Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Not in Kansas Anymore

Every once in awhile I'll find myself face to face with a situation that jolts me back into reality. And it is during this reality check that I realize, I live in a bubble.

Tonight, such a circumstance took place.

We went to the local pizza place with some dear friends. It was two-for-one pizza night and it sounded like a deal. We didn't have to make dinner, it didn't cost all that much (relatively speaking) and we didn't have to clean up! The pizza itself isn't to die-for but, like I said, we didn't have to clean up afterward. I love vacation!

Now hear me, this place is definitely a joint. Our feet were sticking to the floor by the soda machine and a couple of the arcade games didn't work. But who cares? The kids loved it and ran around pretending to play the games until dinnertime.

We had a lovely dinner-laughing, stuffing our faces and laughing some more. It was just nice to be with friends. Once the kids were all through, we finally handed out the real cash and let them play some games. They were in heaven running around.

Meanwhile, little Elle was bopping around too, trying to get in on the action and poking her little head into the arcade to be with the big kids. One of the games she really liked was the car game and she spent a good deal of time up in the driver's seat pretending to drive. And then another little boy, who wasn't with our group, got himself in that driver's seat and so Elle just stood on the side right next to him while he pretended to drive.

But pretty soon, he realized that he didn't like her there. So in spoiled little boy fashion, he pushed her off the seat right onto her head on the floor. This little boy was much bigger than her and she wasn't doing anything but just watching. I immediately ran over since I saw what happened and scooped her up off the floor. She was crying-hard, for it was quite a fall and quite a big push. The little boy didn't even flinch as I picked her up off the ground.

I glanced around and I didn't see any parents watching so I simply told him, "You can't treat her like that. She's so much littler than you. Please don't push." Again, no response. So I leave him there and take her somewhere else where she is safe.

A few minutes later a very pushy, aggravated woman comes and gets in my face telling me that I should come talk to her if I have a problem with her son because he's just a little boy.

Ummmmmm....what?! Who are you? And where were you five minutes ago when your little boy flattened my petite little baby for standing next to him and watching him? And how was I supposed to know you were his mom? This is a crowded pizza parlor with lots of people in it. Shouldn't you be apologizing rather than chastising me for talking to your son about pushing? This is all racing through my mind as I try and come up with a calm response to the nonsense being spoken to me.


We decided to leave since at that point the whole party of people with the lady were all starting to glare at us and give us their meanest stares. Steve went up and talked to them for a few minutes explaining that I didn't see any parents so I merely asked him not to push our daughter. The lady was insistent that he was just a child and we had no right to be scolding him.

Obviously they're not doing much of that at home. For he didn't seem to bat an eyelash when he wanted her out of the way.

The whole situation was totally unbelievable to me...

I know not all parents parent the same. I respect that. And I know that these situations happen. But people, these women (for by the end of the matter a few of them had gotten involved) looked like they were ready to throw down over it simply because I had politely asked a little boy not to hurt my daughter.

Can we say backwards?

On the ride home, Steve and I laughed as we tried to understand what had just transpired. How was it that we were the bad guys in that situation?

But then my friend's parting words came to mind when she very calmly said, "Just let it go Nikki. These strange things happen...that's why we can be so thankful for our neighbors and friends who love their kids enough to call them on their mistakes rather than pretending their kids don't know better."

And it dawned on me, I live in a bubble where parents want to take responsibility for their kids' actions and want their children to be held accountable too. This isn't necessarily true of all parents. Some want to shelter them from accountability as much as possible and I can't do a thing about it.

She's right. And I must say, I love that little bubble of niceness, justice and care that I'm surrounded with.

Sometimes, out in this great big world, I find I'm not in Kansas anymore and I have to learn to deal with these odd-ball situations in the right way without being as absurd as my foes. I definitely didn't earn an A tonight. In fact, I probably pulled a C if I'm lucky, being as though I was pretty frustrated over the whole thing and straight up appalled. Hopefully next time, I'll be able to respond less defensively.

I guess it's good to be in these situations here and there to remind me how good I have it on a regular basis.

However, I must admit, even though it's flat and predictable, give me Kansas any day. I love Kansas.

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