Excuse Me But I Can’t See Through Your Kid

Screen Shot 2015-04-22 at 8.39.15 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-26 at 10.19.28 AMMost parents think their kids have super powers as in super smart, super athletic and well just to save time on this list take pretty much any adjective that would look good on a college application and put super in front of it. Bam, list done. The one super power I’m not buying is the whole invisible thing. No one’s child was born with a cloak of invisibility and yet many parents act like their kids are see through at events like theatre and musical performances.

I understand that parents want their children to experience something like the symphony, but there are common courtesies that still are in place no matter what the age. For example, no child should be allowed to stand up the whole time or do what I call the wander hike.

This is when a kid uses a venue for exploration purposes. It begins with what might, at first, glance seem like an innocent aisle saunter and then grows to include roaming the stairs next to the row of seats their parents are inhabiting. Once that trail is well-worn the intrepid adventurer starts a parade of bathroom visits so robust you begin to question the integrity of the child’s bladder.

Now while all this is happening the kid’s parents seem oblivious to the disruption of their fellow audience members’ enjoyment of the event. They act as if their progeny shares the same transparency as say Casper the Ghost. The very best you can hope for is for the child to get bored and proceed to play games on an iPhone with a screen bright enough to make the sun feel impotent.

When this happens I always feel I have only three choices: One is tamping down my irritation and pretending that it’s no big deal. Two, attempting to ever so discreetly get the parents attention with perhaps just the tiniest of hand waves (and I’m talking the complete hand no single fingers) and gesture that their kid needs to be corralled or three actually saying something. And by this I mean using your words via your vocal cords not coming home and going all cray on social media. Yes, Facebook is an all you can eat buffet for complainers, but more often than not moaning and groaning as a status update is not really accomplishing much.

Last week, I was attending an indoor musical and the aforementioned three choices were all swirling in the head as I was feeling crabby towards a family sitting in front of me. Two parents with a preschooler were allowing their child to not only do the wander hike, but also stand up in his chair and stare at me.

I gave it ten minutes to see if the parents would harness their collective brainpower and have an “ah ha” moment that their child was not made of glass.  After that I felt, based on my rising blood pressure, that my health mandated I do a little hand wave thingy indicating their precious gumdrop needed to attach his fanny to the seat.

Well, if that had worked I wouldn’t now be writing this so we all know the hand wave was a fail. This lead to me ever so gently leaning forward and sweetly whispering, “Pardon me, but I can’t see through your son.”  That earned me a searing look and then the mother told her son, “Honey you need to sit down because there’s a mean lady behind you.”

Whatever. All I cared about is that I could now see the stage. It was all-good until intermission when the dad saw me and began a beration oration for “interrupting them during the show.”  This stumped me to such a degree I was rendered mute until the mom piped up with, “We also didn’t appreciate you making our son feel bad.”

Okay, by now I was experiencing two emotions. The most important one was relief. Finally, I had something to write about for my column. Yeah, go ahead and roll your eyes at that, but hey it’s not easy finding something to blab about every week.

I was also feeling generous. I was going to use this as a teachable moment and reach out to these young parents. So, I replied, “I am so sorry I wasn’t trying to make your son feel bad. I was only attempting to awaken what must be very dormant parenting instincts.”

The dad looked at me like he wasn’t quite sure if I was insulting them. I took that as my cue to exit their range of vision. When the musical started up again the family was no longer inhabiting their seats. I guess they had figured out what I was talking about after all.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! 🙂

 

13 thoughts on “Excuse Me But I Can’t See Through Your Kid

  1. Mamabella says:

    This happened to us only from behind as precious continually kicked my son’s seat and screamed in our ears for the entire first half of the Huey Lewis/Jimmy Buffett concert. After politely asking her to please stop kicking, draping my arm around the seat (and getting my hands kicked), we started glaring at the kid and mama. They never came back to see Jimmy Buffett and we got to enjoy the concert. It was so pleasant that the high pitched screaming stopped that it was almost peace in the middle of a concert. That was a lot of $$$ to pay for you not to be able to stay because you couldn’t/wouldn’t corrall your kid.

    • snarkyinthesuburbs says:

      Ugh! I think part of the problem is parents bring young children to events where they are going to be miserable. I don’t know why they just don’t get a babysitter. It would be a whole lot cheaper than concert or symphony tickets.

    • RachelRae says:

      I had almost same experience at a Buffet concert too! Parents up and behind me allowed their clearly non-elite athlete attempt to hit the drunk wearing a coconut bra and grass skirt in front of me with a beach ball. The result being I took 8 hits to the back of the head, spilling my $15 margarita over my lap. The parent and child ignored me even after I glared at them and said stop it, NOW. Fortunately, the guy next to me was getting collateral damage and took an alternate route by placing the beach balls between his feet and with one punch popping them. I handed him every ball that hit me, he popped them, and we had a nice little beachball graveyard. Eventually they stopped throwing the balls at us when they realized the balls weren’t coming. And they were mad at us!

  2. Virginia R Slusher says:

    We have had that happen at the movies. Also on an airplane. They learn it,I think,from parents who ignore a person who is trying to get down a hallway in a building,or an aisle. Just had that happen going to an office where four people were lined up across a hallway. Had to ask them to please excuse us to get by them. Rude.

  3. lindiana55 says:

    We were at a T Bones baseball game last year, sitting in the bleacher seats along the third base line. A group of girls from a local dance school (which will remain unnamed) was there. The girls continually messed around in the front row, leaning on the rail with their backs to the field of play. Time after time, an infinitely patient security guard asked them to sit in their seats and watch what was going on, since foul balls frequently rocket towards their location. They would sit down long enough for him to climb the stairs up to the concourse, then make faces and go right back to what they were doing. Time after time, their parents and/or chaperones watched silently. My husband and I were so upset and worried about their safety and insolence that we did not enjoy the game. Finally the security man said to one of the older girls, “Are you having trouble understanding what I am saying to you?” The girl ran immediately to mom, who threw a loud hissy fit and and stomped off to talk to the manager. Through all of this, the parents seemed to not care that the kids were rude and at risk of being beaned by a 90 mph baseball.

  4. Sammy says:

    This is becoming an epidemic! Everywhere I go parents are pretending their kids are well behaved meanwhile they’re disrupting a movie, ballet, concert etc for everyone around them. When did it become wrong to tell your kid to knock it off?

  5. LKW says:

    In a nice restaurant for lunch with a relative, a kid in a nearby booth was climbing all over it. The father ignored the child’s behavior even though the child was old enough to sit still. In a stage whisper I said “Who knew it was bad for their self esteem to learn how to behave in public?” Shortly thereafter, we noticed the child had calmed down considerably. Maybe a small victory for civility. Who knows.

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