I got in a fiiiiiiiiiiiight at the Farmer’s Market again yesterday (the last one was nearly a year ago, when some lady snapped at me to cover up while nursing). We had brought the kids over to have brunch. Robin was unhappy with A) food not coming fast enough, B) being in the stroller, C) the way we kept feeding the other baby instead of him, WTF, and D) everything else. He yelled periodically. Not constantly, and it’s not as if we weren’t doing our best to address it. But two asshole women at a nearby table kept glaring at me, and when I smiled apologetically at one she sneered, “I’m not smiling.” And they kept glaring. And glaring. Finally I went over there and said, “Hey, so, I’m getting a lot of nasty looks from over here, and it’s really bothering me.” Ms. I’m-Not-Smiling told me, unsmiling, that my children were disrupting her meal. “I’ve been watching you,” she said, “and every time he yells you pop food in his mouth. You’re rewarding his bad behavior.”
“Let me get this straight: he’s yelling because he’s hungry, so you want me to . . . not feed him?”
Well, they had come here to have a peaceful lunch. I pointed out that this was the Farmer’s Market; it was filled with kids and loud people. But all of the other kids near us were behaving perfectly, they answered.
“All of the other kids near us are older and capable of speech.”
Ms. I’m-Not-Smiling told me that she was a high school teacher, so she knew how kids like mine were going to turn out. I asked her if she really thought her badly behaved students were bad because their parents had fed them when they yelled for food when they were one year old.
There was more. Too much more. Husband came over and I informed him that we had been doing this whole parenting thing wrong all along and THANK GOD SOMEONE WAS HERE TO SET US STRAIGHT.
Oh, the whole thing was a freaking trainwreck. At the same time that their rudeness made me angry, it also reinforced my anxiety about bringing the kids out in public. It’s true: sometimes they’re loud (especially, I’ve noticed, when they are in loud environments). I’m already completely embarrassed by it even before the kind contributions of Ms. I’m-Not-Smiling. But what am I supposed to do, keep them locked away until they’re six?