So our family just got home from a day at the zoo. It was a nice, sunny day, and all was going well. That is until I got in a small tiff with a rude woman. Here’s what happened…
We were walking out from the lion habitat, when my kids started to get a little rowdy. They were acting like lions growling at each other and grabbing onto one another. My husband and I broke it up, and everything seemed to be fine. So we proceeded into the next exhibit, the manatee house. Well, as soon as you walk through the door, there is a narrow bridge over an indoor pond. It was really crowded, so I went to grab my 3-year-old daughter to pick her up.
Not realizing it was me, my daughter turned around kicked me in the leg and says, “Get off of me, you butt!” An older woman standing next to us let out a huge gasp. Surprised, too, I looked at my daughter sternly in the face and said “Hey, you do NOT act like that! Watch it, or we’ll go back outside and sit on timeout.” My daughter immediately snapped out of it and was fine. I think she thought my son was grabbing her, not me.
Well, the older woman starts talking to her friend not realizing I could hear her… “Can you believe that? Did you hear what she called her? blah, blah, blah… Kicked her in the leg… blah, blah, blah… Timeout?!? I’d be dragging her to the car, and she’d be on timeout on the way home… blah, blah, blah.”
I was fuming. Should I ignore this woman? Or say something? What should I say? I thought about it and then decided to tap her on the shoulder say, “I’m sorry, do you have a problem with the way I discipline my daughter?”
I said it. It was on.
A little stunned, all the woman could answer back was, “I… I was just shocked.”
Not thinking what I’d say next, I responded, “Yeah, she’s a hand full that I have to deal with every day.” Then we just looked at each other and she walked away.
Damn me for not thinking quicker!
So then I spent the entire rest of the day thinking about the incident and wishing I would have had a better response. Here’s a couple of options I thought of:
–“Yeah, I’m shocked, too… That you’re oblivious to the volume of your voice when you are so righteously judging another mom.”
–“Shocked? Is that all you have to say? Seemed like you had a lot more to share when you were just blabbing about me to your friend.”
–“Yeah, I was shocked, too. My daughter’s behavior took me off guard. But, what was I supposed to do? We were on a tiny bridge, surrounded by a lot of people. I didn’t want to make a bigger scene than what was already happening.”
–Or maybe I should said, “Shut up, you butt!”
I really think my daughter thought it was my son grabbing her on the bridge. Not that fighting with your sibling is OK. Or calling your brother a “butt” is fine either. But, after talking to her, my daughter immediately realized she did something wrong and stopped. I wasn’t about to go ballistic in the middle of a crowd and drag everybody home.
So thanks for ruining my day, lady! Hopefully you felt a little guilty and embarrassed for realizing I heard you.