Someone Please Snatch Up These Children…

Part writing exercise (cause I just write for writing’s sake sometimes.) Part blog. I edit a monthly news article that always gets bumped back to me for revisions. Frankly, I’m not used to being edited so hard. I’m learning a lot. But fuck if growth isn’t hard. You’re just going to have to read more randomness as I intentionally practice more at putting jumbled thoughts into cohesive expressions.

“We BeBe’s kids.  We don’t die we multiply”

-Robin Harris

I was in the nail shop around the corner earlier getting did right for the week. It was pretty empty—just me, a Jewish woman and her two kids—appx. 3 and 2—and the staff, 3 Hispanic ladies and the Asian owner. The Jewish lady was on her cell phone and her kids were roaming free. The older one went to use the bathroom, then complained she couldn’t wash her hands. The mom paused the call to ask the owner to turn the facet on for her. Then the little girls came to stand right up on the woman doing my pedicure. All up and invading the woman’s space—and her ability to focus on my feet (which after 3 weeks with no pedicure were jacked!) I finally, very nicely, told the oldest girl that she should go sit next to Mommy because Mommy missed her. The woman was oblivious to all of this. The oldest one tells me no(!), but then I add some bass and some firmness to my voice and the little girls finally leave. They wander around the shop knocking shit over, which one of the Hispanic ladies cleans up. Then they wander to the front of the store. Mom= oblivious.

I speak functional Spanish, but not enough to say ‘this bitch is tripping.’ However, facial expressions are near universal and that was enough for me and the Hispanic ladies to have a mutual chuckle at how recklessly absent this woman was in paying attention to her kids.

I tried to go back to reading my magazine, but I couldn’t. (When the hell did I start getting protective of kids? Is my biological clock ticking?) There are a host of dangers that kids can get into in a nail shop and well… I felt like I needed to make sure they didn’t harm themselves. It’s not their fault their mother isn’t raising them right or paying attention. When I look up, the 2 year old is playing in the trash can (germs!!!!) and the older child is pulling on the door to get outside the shop (danger!!!). The mother still hasn’t noticed.

No one else in the shop speaks enough English to alert the woman to her gross errors in parenting, so I take it upon myself to yell at her loud enough to interrupt her phone call. “Excuse me, Miss! You need to watch out for your kids!” I point to the door that the older child is still holding open while she stares at the Black lady yelling at her Mom. The younger one is elbow deep in trash and unfazed by my shouting.

Mom beckons the kids over by offering chocolate (yes, let’s reward bad behavior. No need to wipe your filthy hands, little one.) They pay her no mind. Maybe the fifth time she says something, they walk over for a treat. They eat, are momentarily still and silent, then go back to their antics. Mom never does end her call.

The littlest one climbs on a chair near where the polishes are displayed. She’s grabbing at them, using the plastic display case for leverage. The older one is sitting next to her flipping through nail magazines. Mom is all into her call. Still. I try to ignore them. I mean these are her fucking kids; I’m not a got-damned nanny. If she doesn’t care about the safety of her kids, why should I? Because they are kids and they don’t know any better. She’s curious. Not bad. Just has no home training. It’s not her fault her mother’s an idiot.

I get a vision of that display case giving way, and a 2-year-old tumbling off a chair and onto the wood floor head first and broken glass and nail polish everywhere. So I yell for the mother again. (My logic is not yelling at them is that if I can get the Mom to show some act right, then maybe she will learn some. It all goes back to feeding a man a fish and teaching a man to fish. Think on it.) I stop myself from shouting rather demeaning, “hey Lady” and go for another, “Miss! Your daughter!” and point. She looks at me in the mirror like I am annoying her by saving her baby girl from busting her head wide open.

More chocolate for the kiddies. Yes, let’s feed hyperactive mofos (yes, I just called kids mofos) more sugar. This woman needs a damn parenting book. Or at least some common sense. I can’t help, but to say, “Are you fucking kidding me?” out-loud. The woman scraping my heels laughs. Evidently she understands more English than I thought. Or maybe she got the tone and didn’t need the translation. The other two women are just shaking their heads. The owner has put us all on ignore. I’d be lying if said there wasn’t a part of me that wishes I should have just let the child fall. Then Mom might have learned her a lesson. But what a thing to do to a kid just to spite the Mom.

