Parenting Pet Peeves

You know I have something really good to talk about when I come out of my blog hibernation {unintentional} and ACTUALLY WRITE SOMETHING. But yesterday’s events were too much for me NOT to share. My fellow bloggers can identify with those times when something happens to you or around you and the first thing you think {after, “Oh-my-lanta, did that really just happen?”} is “I’m SO going to blog about this”.

I’ve decided to make this a sort of staple here at Life in these times… because if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my 19 months of being a parent, it’s that I will never be short of moments where I question parenting choices… whether they are someone else’s or my own. So I would like to officially welcome you to the first installment of Parental Pet Peeves, or P-Cubed.

But before I jump up on my soap box and into my rant, let me just say this… In the grand scheme of things I’m still a fairly “new” parent so I realize my understanding of discipline and what it takes to raise a well-rounded, respectful, intelligent, and happy child is much smaller that that of someone whose kids have kids of their own. We are just breaking the surface on the terrible twos with the Bean and learning as much about ourselves as she is about the world each and every day. I don’t think I’m the best parent in the world or that my methods are any better than the next mom, whether new or experienced, and I make a conscious effort to remind myself that every family and child are different before I turn into judgy judgy Lucille Bluth.

But some things are just TOO RIDICULOUS to not call out. Like the events that transpired yesterday morning during mass.

A woman walked in with her two children {a boy, 5-6 years old and a girl, 8 or 9} about 35 minutes after mass had already started. The hubs and I like to sit in the balcony during mass, because we have friends that often sit there and the music from the organ is far too beautiful to enjoy anywhere else, despite the fact that it seems to be where a lot of people go when they arrive late or have unruly children. Needless to say we’ve learned to enjoy the service with a few distractions present. You know how easy it is to get distracted by latecomers no matter what the event but generally once they take their seats you’re able to regain focus. Not so neighbor Joe. This family could not be ignored. More specifically the little boy. I’ll call him Sherman. They sat in the pew in front of us and it was evident from the start that Sherman either had not been taught the traditions of a church service {when to kneel, stand, sit, etc} or simply had no intention of following along. At first he was like any other young child in church, playing with the books and envelopes on the back of the pew in front of him and trying to figure out whether he wanted to sit next to his mom or sister. The usual. We’ve all seen it. No big deal. But eventually most mothers usually get them to pick a seat and settle into the service. Well, that didn’t happen.

Once Sherman lost interest in the goodies on the back of the pew he noticed that he could slip his body down in the space between the floor and the pew in front of him. AWESOME! Let the adventure begin!!! Again he’s not the first kid to notice this little bit of balcony magic and immediately drop down to the next level, but it’s usually not long before mom or dad has snatched him or her back up to the appropriate level. Yeah, that didn’t happen either. This mama looked over at her son, saw that 75% of his body was UNDERNEATH the pew in front of them, reached over and touched his arm, {as if to say, “Oh no honey, that’s probably not the best idea”} and returned to her previous position letting him continue on his little adventure.

Ok. A bit more distracting. But not a big deal, focus on the service.

Next, Sherman decided that crawling down on the floor in front of him wasn’t enough, his unexpected Hobbit journey then led him to crawl, on his back, underneath the pew that his family was sitting on. He crawled under his sister, {who was the epitome of a well-behaved child} under his mother, and popped his head out on the other side. Mom didn’t seem all that shocked when she saw Sherman RISE from the depths beneath her and again, did nothing to stop the action. In fact, as Sherman brought himself to his feet, his mother leaned back and pressed against her daughter’s shoulders so she’d do the same, so that Sherman could pass in front of them and do it all over again.

Mama’s new name is The Enabler.

So, Sherman is having a grand old time, his sister is sitting like an angel, and The Enabler is letting it all happen without a second thought. Did I mention she still had her sunglasses on? It seems important to note. At this point in the service I am only able to catch a few sentences here and there. Not the way I like to spend my time at mass.

Then it’s as if Sherman realizes the freedom and approval that The Enabler has given him and pulls out all the stops. In another trip below the pew, he decides that Z and I must find his adventure as awesome as he does because he scoots himself over so he is now looking up at us from the ground. Looking up, from below our feet, while we are standing, when I’m wearing a dress, with the most obnoxious grin imaginable plastered across his face. Is anyone else feeling uncomfortable?

