Thursday, April 14, 2011


I've had a few things rolling around in my head for a few days and I finally decided to put there down somewhere so I can stop thinking about them. Here goes:

1. Almost everyone I know, myself included, has opinions about raising and interacting with children. Since I don't yet have kids of my own, in many ways I don't feel qualified to have opinions. However, I work as a nanny to 3 fabulous kids and have for a couple of years now, and it has provided ne an opportunity to sort out some of my personal opinions and ideas about raising children. Don't worry, I'm not going to share them with you here. I believe that everyone has the right to raise their children in whatever way they feel is right and best for them and I try very hard not to offer advice unless specifically asked. But I'll admit, I have criticized (either in my head or to a family member or friend) some odd parenting choices I've seen from time to time.

The reason I have been thinking about this is becuase of something that happened last Friday. I took one of the kids to a fun morning play group with songs, art and activities. He is normally a very happy and out going little guy but was obviously feeling a little off his game that day. It was a full hour of mini meltdowns and temper tantrums, and if I was feeling bold enough, I should have just taken him home early. That probably would have been the best solution. Not because I felt he needed to be punished, but because he wasn't happy and I wasn't happy and it was stressing us both out. Oh well, hindsight, right?

After the free play portion of the morning, we moved on to art and the meltdown ramped up even more. I did what I could to move him on to doing something he enjoys and try to redirect, and when that didn't work I calmly said "no more" and let him sit where he was and work it out. The idea was that he usual calms down quite quickly and comes back to where the fun is. He had been sitting on the floor crying for no more than 15 seconds when a mother fom the class came up and gave me a faux sympathetic look and said in a very syrupy voice "would you mind if I try holding him?" I was so surprised by this that without thinking I agreed. It was only once she had picked him up that I realized how pissed I was. She proceeded to bounce and snuggle and coo at him like he was an infant and say things to me like "oooh, he's a sensitive little guy isn't he?". After a minute of this, he was more upset than he had been and I regained my presence of mind enough to take him back.

Here's my question: why was this woman thinking it was her place to step in? He wasn't in any pain or being neglected, he was a toddler having a temper tantrum. And why, when she offered "help" did she thinking it was appropriate to do so in such an obnoxious and condescending way?
I am young, yes. Not necessarily too young to have a child of my own, but young. And I look younger than I am. I frequently get mistaken for a high schooler, and I frequently get mistaken for a mother when I am out with the kids I nanny. But still, why would you offer unsolicited parenting advice to a stranger or offer to hold them with the not so subtle underone of "I can do it better than you."

I recently read a serious of posts entitled Momness by Kacy of Every Day I Write the Book, about this subject and I have to agree. Unless you know soneone and their kid(s) personally, butt out. And even if you do know them, tread lightly and respectfully and offer something constrctive instead of just plain critical. Otherwise you may get punched in the face. Because that is what I felt like doing.

Moving on.

2. A sure sign of spring in our community is a sudden and steep increase in the number of people knocking on our door. I don't know what it is about our particular part of town, but I have never had so many unwelcome visitors to our front porch.

To name a few: ADT, the Jehovas Witnesses, the Mormons, municipal political candidates, the scouts, the yellow pages, the Calgary Herlald, the Calgary Sun, it goes on.

Last weekend we had the Scouts AND the Jehovah's Witnesses (twice) over two days. I was irritated by the scouts because they were doing a bottle drive to raise money for their troop and had posted big billboards asking people who wanted to donate to put them on their porch, clearly labeled, by a certain time on a certain day. We don't give money to the Scouts. We don't want to give our bottles to the Scouts. So we didn't put any bottles out. And guess what? They came knocking anyway. I was polite and friendly to the boy that came to the door, because he was a kid, but I was irritated that a leader was sending their kids around to ask.

Not 5 minutes after I sent the Scout away, a pair of men dressed in suits and carrying little pamphlets on Jesus came knocking. I opened the door and greeted them and they immediately started in on their speech. I quickly interrupted them and said as politely as possibly, "I'm sorry but we have a sign on our door that clearly states 'No Solicitors". We are not interested." Big shocker, they started telling me they weren't soliciting but merely telling me about Jesus. I call that soliciting religious information. I wasn't so polite after that. I told them I consider them solicitors and they are not exempt from the sign, and to please leave immediately and by the way, don't come back.

Call me mean or cranky, but if I want information on your religious organization or political campaign, or a vacuum, or alarm system or ANYTHING ELSE, I will come find you. Please do no knock on my door at 9am on a Saturday morning and bother me with it. I will shut the door in your face.

