Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Grumpy Old Women

So maybe getting old and grumpy is not the way to go. Maybe this LFS thing saves us from wandering around decrepidly until we have worn out our welcome here on the planet. The more I run across people who are miserable and make those around them miserable- I wonder....why? We all have bad days. We all have to deal with people we would like to slap up side the head and tell them to get a clue. There are productive ways to effect change in society and then there is manhandling a 4 year old who has no relation or connection to you.

Last week, my friend Tracey mentioned going to the aquarium. We haven't been since Lily was an infant, it is a small building with only a couple rooms. A great mini outing to test out the new hearing aids and gradually work the monkeys into model citizenship. I am halfway to pick up Tracey and Maggie when I realize I forgot my camera and Lily's hearing aid remote control. I grab our carpoolers- we go back to get the forgotten items. We are halfway out of the neighborhood when I can't remember if I shut the garage door or not...so we head back. My whole sense of routine has been shattered. Mama needs to get her groove back.

We endure Lily and Bella screeching and touching each other since they are in much closer proximity in Phil's car- until Lily realizes her hearing aids are itchy and then we listen to that complaint. I'm pretty sure Tracey will opt for 2 car ops next time- if I even get a next time...

We make it to the aquarium, get the children watered and pottied and wrangle them away from the gift shop where they have brilliantly placed tons of aquatic squeaky toys directly in your path. We sit through a 5 minute video about saving coral and not putting trash in the ocean- nothing holds 3 and 4 year olds attention like public service announcements- fortunately there were brightly colored fish involved. As we are finally rounding the corner to the first tank- the kids rush right up to the window. There are little carpeted ledges that tempt children to climb up- and no signs admonishing such. 2 kids are already perched up there and Lily squeezes past 2 adults to climb up. She literally has one leg up and this little old woman starts pecking at Lily's shoulder and wrenching her down all the while yelling at her. I was about to correct Lily's behavior- so I am taken aback and about to pounce on the old bitty who has her hands on my child when I hear "How rude is that?" Before I know it the little old woman whirls around and she and Tracey are facing off. I start counting to 5. Talk about the mommy instinct- I was glad Tracey stepped in- I may have had to throw down an old lady with 2 different school field trips looking on. In this corner we have Granny Grump Alot- 5'2", yielding a mean metal cane- In that corner we have Protective Mama, 5'4, wielding pride and indignancy. Oh wait- Tapout Tracey is in the ring...It's gonna be a tough match. I grab the kids and move away- I'm holding on too tight-I've lost the edge- but I think Tracey has this one in the bag and although Lily is not fazed, Bella and Maggie look like they are gonna cry. I really want to go over there and give her a piece of my mind- but Tracey seems to have found her flow- she's laying out the "You NEVER touch someone's child, who do you think you are? She is a CHILD!" The old lady counters with "I don't want her to trip over my cane..." Tracey shoots back " Are you threatening a CHILD?" Wow- what alternate reality exists in the aquarium? I Knew there would be Lily-centric drama on the trip- I had NO idea it would go down like this. The old lady turns away- the TKO goes to Tough mama Tracey.

6 months ago I probably would have reamed that woman up, down, sideways and backwards. I would have thought it made a difference. As the scene settled down, I saw a variety of parents looking on with abject horror- their gaze following Lily. In a month- she will start look like any other 4 year old with a bad haircut- but she still looks like a cancer patient. Later on in the day- a man actually asked me if she was the cancer patient on all the commercials-( they all look the same you know. Pale, bald, sickly.) The fact that someone would touch my child and reprimand her after all she has been through infuriated me. To the point that if I starting giving her a piece of my mind- I may not have been able to stop. All the injustices I have felt and put down , would come crashing down around this insensitive rude old woman who lost her situational awareness. I don't know what her situation is, or why she is so miserable. I felt horribly sorry for her that she felt she had to pick on a 4 year old to exert her authority. How little control must she have over her life- that she chooses a sick child to reprimand- not the 2 perfectly healthy ones perched on the ledge that had been there well before Lily. Or hell- just be an adult and move away until the annoying lil buggers pass. I believe it takes a village to raise a child. I am all for my children being publicly corrected if they are doing something that affects others negatively. I draw the line at grabbing my child when they aren't in danger or posing a threat to someone else. Maybe it's exhaustion, maybe it's maturity, I'd like to believe it's the latter- but I almost felt like this woman wasn't worth my time- and I was damned sure not going to let her ruin my day. You can tell people like that they are wrong, but they won't hear you. Whatever in them allowed for them to manhandle a child, would prevent them from seeing they were wrong. So where is the justice? In the fact that we did not let it ruin the day- and it could have. In the fact that I have a friend who would throw down for my child as if she were her own. It is a reminder that you will be treated how you treat people. You will reap what you sow.

My hope beyond all hopes is that in a few months- notwithstanding a few wicked battle scars- Lily will look, act like, and be a normal 4 year old. The average person will assume she is just spoiled, and not spoiled because she is going through something terrible, possibly terminal. She will wander around places like she owns them, because that is her personality and not because it's the first time in a long time she's be out in public. On the plus side- we had no major meltdowns- and Lily seemed much less emotional today. She logged over 3 hours of hearing aid time. She also got to witness her first WWE event and seemed entirely unimpressed.


  1. Wow. People neeevvveeerrr cease to amaze me, but YEY on the 3 hour mark!!

  2. What great friends and family, to know you are protected--such a gift. I forgot how the sick and handicapped are so mistreated. Unthinkable. Rude, cruel and intolerable was the old lady's behavior. Thanks for putting her in her place, even for a moment, Tracey. Jen, Tracey was there with you for a reason. Lily's personality was evident at 1 year to me, and it's not likely to change. She's strong and sweet, and entitled to walk around like she owns the world. Love, Mom Deb


Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)