To the Woman Who Witnessed my 2 year old’s tantrum,
I’m sure you don’t remember me. We were both waiting at the local doctor’s office some time ago. You were sitting there sipping your iced latte fiddling on your expensive iPhone with your perfectly pedicured nails in your childless bliss. I was that woman all the way across the clinic in the child-play area struggling red faced with a tantruming 2 year old. I really appreciate you taking the time to call the police and tell them I was abusing my child during his over 10 minute long tantrum erupted by a sucker he dropped on a dirty medical floor that I wouldn’t let him have back. (Oh, the humanity!) I apologize that holding him in my lap while he spazzed out offended you.
Next time though, if you want to be a good citizen, why not ask the medically trained staff who ALSO saw said fit about your delusions, being all four of them the officer (whose time you wasted) interviewed, said that I was “exceptionally calm” even though he was biting and hitting me (It’s a fun stage). One said “I was surprised how calmly she handled him actually, a lot of parents would have gotten upset.” Not me, not the 5 months pregnant lady with the flu and a screaming kid. Next time, maybe you could even offer to help or at least set down your Facebook games long enough to properly access the situation.
You also might want to consider the validity of your statements when a doctor, you know with a medical degree, saw my child within 10 minutes of said fit for a complete physical and noted not even a red mark which would be present had I been “hitting him repeatedly.” She noted a well-adjusted 2 year old getting over the flu, who was in “perfect health.”
You’ll be happy to know the officer who responded also has a 2 year old, and apologized to ME for having to come all the way out to my house. When he first arrived, I was confused, and by time he left I was furious, but then for a few months I was afraid. I love my children. I didn’t want them taken away. You fed that little piece of doubt every parent has, that itching feeling that you’re fucking your kids up one mistake at a time. You made me feel like a bad mom. I actually stopped taking my kids into public, and when I did, I catered to their every desire to avoid the inkling of a possibility that they may do what kids do when kids don’t get what they want—that you or someone like you may be lurking in the shadows ready to report round 2 and that there may not be such rock-solid witnesses this time.
But eventually I realized what a disservice to my children that was—that inconsistency in the rules, that deprival of social interaction with strangers, it was your fault. For a moment that fury in me came back, but it faded fast. Now, now I just want to feel sorry for you. You are part of the problem with our society. You are the reason perfectly good parents feel the need to look over their shoulders before they do anything—parent-like— worried it may be illegal, illegal to raise their children rather than observe them. I bet you’re also the type that hypocritically turns about and bitches about how unruly, rude, and disrespectful today’s youth is, and you don’t even see how you contributed to that. Someone that blind in life truly deserves my pity.
But I don’t know you to pity you, any more than you knew me to judge me. All I have to offer you is one single piece of advice, the next time you question the way someone else is parenting, or even just living their life, remember, the right way depends on where you’re trying to go.
The Good Mom