Usually when I have a crazy experience someplace, I call it an adventure, and later I can see some humor in it. Today was not an adventure. It was more like a nightmare. And it was not funny.
I decided to take the boys with me to Big Lots today, and then go eat at McDonald's afterward and let them play. I felt really good about it, and was looking forward to passing the afternoon that way. They did pretty good at Big Lots, had a little trouble listening, but not too much. And even McDonald's was okay until the very end.
Malachi was pushing Simeon around in the high chair, giving him a ride, and Izzy was playing in the tubes with the other kids. I was talking to my nephew on the phone.
Suddenly, I hear a man yell, "HEY!" So I look over and there's this guy standing by the slide with his daughter. "YOU NEED TO GET YOUR BOY!" he yelled at me, "HE JUST KICKED MY GIRL IN THE FACE!"
I immediately told my nephew I had to go and hung up as the man continued to scream at me, "THIS IS BULL****! IT'S PRETTY SAD THAT YOU LET YOUR KID KICK GIRLS IN THE FACE!" At that point, I had zero reaction, but later as I was mulling it over, I thought, I "let" my kid kick a girl in the face? Like I had been standing over Izzy cheering him on, "Go Izzy! Kick that girl in the face! Yeah, that's right! Get her!" Now that is bull****.
Not to mention, the guy could have just as easily walked over to me and talked to me about what happened instead of screaming at me.
I immediately climbed up in the tubes looking for Izzy, who of course climbed out of the tubes while I was up in them. Frustrated by not finding him, and finally reacting to having a stranger scream at me in McDonald's, I started crying. I absolutely hate crying in front of people, especially people I don't know. But I couldn't stop myself. I have never liked being yelled at, and it hasn't happened in a long time. Tears are a pretty standard reaction.
I climbed back down and the family whose daughter got kicked was walking past to leave. "I'm sorry," I told the mother, "he's only two."
Let me just say, I am not one of those moms who thinks that their little angel would never harm a soul. I had no doubt that Izzy did it. And there was no doubt that he shouldn't have.
I ran it all through my mind, looking for where I went wrong. Maybe I shouldn't have been talking on the phone. Maybe that makes me a bad parent. I don't know. But I realized something: there was no way I could have stopped Izzy from kicking that girl.
Even if had been climbing around in the tubes following him wherever he went (oh, and toting Simeon along too, cuz I can't just leave him sitting at the table all alone while I scramble after Izzy in the tubes, right?)--which, by the way, I haven't seen any other parents doing--I still couldn't necessarily have stopped him in that moment.
Actually when you consider how much faster he would be than me since I would also have Simeon and I am not a spry little child anymore, I know I couldn't have stopped him. Things like that happen fast, and you can't really predict what a two or three year old is going to do.
I think I pretty much freaked out my kids because I was crying so much and yelling at them. Honestly, I don't know if I was yelling or if my voice just had no other option but to come out as a screech since I was so upset. I think it would have come out that way even if I had attempted to keep my voice normal.
It is very humiliating to have a stranger scream at you. I hope not to ever experience it again. Even now I am having a hard time keeping calm and not crying all over again when I think about it. I wished so much that there had been someone there with me, someone on my side. Like Aaron. But I realized that this would have never happened if Aaron had been with me.
First of all, the boys tend to behave better when Daddy is around.
Second, I wouldn't have been talking on the phone, I would have been talking to Aaron, and yes, we probably would have been more vigilant. Maybe there had been some behavior that I just didn't catch earlier and if I had he would have kicked her, I don't know.
And thirdly, there is no way in hell, heaven, or anywhere else that the guy would have yelled at me with my husband sitting right there. I don't think too many guys mess with other men's wives when they're sitting right next to them.
If there's any "modern women" reading this who think the idea of your husband being a covering or protection for you is old fashioned, sexist, or ridiculous, chew on that one for a while.
To sum it all up, it was a really horrible experience. Just when I think there can't be anything worse, my boys find new ways of making my day turn out freaky. I doubt I'll be going to McDonald's for a while. At least not by myself.