Sorry friends, this is a real story and not just me laughing at my awful parenting. I’ll write that one some other time.
I just spent the weekend in NYC with my husband, it was lovely. Last week I read a blog that said in NY there’s something new around every corner and it’s so true. You simply can’t take it all in even if you stroll (like Dave and I did…all day…for almost ten miles…).
We were having our free continental breakfast (a requirement for any hotel Dave stays in) on Saturday morning when I noticed a family and their children. The boy was about four, the girl about two. They seemed to me to be doing fine, though the boy was complaining that the girl hit him. She was clearly done with her meal and was trying to climb down from the table. The father came over and told her to stop and sat her back down on the bench.
She tried to go right down under the table again. She was laying on the bench and without warning, he spanked her. She immmediately did what most kids do when you first spank them – she giggled. I think they do this for a couple of reasons. One, because they’re just kind of shocked and don’t know HOW to respond, so they just automatically give a nervous laugh. Two, I think they are so upset that their parent just hit them that they choose to take it as a joke – Daddy can’t really mean this, he’s just playing. They’re trying to give everyone the out.
But Daddy meant business. And of course when you’re trying to “discipline” your child and they laugh at you, it just enrages you. Now that he set the tone there was only one way this could go: escalating.
He was nagging and harassing her to sit down, she was beginning to cry. She played with her food, he told her to “Cut it OUT!” (I could write this script without ever seeing it.) She got some food on her spoon and flung it, he continued to yell at her. She was a whiny mess at this point. Finally he said, “Alright, that’s it.”
They were sitting in the corner booth. This guy took his two-year-old, tiny little daughter, and shoved her into the corner. He put his arm across her chest so she couldn’t wriggle out, and proceeded to sit on her lap. She was pinned into the corner of the booth and he had half his bottom across her stomach and legs.
I had been in the middle of telling Dave a story and at that point my mind went off the rails.
I tried to get it back, we finished our food, and as we left the room I explained why it seemed that my brain had exploded.
Dave was trying to lighten me up and said, “Why don’t you go over there and tell him what he’s doing wrong? Tell him the guru’s here.”
I laughed but told him to shut up.
Then he said, “Tell him he has to read Sitting on the Baby.”
And then it dawned on me, and I said (not laughing), “Oh no. He really WAS sitting on the baby.”
I always say that I can’t make this stuff up. And you know what? I don’t like being right all the time (I’m joking). People will tell me it’s not a big deal, a lot of people spank, you see it all the time, it’s none of your business, what can you do? But whenever I see a parent really mistreating their child, I always wonder: if you’re willing to do that to your kid in public, then what are you doing behind closed doors?
It was one of those situations where the superhero inside me was stepping in and righting all wrongs. But of course in the real world we walk away for all those reasons listed above. And I don’t believe that sticking my nose in an angry dad’s face and causing a scene in the breakfast room is the best way to start my weekend adventure with my husband.
I’d like to ask for your input. Friends, what do you do when you see this kind of stuff? Stay quiet and pray for the kids, like I do? Or do you have the guts to say something? And have you gotten in trouble for it? Did you ever have a happy ending? I’d love to hear your opinion.