The Jehovah's Witness's came back the next morning and then I was really pissed. I pointed to the sign, said "What does it say???" And again, they told me they weren't soliciting. Seriously. I told them what I told their friends yesterday and to get lost.

Needless to say, I will be our replacing the sign with something bigger and more menacing. How does this sound:

Solicitors, Peddlers, Sales People, Religious/Spiritual Organizations, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts, Canvassers, Free Trial Offers, Energy Companies, Flyers, Phone Books, Yellow Pages or Home Security Companies

If you think you might be exempt from that list, you are NOT. Do not ring the bell, knock on the door or leave anything behind. We don't want it. If you ignore this we will call your company or organization and complain, and we will call the city and complain about you and your company.

Neighbours, Friends, Family and Newspapers always welcome!

Haha, do I sound like enough of a grump yet?? Obviously I won't put all that on a sign, but people interrupting my personal time make me maybe I will!


Kathy said...

ha ha...good rants :). That parenting thing happens All. The. Time. I think people hear a kid crying and automatically assume that something is wrong. Which most of the time that's not the case. Kids cry, they should, they're probably fine, relax and get over it. And it takes far to much time to explain to someone that the kid is just frustrated and blah blah blah. I usually just go to the no fail responses of she's just tired or it's time to eat. Even if it is a complete lie. People seem to back off then, although you still get the look *lol*.

Maybe your sign could say "if you don't know the names of our guard cats, go away!"

Jen said...

To address #1...
As a mother of 2 and usually doing it on my own since my husband is always gone, here's my thoughts...
the only thing I can think of is maybe she was thinking that she could help. But to then talk to a toddler like an infant is weird, so I don't know! I remember once I was flying on an airplane with my then 5 year old and a 7 month old alone w/out the hubby. The 7month old was on my lap and stirring, whining, crying and doing everything possible to get off my lap. At that point an older lady sitting in the 3rd seat in the 3 seat row we were in, asked if she could hold her. As soon as my daughter was held by her, she calmed right down and nestled into her and went to sleep. That instance, I was SO HAPPY that someone had stepped in and helped me. She saw me flustered and with my hands full and helped and I was appreciative. I've noticed that on other occasions too when I'm at the mall or something with my 2 kids and I'm having a heck of a time with them, then sometimes someone will offer help but it's usually grabbing something for me, or moving something out of the way etc. But I can tell you that if someone treated me like I didn't know what I was doing or doing something wrong, I would go off! It's super hard being a parent alone most of the time and since my husband is gone serving our country, don't let someone tell me I'm doing a bad job! They will live to regret it!

Now onto #2...
OMG, I feel your pain! I live on base now,so I don't get solicitors and it's so nice. But our last place we lived, we were in town and the Mormons and JWs would drive me nuts. Actually, I take take that back. I had 2 Mormon boys come to my house right after I had my youngest and of course, husband was gone again, I had NO sleep, I was a wreck. They must have sensed it right off the bat b/c they said that it looked like my hands were full and if I needed any help with anything, they'd be more than willing to help. They asked if I needed anything picked up from a store, groceries, or a hand with any housework. At that point, I couldn't be rude to them. I thanked them and told them i was fine and it was very kind of them to offer help and that I wasn't interested in the LDS. They said that is fine and if I ever wanted to talk about Jesus I could call on them. They also offered to come back in a few days to check in on me to see if I needed anything.
I must have really looked like a wreck! What is so funny is that these two boys had to be pretty young (under 20) and were on bikes. I lived at least 2 miles from the closest store. I wonder what would have happened if I took them up on their offer and asked for groceries and some loads of laundry to be done and my lawn mowed!
As for the sign you want to post, I'd so GO FOR IT!! You'd probably still get someone knocking on your door b/c people are idiots and don't read signs!
Great post! Loved reading this and sorry for the LONG reply! ;)

hayley said...

as a mom of 2, i feel i can say that you are completely right about your feelings towards that nosy mom butting in. that was very unhelpful actually... if he was crying from being hurt or scared, that's one thing (even then...) but to coddle him for having a meltdown? that goes against everything i try to teach my kids. it would have been more constructive (and appropriate) if she had tried to offer him something as a distraction from his tantrum ... offered him an alternate activity or toy. as his nanny you were in a tough spot... if that was my own child someone tried to do that to, they would hear it from me. these are the same people who breastfeed their 4 year olds when they don't get their way and throw a fit. if you want to nurse a pre-schooler, fine, but do it for the bond and for nourishment and NOT as an excuse or substitution for teaching a child how to manage his/her emotions by that age. there are aspects of attachment parenting i really respect and find helpful, but the extreme AP followers have some really unhealthy ideas.