I think about what my Mom would have done if I did that. I can’t even picture it. She never would have let me get that out of hand. I would have been sat in a chair next to her with a toy and it would have been made clear that I was not to move and I was to be quiet. When I tried to get up, cause I know I would have, I would have been stopped in my tracks. Mommy didn’t play that.

The woman never made her kids sit still, just like she never got off the phone. When she left the shop, I was relived. And then I sent up a prayer for God to watch over her babies. Someone needs to.

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13 responses to “Someone Please Snatch Up These Children…

  1. Whew… the woman has no excuse. In reading this, I look at how it applies to me. I hate bringing my child (2 ½) into places of relaxation, but sometimes, I just have no choice. Granted my feet have compromised into monthly maintenance… (and I’ve gotten pretty good at doing them myself) but when I do go, my son gets a car, a lollypop and must sit in my lap the whole time. (He also knows Mommy don’t play that) I can’t say that the experience is even enjoyable anymore, knowing that the patron’s eyes will roll as I come in the door. I tend to stress about if they will become annoyed with our soft rendition of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star”. But I have also taken into account that the staff loves it when he comes in and no one has complained.

    Anyway, I’m glad you said something. I always do. Those neglected children will become even worse as they grow older and unfortunately that karma is going to come right back in her face. Just wait till they turn 12. Hopefully, some family member will snatch them up before it’s too late. Yes, I said snatch…or call Super Nanny up to show her that bad parenting=bad (depressed, mistreated, angry) children.

  2. First you’ll have to excuse me for mini-blogging on your blog.

    But I’ve got lots to say.

    1. How old was that woman? Bet you she wasn’t 17. Bet you 100 to 1 she got married the minute her biological clock started ticking. This left her no time to get her sh*t together.
    Parenting is not a skill you learn, it’s a frame of mind. That woman doesn’t need a parenting book, she needs her maternal instincts to kick in.
    I’m the expert because I know from 30 years of experience that marriage stimulates that instinct. The longer you are married before you have children, the better you will be at parenting.
    1st, you’ll be more interested in doing it right.
    2nd, you’ll be more financially stable.
    3rd, you’ll be more patient and will have acquired more communicating skills, making you better able to deal with stress.
    4th, you’ll have become less selfish (marital sharing and working together is a maturity lesson in itself)
    5th, after a few years of marriage, you’ll know that you want children with this sweet-and-sour/spicy man. you’ll have time to daydream about what your children will look like and to work towards the goal of building a nest and a nest egg.
    6th, You will WANT children. most women play the beat-the-clock game. They rush to produce babies before the clock stops ticking, and later figure out that children are a hassle when you have a new marital relationship to figure out.
    I could go on, but you get the point.

    I must point out that I met my husband (who’s 8 years my senior) when I started college at 15. Yes I was pure and no, he didn’t break any rape statues. He waited for the honeymoon.

    Most people sneer, grimace and wince when I tell them I got married at 17 as if i did something gross.
    Society has it norms. We all follow them without thought.
    One of the benefits of my early marriage was that I can without baggage. All the kinky stuff I love in bed, my hubby taught me! LOl.
    We finished school, struggling together. We grinded and the friction created sparks until one day all our edges fit smoothly. We because a perpetual machine, giving out more energy than we put in. And then we had our child. I was 2 months short of my 36th birthday when my son was born.
    The same people who sneer, grimace, wince, wonder how in hell I managed to “get” a child who’s so polite, well-spoken, well-behaved, empathetic, studious, funny, and self-confident when I’m not a disciplinarian.
    Psychologist talk a lot of shit. The only key to good parenting is love. By love, I mean the Bible’s definition in Corinthians.
    I never yell at my kid. we treat him like a human being who had the capacity to understand and learn. If you treat kids well and you give them your fullest attention, they will respond. Children learn bad behavior from their parents. If your attention span is -2 then so will theirs. They watch you and immitate you. If you sing 50 cents and know all the lyrics, so will they. If you dance and dress like a stripper, so will they. If you watch Jerry Springer in their presence, then they’ll know his name before they know their phone number.

