Thursday, May 24, 2007

Shame, shame, shame, shame, shame...

We had errands to run this morning, and MG was super good, so I decided to treat her to some trans-fats and a crushed finger or two at our local Germ Tubes.


Remember before I had kids, how I said I would never ever let any McFood cross my daughter's trans-fat free lips. Yeah, wasn't I cute?

Face it. McDonald's is the only playground in town from October until March, and by the time April rolls around and you can go outside again, they're hooked. She says, "Slide!" when we drive by. And most of the time we do just that - drive by - but today, she was really good and deserving of a treat.

So, Shame #1 - I've abandoned all my pre-kid principles. (In my defense, she doesn't actually eat anything. She just kind of licks the ketchup off of everything, which she would do if I fed her organic tofu chunk nuggets with free range ketchup at home, anyway).

I called BJ on the way and asked him to meet us. When he arrived, MG was over-the-moon happy to see him. So much, in fact, that when he left the Germ Tube area to go get his trans-fats, she followed him right out the door.

C, at this point, was asleep in her bucket (remember when I used to get all righteously indignant about babies who spent time in car seats while not actually in cars? Yeah, Shame #2). So I've got an anchor and a kite. Figuring that C wasn't going to go far, I took off after MG, and ran smack into our pediatrician (Shame #3 - the doctor caught me in the act of feeding trans-fats to the entire family, AND simultaneously allowing my child to run off, barely supervised, in public, WITH a black eye, and leaving my infant daughter unsupervised. Can CPS be far behind??). I handed MG to BJ and, with an apologetic smile to Dr. M, went back to take care of C, who was still sleeping peacefully in spite of all the screaming germy brats in the Tubes.

Only then did I realize that our doctor couldn't catch us at McDonald's if he weren't there, himself, which cancelled out most of my shame. So, I called BJ on his cell phone (Shame #4, I've become the kind of person who calls someone who is in the same building as herself) and asked him to invite our doctor to join us. He couldn't, though, he had an appointment. So I just finished my fries.

All this made me realize that shame is everywhere, but especially at McDonald's. I realized that shame doesn't feel very good. Which is why I did not know what to say at all when an older girl, probably 3, deliberately stepped on MG's hand in front of the Tubes. The other girl's mom totally caught her red... well, red footed, and made her apologize to MG, and then made her come over to BJ and I and tell us what she had done.

The little girl just stood there looking horrified with her thumb in her mouth. I honestly had no idea what I was supposed to say to her. So, after a long, awkward pause, I said, "Why did you step on my little girl's hand?" No response. "Did she make you angry?" No response. Mom's standing there looking at me expectantly. "It's not nice to hurt people who are smaller than you are. I hope you won't do it again." Mom says, "Ok, let's go," and shoots us a quick, "Sorry," on the way out the door.

Hello, awkward. Does anyone have any idea what I was supposed to do?

At least Shame #5 wasn't mine. I feel bad for that kid, though. Parenting by public humiliation is a hell of a thing to grow up with. MG's hand is fine; she didn't even cry. But I don't think we're going to go back to Shameland anytime soon. I just can't handle it.
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Brandon Stenger said...

What should you have done? You should have smacked the crap out of that child! Made her rue the day she chose to harm your child! Make it a day she will never forget! And you should have given the mother a good smack too!

Melania said...

Eh, I'm totally the parent that marches her kids up to other people and makes them apologise. It started on airplanes: "you're going up to the nice man in front of us *right now* to say sorry for kicking his seat back."

It's a powerful deterrent.

Mommy said...

Right. I think it was totally appropriate for her to apologize to MG. It was the "go tell her parents what you did" and awkward thumb-sucking part that I didn't get.

I make MG apologize to C, even though neither of them understand it. Good practice. :)

Melania said...

Oh, yeah - I see the difference. A is barely two and already a pro at the knee-jerk "sorry!" whenever he gets caught doing something naughty. Now with J we go over and over the meaning of "sorry" . . . ahhhh, parenthood!

Anonymous said...

I laughed so hard when I read this..I had to read it out loud to William even! So cleverly written! Love you ...Barbara