From time to time, I might have an opinion on topics that I know less than nothing about (which, according to some people is all the time) but nevertheless feel the need to spout off about...so welcome to the first installment of Talking Out Of My Ear...today's topic is parenting.
I don't have kids. It's important to know that right up front. I have no idea about the stresses and challenges of raising children in today's world. I do know, however, that some parents shouldn't be allowed to raise sea monkeys, much less children.
I call it the "Joshua/Kennedy Syndrome." I'll be sitting quietly in a primarily adult establishment like Starbucks for example and in they'll come....little Joshua (usually between the ages of 9-11) wearing khaki shorts and a polo shirt. If his mom is especially cruel, he'll be sporting a hideous pair of Crocs. He'll be jumping up and down, babbling at the top of his lungs. His little sister Kennedy (approximately 4-6) follows...no shoes, juice stains on her face. She's always upset and alternates between whining and crying (also at the top of her lungs). Mom is on the cell phone and will remain on it for the duration of their stay. She plops the little darlings at a table, spends about 10 minutes trying to get them to decide what they want and then leaves them there as she goes to place the order...still on the phone. Joshua and Kennedy, who find themselves without supervision, proceed to make laps around the store screaming and/or crying at (yes, you guessed it) the top of their lungs. Mom, finally deciding to pay attention to the fruit of her loins, spends the next hour saying things like "Joshua, please don't touch that...Joshua, remember what we talked about...Kennedy, please don't climb on that...Kennedy, your behavior is unacceptable" as I contemplate shoving a stir stick into my ear just to get some relief. Multiply this by a factor of 5 if it's two or more moms who decided to stop after their yoga class and brought the whole brood with them.
First of all, Starbucks is not a day care center. If you want to ignore your kids while you have coffee, there's a McDonald's right up the street. Dump Joshua and Kennedy in the ball pit and chat with Margot about the curtains to your heart's content. Here's a good rule of thumb...if said establishment doesn't have a designated kids area, then hang up the phone and supervise the little angels. Also...don't leave them out of sight in a room full of strangers while you place the order. If you can't ride herd long enough to order a Venti soy milk green tea frappucino, then consider using the drive through.
Also, we don't negotiate with terrorists so why would you negotiate with a 6 year old. Getting input is fine...but taking up 20 minutes trying to explain to little Trinity why she'll be happier in the long run by making healthy food choices, which will lead to increased empowerment and higher self esteem while 10 people wait in line is incredibly annoying. Just tell her she can't have a damn cookie for breakfast and move along.
It has gotten to the point that I will sit in the smoking section of restaurants just to avoid sitting next to Joshua/Kennedy. I am willing to risk cancer rather than put up with screaming children and parents who do nothing to stop the screaming. If there are kids in the smoking section, at least I can count on their diminished lung capacity and energy level to keep the chaos to a minimum.
But what do I know...I'm just Talking Out Of My Ear.