    Gist: You must want children with your mate WAY BEFORE you have them–not when you’re pregnant. Because if you’re in love with that man, your kids become invaluable, not only because they’re yours but because they’re his.
    A good marriage creates a form of stability and peace of mind that single people cannot imagine. All your maternal instincts mature like an ovum after puberty.

    The more time you have for that maturity, the better.
    I’ve always been a free-minded person. I’m not a conformer. I’ve always used unbiased logic my own common sense to set my rules.
    People sneer and are appalled at the decisions I’ve made. my dad refused to sign the papers for my wedding. I threatened my mom with “living in Sin” if she too refused. To this day my Dad, the quintessential narcissist refuses to admit he was wrong. I’ve been 30 years and he still thinks my marriage will end in divorce because I married young. People can be such followers and conformists.
    (That’s why I love Obama. Now there’s a man who can think for himself and not afraid to go against popular beliefs.)
    Einstein defined stupidity as doing the same thing over and over even though the unacceptable result is the same. That explains the divorce rate–people are getting married TOO LATE.
    “Sowing your wild oat seeds” doesn’t free you, it gives you more baggage.
    Baggage is not a good thing. And it’s impossible to get rid of. The psycholists who say it is, are lying. They just want that money you could be using for a a mortgage.

    That’s not to say marriage after age 30 is not a good idea. All I’m saying is you’ll have to work harderx2 than someone who married young by choice–choice being the operative word.
    I truly don’t believe that the younger you marry the more susceptible you are to divorce. In the old days when people married young, divorce was near non-exsistent. Today the divorce rate is 50% and climbing. NO one has stopped to investigate if age at marriage might be a factor.
    So let them sneer, grimace, and wince. Bet you 1000k to 1 that I’m happy and they’re not.
    Maybe sneering, grimacing and wincing are the only facial expressions they know! LOL.

    I’m done. Sorry all.

  3. Nique,

    Cam’s blog posts stimulate my thoughts. I wouldn’t know what to say ad lib.
    Still,
    I’m glad my points came across despite the grammatical and spelling errors and typos. My son has been out of school since Friday and I had to type fast because we’re having a guitar hero competition going on. I won, yeah! I’m the reigning queen of “Black Magic woman” and “Slow Ride.” *gloating*

    CamronZoe how about some smilies?

    C-W

  4. Can Writer: I can’t even speak on after you. You brok ish down so that it can forever and consistently be broke! (Love Jones, I quote it almost daily). But, poor parenting infuriates me. I’m not a mother but I often try not to judge b/c I haven’t been there. But that type of neglect is blatant and I’m so glad you spoke on it! Hopefully when she got back to her Park Ave. pad she took a closer look in the mirror while your voice resonated in her mind. Also, your mother sounds like mine: when out in public or visiting someone we knew that we were to sit still next to mommy and when got antsy, as children do, all it took was A LOOK (a sideways glance) from my mom and you straigtened up quickly! That looks still works today and I’m over 30.

  5. CW will you be my marriage guru 🙂

    I think it is awesome how you break down 30 years so simply. I am also amazed at your knowing that this man was right for you at such a young age. Though my hubby and I have been together for so long it wasn’t until I was away in college Junior year that I KNEW. And I still waited on the marriage thing.

