Sunday, February 24, 2008


At a birthday party today, as the kids were all clumped together on the floor being entertained by Tinkerbell (who was darling, but wearing the most heinous yellow wig), a mom I didn't know came up and whispered to me while I was sitting on the floor. "Excuse me, but your daughter is coughing a lot, and my daughter just got done being sick. I don't want her to get sick again. Could you move your daughter?"

The naive person in me falsely assumed she was approaching me to make some observation on the kids or Tink, so I was first completely taken aback and then hit by a range of emotions. (And I know this seems so dumb, and yet I am still thinking about it ten hours later.)

True, Bug Bug was coughing, and despite near-constant reminders, she was not always covering her mouth. And it's totally fair that this woman didn't want her kid coughed on. But hello - she didn't even introduce herself! Or point out which one was her daughter! Or simply move her own kid!

I had Bug Bug come sit on my lap about 5 feet behind the other kids. She had no idea why I was separating her from the group and just wanted to watch Tinkerbell do magic. I felt bad for Bug, like she was being ostracized (even though only this one mom had said something). I was really embarrassed (I'm still not sure why - perhaps that this mom had called me out on my kid being sick or not following proper mouth-covering etiquette?). I couldn't adequately explain to Bug why she couldn't rejoin her friends. And I was angry that this woman was so nervy.

Was she totally right? I really get the whole don't-want-to-be-sick thing - we go through the same waves of coughing and snot as all other families with little kids. I just felt like she could've handled it differently. I probably still would've been embarrassed if a mom I knew asked the same thing - even if she asked it nicely. There seems to be lots of shame that goes along with parenting. That's probably too strong a word, but there's a lot of ego tied up in other people's perception of your parenting.

Needless to say, I avoided the bitchy mom for the rest of the party. She's probably delightful. Guess I'll never know.


Anonymous said...

What a bitch. I usually just drag my own kid away. Rude.

Nanette said...

Yeah, that seems uncalled for. I would have dragged my (imaginary) kid away, too, if I was that concerned.

meredith said...

i'm w/ jenn. what a bitch.

Leah said...

Her issue, her responsibility to move her own child.

There is no almost-four-year-old on Earth who remembers to cover her mouth EVERY time she coughs and unless the woman wants her kid to sit in a room alone all the time, she's going to either have to get used to the idea that her child might get sick OR take responsibility for her concerns by making her own damn kid move away from Tinkerbell.

Based on my strong reaction to this I am sure that I will be making A LOT of friends with the other mothers on the playground.

Anonymous said...

Nanette has an imaginary kid? FREAKY!!