.

After much convincing that seventeen thousand "water breaks" were not necessary to playing soccer (we LOVE our water at Casa Earth), the Boy kicked the ball around, changed into his "after soccer" clothes and we were off for coffee. Finally.

Inside Starbucks, we quickly got our coffee and juice. Snacks, I brought with me. The Boy sat down with his apple juice and his cup full of raisins. He wasn't particularly happy - he seemed tired - but he was sitting and eating quite nicely. Not even his usual loud and boisterously happy self.

The Little Guy was another story. He was a bit tired, and just wanted to suck on his soother. Unfortunately, at just shy of seven months, he still has trouble keeping it in his mouth. I just bought some new MAM soothers online, because his is outgrowing his NUK Starlight ones, and I can't find the next size up anywhere. The were recommended quite highly, but I didn't realize that they don't come with a little pull handle. That's how I attach the Bink Link to the soother so that it doesn't get lost. Anyways, I was trying to find a way to attach the Bink Link to the new soother, and gave him an extra soother to suck on while I tried to figure it out. Of course, the spare kept falling out of his mouth. Everytime it fell, he screamed like a banshee. Everytime I popped it back in, he was a quiet, happy camper. And then it fell out again. And then I heard it.

"SSSSHHHHH!"

The lady in the table shushed him. I didn't look up. I was trying to work out a solution to the Bink Link problem. I assumed she was trying to help by calming him down. I popped the soother back in. A couple seconds later, it fell out again and he screamed. And I heard it again.

"SSSSHHHHHHH!"

I thought that I was lucky to have someone trying to help me out when I'm not having the best of days. The soother fell out again and he screamed.

"SSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHH!"

And then she got up and moved tables.. It wasn't until then that I realized that she was not trying to help at all, she was just trying to get him to shut up. And then I got pissed off. Not only is that NOT at all helpful, it's just not nice.

Now, we hadn't been there long, and with two kids in tow, we certainly weren't going to stay long. Especially as both of them were about an hour away from nap time. The Little Guy would have been happy if he had been able to keep the soother in his mouth. He was only screaming because it kept falling out. And he has a sizable pair of lungs. But he's a baby, and he's learning. But I promised the Boy a treat in Starbucks, so there we were for at least a few minutes.

You know, I'm just doing the best I can to get through the day, and to keep everybody I'm responsible for relatively happy. I'm not one of those parents that let their kids run roughshod all over public places. I do believe, though, that as a parent I have a place in the public arena. I don't have to hide away at home, or stay in parks, or move out to suburbia. I firmly believe that the only way to teach children good behaviour in public places is to take them out to public places. We don't stay long. We leave if things get out of hand. We allow noise as long as it is happy noise and is not ridiculously loud.

But I do have a place in public. And I won't let anyone take that away from me because it's a little inconvenient or somewhat noisy at times. If we want our children to be respectful of the public, we must extend that respect - along with some lenience - to them.

21 comments:

metro mama said...

What a bitch! Unbelievable.

Mouse said...

Whenever I go to a coffee shop to do some of my on work, I know that there's a good likelihood it won't be as quiet as I'd like. That's why I bring music with me. Of course, I find the adults who talk just a bit too loud more distracting than kids. I could almost understand if she had just moved (I do on occasion, though usually to a table with more light when one opens up), but the shushing is too much.

kittenpie said...

Absolutely. That is exactly how they learn what is appropriate, and you were trying and had brought snacks and everything else a mother can do, so it's not like you weren't doing your best. A little tolerance of other people is needed to live in a city - because it is that living among people that MAKES IT A CITY! Gah. And I must add, shushing a baby is NOT going to help. Asshat.

womaninawindow said...

Here, here! (banging my table)
I think this might all come from the fact that movies centered around cafes (there's a stretch for ya) always involve quiet singles or fallen in love couples. Never sweaty moms with screaming babies. Damn Hollywood and while we're at it, damn that woman too!

Mad said...

Well, she's clearly and idiot if she was shushing a 7 month old baby. Like c'mon, you don't need to have children to know that doing so is nothing more than passive aggressive behaviour.

painted maypole said...

here here!

(and I'd much rather hear a crying baby than someone having a loud onesided conversation on their bluetooth phone!)

cinnamon gurl said...

Her behaviour says more about her than it does about you. My first thought was that she must be crazy, because no one in their right mind would expect any kind of results shushing a baby.

Brenda said...

You said that way nicer than I would have! I would have told her he was screaming because he was getting all her bad breath from the SHHHHHing.

Don Mills Diva said...

I can't believe you didn;t kick her ass. I wish I was there so I coulda done it for you!

Beck said...

Yeah, I go out in public because I want solitude and privacy, mm-hmm. That woman was a jackass. I HAVE been known to cast dark looks at kids who know betters but babies have their own business and they're allowed to cry.

Kyla said...

He's a BABY. I just don't understand some people.

bren j. said...

ARgh! How annoying. You are exactly right that teaching kids how to behave in public REQUIRES them actually BE in public places. Some people!

Are you looking for the 6 month size of Nuk soothers? If you are, email me your address and I'll have them in the mail on Monday. Seriously. Being without the 'right' soother is horrifying!

kgirl said...

A baby crying is not bad behaviour, and you are totally right about children learning how to be out by - get this - being out.
That woman was just intolerant. Don't let her stop you from enjoying time with you little dudes, wherever you want that to be.

motherbumper said...

So how did you not hit her?

anymommy said...

Ick. I think I've met this woman - pursed lips, unpleasant face, pole stuck in a painful place? Sorry you ran into her. I agree 200 percent that mothers and children need (and are entitled) to be out in public. If some guy had been having an obnoxiously loud discussion on a cell phone, you can bet she wouldn't have shushed him!

Bon said...

passive aggressive, that was indeed. and dumb...except i suppose it was directed at YOU, not him...and you were supposed to grow magic hands and solve everything by shoving noise cancelling headphones into her eardrums until they burst...oh...whoops, no, that was what i wanted, not what she wanted.

i'm with you on the let's be responsible for our kids but for god's sake, let them be in public position. people need to be reasonable.

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) said...

Hey, just discovered your blog. Love it (in fact, should be writing a paper, but here I am reading your old posts instead...hmmm)

Susiewearsthepants said...

OMG! WTF? How rude! I think some people shouldn't even leave their houses, this person sounds like one of them. Anyone with any common sense knows you can't shush a baby anyway! If they could talk, they wouldn't need to cry.

Holly said...

I have no idea how you didn't pick up the soother and shove it in HER mouth. Jeesh. The nerve.

Tracey said...

You know, I think some older folks just forget that young human beings are REQUIRED in order for our species to continue to exist. And that young people, shockingly enough, like to talk and communicate as adults do. Their voices are just louder and (when they're babies) sound a lot like crying.

She should have simply moved early on, without shushing you. I think I might have snapped.

crazymumma said...

Bitch.

Her.not you.

Don't ever worry about your kids being noisy in places. Fer chrissakes, they are kids and they are a joyous lot.

Wish I had been there. mmmm. with PMS. yeah. I woulda had some fun.