Thursday, September 10, 2009

Snapshot. Snap judgment.

Little Bird is easy going. He says "Hi!" to almost everyone we pass, and when we leave a store, he turns around and waves like he is in a parade, calling out, "Bye! Bye! Buh-bye!"

Thus far, we have avoided an all out disastrous tantrum in a store. If I can get him in the door and into the shopping cart without him yelling, "Walk walk!" then I know it's going to be a good trip.

A lot of days though, he wants to walk through the stores, more often than not, pushing the cart. Without help. Which doesn't work well at all. Sometimes he will settled into the cart within a couple of minutes, but sometimes not. It is never longer than five minutes that he cries and protests. It feels like a lot longer to me, but it's really not.

In that five minutes, I push through the aisles, quietly telling Bird some version of,

"I understand that you are angry. You want to walk through the store, and I'm making you ride in the cart. You are frustrated, and that's alright. I need you to calm down now."

We walk past people who turn and look at my crying child. Some of them look with empathy. That's usually the other moms. Some of them will make a funny face at him to try and get him to laugh. That's usually the employees. Then there is the person who looks at him, then at me, and back at him, lasering their disdain through their stares.

Truth be told, I don't care what they think. If I had to have a conversation with them though, I would point out that they are witnessing about 10 seconds in the life of my child. I would like them to consider that their scowls are just as unpleasant as Bird's cries, only quieter. I would like to point out that if they run into us a few aisles down, that he will likely be done crying and wave to them with his friendly, "Hi!" because he doesn't hold grudges like grumpy old people.

It's just a snapshot. It's not the whole story. It doesn't make him a bad child.

I guess that's why I just can't shake this story. The man slapped a toddler in a Walmart because she wouldn't quit crying in what he deemed the right amount of time. Oh, and I forgot to mention, she wasn't his child.

This was a total stranger who came up and slapped the little girl several times across the face.

He was arrested and charged with a felony, which is totally appropriate. But I can't shake that feeling of what would I have done? The emotional side of me wants to say that I would have kicked him in the balls as hard as I could. But I know I wouldn't have.

I think I would have put myself between he and my child and called the police. Rational, but proactive. I think. I really hope that I never have to find out.

That man must be seriously disturbed.