    As for children and how they imitate you, I am seeing that 100% with my 20 month old. I have had to watch what I do and say because he is so receptive

  6. CW:

    i’m with you on the children/parenting/having kids comments, but not on the marriage stuff.

    i truly believe it depends on the individual and there is no universal timeframe that is good or bad for when you get married.

    as far as society and its norms… that can depend on where you’re from. back in my hometown, it is the norm to forego college and marry young. and folks STILL get divorced left and right! (so whose the einstein?) i am the kid from the neighborhood who moved away and no one understands b/c i chose NOT to conform and follow the norms!

    i think your perspective on when to marry is overreaching. what is working for you and your husband, certainly will not work for everyone. there are thousands of variables that apply to your situation. and there will be a thousand different ones that apply to someone else’s life.

    factors could be marrying someone older (8 years difference says a lot in your case, imo), growing up in a stable household, being mature enough to handle a major commitment (quote: the more time for maturity the better), upbringing, temperament, values, dreams, goals, growing up around solid examples of healthy relationships, etc. PLUS a ton of stuff that was “non-existent” in the old days which most certainly exists today, they too have their part.

    or how about the fact that “the one” hasn’t yet showed up? most folks i know aren’t walking around putting marriage off on purpose. it’s not about sowing oats to freedom. we just haven’t met the right “one” yet! give us a break, world! 🙂

    baggage or no baggage, whatever you want to call it, we all have our “stuff”. yours came together with your husband’s perfectly at 17, and your story seems to be a beautiful one. i can tell you for a fact that would not have at all been the case for me. and i personally believe – no, i know that it will be much easier for me now than it would have been for me 10 years ago.

    trust however, i would’ve gotten married then or anytime in my past if it had all worked out. but i thank God for the work he has done in me that may or may not have been done otherwise.

    (p.s. the guy i was dating at 17 is divorced twice! he got married young, btw — we’re only 28.)

  7. if we can focus on the topic at hand, folks, it would be most appreciated. In case anyone’s wondering–it would be the absentminded woman with the horrendous parenting skills.

    I’ll address my thoughts on marrying young and baggage in Thursday’s blog. (roughly it goes: you likely don’t have much baggage at 15, but you likely don’t have common sense or maturity either. this would apply in most– but not all– cases.) I’d do it tomorrow but Wednesday’s blog is already written.

    and the woman wasn’t young. late 20s, late 30s.

  8. CW,

    Loved everything you said on parenting. However, marrying young to avoid divorce and “baggage”?

    I’ve learned a lot from the different men I’ve dated. My biggest lesson is that I am happy to not be married to any of them. I’m not against marriage, but I don’t see it as something that needs to be scratched off my to-do list by 28 just cuz i’m turning 28.

  9. Bad parents raise bad parents if no one steps in. I’m glad you stepped in CamronZoe, even if for a quick second. Maybe other people have/will stepped in and the mom will finally get the hint.

    (I’ll save my comments about CWr’s response for the next blog…but who really wants to be married before they graduate high school?!? Also who wants to be married to someone 8 years OLDER ……..(LOL)

  10. CW…there are no words. I am truly starting to believe that your wisdom is infinite.

    As a person who has sworn off children (they aren’t right for me and I am okay with that so please do not try to convince me otherwise) I would have been more than pissed. I swear there needs to be a license for pregnancy because there are too many unfit parents running around. And the horrible part is that her kids are going to believe that is how parents are supposed to interact with their children and they are going to repeat the same pattern when they become adults.

    And they know what we are saying at all times CamronZoe. They play that “No Speak English” role well…

    (no pun intended on your Dominican side Cam)

  11. I see sticky-fingered, snotty-nosed children running wild all the time–normally in places that bore the heck out of them–nail salons, “grown” restaurants, banks, etc. I blame the parents for not teaching them when and where it’s appropriate to be wild children…and for not bringing–toy, dolls, latest-video-game-apparatus–to keep them entertained during her long, boring mani-pedi.

    But, I always stay out of it…yes, it’s uncomfortable to watch and I feel like the mom should be watching her kids, but they are HER kids. If they slip on a bottle of nail polish and then proceed to paint the walls with it and lick it off the walls, so be it. If the mom doesn’t know how to be a mom to her children, the nail salon should take it up with her.

    If it’s your favorite nail salon, maybe mention to the manager that, as a patron, you have a right to not be made uncomfortable my another patron’s unruly children. Perhaps they’ll adopt a “no children allowed” or “no horseplay” policy.

  12. OOH! this entry got my blood pressure up by just reading it! i can totally picture that whole scenario! i see it all the time in QC!

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