It is a common occurrence that I get extremely unwarranted compliments on my mothering skills.
For instance, at my niece's birthday party a couple of months ago, a friend of my sister-in-law informed me that I am, "such an easy-going mom."
"You are so calm and relaxed for having triplets plus one." She explained that her sister in Mexico City has triplets and she is always stressed out and panicked about things.
Because I believe that telling the truth is always the best policy, and because my all-knowing mother and step-father heard the compliment, I swallowed hard a few times and then came clean.
I admitted that I am very good at keeping a calm front and that I have nearly perfected the art of making others believe that I have it all under control at ALL times!
If only this sweet woman with the kind compliment could have seen the incident that took place in a very busy restaurant just a short month ago, she would surely retract her words!
In typical Annie fashion, she woke from a short slumber with a chip on her shoulder. Maybe it was due to the discomfort of sleeping in a clothing store shopping cart, or maybe it was because the line to check-out was a miserable 20 minutes long due to last minute Christmas shoppers. None-the-less, she carried a chip!
Because a bean and cheese burrito with sour cream sounded like the perfect cure-all, we pulled into a local mexican restaurant for lunch. After placing our order, Annie informed me through her still falling tears, that she wanted fruit punch to drink instead of the water I ordered for her.
The whole room began to close in on me as the altercation escalated and her voice became raised. I could hear burritos, tostadas, and enchiladas falling to their plates as the other patrons of the restaurant watched to see how I was going to handle this noisy situation.
Because I have taken enough child development classes to know proper techniques for dealing with children, I got down on my knees so that I could speak with her at her level. Through clenched teeth housed inside a beat red face, I informed her that if she didn't stop her ranting immediately, I would take her outside and swat her bottom and sit her in the car until she was quiet!
When she wouldn't conform, the many strategies I'd learned in child development classes immediately left my repetoire! With fingers
Little did I know that a professor of child development would cross my path while I was laying down the law.
You see, a construction worker who had the same hankering for Mexican food that afternoon happened to walk out the door as my hand met Annie's butt. He proceeded to walk the 10 yards to the corner of the parking lot where his work truck was parked. I'm pretty sure he was putting some space between himself and me, before he decided to butt into my situation.
Before closing his door after sitting down inside, he shouted across to me, "Hey lady! You could use some parenting classes."
With my blood pressure already elevated to a level that was surely capable of causing a heart attack, I turned my wrath on him.
"You could really use some parenting classes. She's just a child."
And as if I really cared about his humble opinion, I questioned, "So what? You think I should have left her inside that crowded restaurant and let her ruin everyone's quiet meal with her screaming?"
"I don't care, but you never hit a child."
My generally non-confrontational personality went on vacation as quickly as my child development strategies did just a few minutes earlier, and I yelled back at
And as if he was trying to prove himself the "Master of Parenting," he informed me that he had three children at home. Did that mean he had three children he never spanked? Or three children he never raised his voice to? Or three children that he parented perfectly for however many years they had been on this planet? I had no idea.
"Big wow," I replied. "I have four."
Rubbing salt in the wound, he came back with, "Well, you sure don't do a very good job!"
I'm pretty sure the anger on my face caused him to run for safety. It was for his own good that he got in his car and drove away because I was just about to unleash my wrath on him. His would not be a swift swat on the butt, rather it would have been a closed-knuckle fist straight to his face.
All of this over a little girl named Annie, who woke up grumpy, in typical Annie fashion!