I immediately scoot back and politely tuck my dress between my legs so the worlds smallest creeper doesn’t see up my skirt. I can’t say with 100% certainty that it was his goal to see up my skirt, it mostly seemed like was just so unbelievably awesome that he could see us from his little tunnel, but I was still really uncomfortable. And pissed. Yes, I was pissed in church. I was pissed that this was happening two inches away from The Enabler, and it wasn’t like she didn’t know what Sherman was doing, she kept looking over to see where he was and could see his feet pointing upward on the floor. At one point she saw me shaking my head at him and she grabbed his foot to pull him back to standing. I thought {with fingers crossed} that we were finally in the clear and could enjoy the rest of the service.

As we knelt in preparation for communion I watched Sherman slip back under the pew. Oh boy. A few seconds later he was not only looking back up at us, but was grabbing Z’s knee. Thank the sweet lord he didn’t grab mine because he would have gotten his hand smacked so fast he wouldn’t have known what hit him. No pun intended.
Z, trying to be inconspicuous and not add any more disruption to the service, {I should note that there were a number of other families all around us who were also watching this mess unfold.} tried to shake Sherman off his knees and joined me in giving him the evil eye while shaking our heads. The Enabler noticed all of our movement and looked back at us like “what’s your problem?”. We both gestured down at Sherman and she grabbed him back out from underneath us. once again Thankfully it was time for us to get up and receive communion after which we happily slid down the pew, away from Sherman the future peeping Tom.

Once the service was over we grabbed the Bean from the nursery, walked outside, and looked at each other with the exact same “did that seriously just happen?” expression. We were dumbfounded that 1. Sherman hadn’t been taught what kind of behavior is appropriate in public, let alone at church, and 2. that The Enabler wasn’t doing anything to change his behavior. We both commented that if we had acted the way Sherman did when we were kids our parents would have taken us out of whatever public place we were in and tanned our hides. I mean seriously, no discipline whatsoever? Not even the slightest bit of correction to blatantly inappropriate behavior? It wasn’t as if she was having a hard time wrangling both children, she and her daughter were both sitting politely still as if nothing was even happening while creepy mc creepster tormented the pews. I’m not saying cause a scene in the middle of church, as if anything the mother could have done would have been more distracting than what we were already enduring, but there is NOTHING wrong with taking your child out of the room to correct the behavior to {hopefully} teach them what is appropriate. I’m mystified every time I think about it. And oddly enough, we were still talking about it during our after-church lunch trip to Panera and the woman at the table next to us leaned over and said, “Excuse me, but I just had to compliment you on how well behaved your daughter is. It’s so nice to see her sitting calmly at the table with you instead of running around the restaurant causing a mess.” I will admit she definitely stroked our egos. Especially when she went on to tell us she had hope in humanity knowing there are folks out there who can raise well-behaved children. More ego stroking. Then she gave us permission to have another kid. Just plain creepy.

So. There you have it. The first {of many} Parenting Pet Peeves. Parents who don’t discipline their children. After all discipline, whether it’s with time out, a spanking, or a more peaceful “chit chat”, is one of the ways we teach our children. We teach our children the difference between right and wrong. We teach our children how other people deserve to be treated.

Thoughts? Discussion? Similar experiences? Share your own parenting pet peeve!

Until next time…

4 thoughts on “Parenting Pet Peeves

  1. I gave C her first ever time out today, so yeah, I agree with you 1000% that kids need boundaries. I think they get stressed out without them and without adults reining them in. Sometimes, telling a child “no” and to stop is as good as telling them that you love them.

  2. I think the flipside here is important too. Even though she has a naughty child that she doesn’t know how to control, she showed up in church. Even though she had a hard time getting out of the house in time, and knew there’d be judgy glances for bring late, she showed up in church. Lets take this opportunity to pray for Sheldon and his mom. Let’s pray for whatever her situation is that causes her to wear sunglasses indoors. And I will pray that God sends someone kind enough to offer her guidance and a helping hand next time they see her in church, or simply to ask her “how are you today?”

    • You are absolutely right, and I did pray for the whole family during the service. I also thanked God that I was able to get to church on time and had wonderful nursery keepers watching my child who no doubt would have been a chatty Kathy. I happily greeted her during the passing of the peace and wished her a blessed day, as we do to all our brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of if they are disruptive or not. I know we all have special circumstances and Lord knows I am never perfect in my parenting, as I said in the post, but I do hold the attendance of church in Hugh regard and if I or my family are making it difficult for others to hear the word of The Lord then I will remove the distraction so others may enjoy their time in fellowship, worship, and prayer. Thank you for your comment Beth! Rest assured I only spoke of one aspect of that interaction! A full brain dump would have been a pain to write AND read!

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