I was in the local Subway picking up a sandwich for lunch because I’m a lazy person, especially on Friday. There was a woman with a two-ish year old toddler either running around smashing bags of chips or attached to her hip because he didn’t want to smash potato chips anymore. He wanted a bag of Doritos with his lunch but the mother told him he was going to have a cookie, because it was obvious to everyone that the child definitely needed more sugar, especially in the dose of a huge cookie from Subway.
The woman paid and started getting settled at her table when she bleated out, from one side of the restaurant to the other, “Where do I find the milk?” She yelled this on a couple of occasions because the cashier, working behind the counter and getting customers through the line in an expedient fashion, didn’t realize that the question was posed for him. Eventually her question was heard and she was directed to the cooler in another corner of the restaurant where it was easy to see a wide selection of milk, bottled soft drinks and the like. She didn’t say thank you.
She ordered a large cup and was making her way to the self-service fountain when I was up there putting ice in my cup for a refreshing glass of iced tea. I backed away because the chip smasher followed her up there and I didn’t want to spill or drop my meal before getting the heck out of that restaurant. She stopped in front of the napkins and straws and took two pills while her child pulled at her pants.
“Mommy is taking two Ibuprophen”, she said to the toddler. Apparently he knows what Iburprophen is, or at the very least there’s a lot of pain relievers used in his household.
“You’re driving me insane and a pain in the ass, but I love you.”
This kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I get that even the best behaved kids can be holy terrors at times, and while this toddler was irritating me, I didn’t find his behavior to be too far out of bounds for a young lad his age. Yes, he needed some discipline but that comes with the territory of being a parent. And while I have never. been a parent, I can say that I’m pretty sure I would never call a young child “a pain in the ass” to his face. Maybe at the end of the day when I’m hiding in my bedroom after bedtime or something, but not directly to the kid in a crowded restaurant. Especially with a bullhorn voice like she had.
When my sister and I were kids, around this time of year we would occasionally be bratty to my Mom and she’d say, “I don’t like you right now but I’ll always love you.”
It’s no wonder that passive-aggressive behavior is a particular pet peeve of mine. Or maybe I’m just the sensitive sort that needs to rail it in a notch.
My point of this musing is that no one knows what a youngster or toddler is going to remember as they make their way through life. At nearly 48 years old I can easily remember events from before I was two years old. Some things stick. Words help mold the individual.
We should choose our words wisely. Even in the most stressful of times.