I escaped to Starbucks Saturday morning, in an effort to get out of my cleaning lady’s way. Well, in an effort to avoid the chores she’d have given me, if I’d stayed home. I had some writing to do, so staying home wasn’t an option anyway. I’d never have been able to concentrate with all the tumult and the noise from the vacuum.
When I first arrived it was very quiet. There were only about five or six other people. Shocking, really. It’s always packed in there. Not that I was complaining, mind you.
Got a yoghurt and a coffee and snagged a seat at the harvest table, which is my preference. More room to spread out. Didn’t take long before I was totally engrossed in what I was doing. Oblivious to anything going on around me. Unaware of anyone coming or going. Didn’t even have a clue what time it was.
Suddenly there was a blood curdling scream directly behind me. And I do mean blood curdling. High pitched enough to shatter glass; not to mention your ear drums. I jumped. Make that levitated. About a foot off my chair. I knew it had come out of a young child, but I didn’t know what had caused it.
From the sound of it, attempted murder would have been a pretty good guess.
So I turned around. Little girl, maybe two years old, with her parents. I’m presuming they were her parents. She looked like the mother. The man and the woman both wore wedding rings. They looked, and acted, like a couple. Whatever that means.
Anyway, by the time I could see her, the kid looked like butter would melt in her mouth. The parents weren’t paying the slightest bit of attention to her. They’d given her some croissant to either eat, or amuse herself with. And her own cup with some juice in it. They were chatting away to each other, sipping their coffees. They were sharing a bagel.
Nothing seemed amiss so I went back to my work. The way the kid had screamed, it sounded like she was being tortured. But it sure didn’t look that way. So no need to call the cops. Hey, you never know. Honestly, it sounded like they were abusing her. I wasn’t the only one who was staring at them.
Five or so minutes went by, and it happened again. My head did another 360. Mommy and daddy were still engrossed in each other. The child let loose again. Mommy and daddy didn’t move a muscle.
By now the place was filling up. And everyone, even other kids, were focussed on this, one table. Some staring. Some glaring. Most shaking their heads in annoyance.
I don’t have kids so I know my tolerance for this kind of stuff is low. I know kids get bored. And tired. And hungry. And cranky. But come on, now. You didn’t need to be a child psychologist to figure out this kid wanted attention. Frankly, she probably wanted a few other things as well, but I’ll keep my opinion to myself. Don’t need child protection services ringing my door bell.
Would you believe me if I told you this went on for about another ten or fifteen minutes?
To be honest, I thought of leaving. And then thought, what the hell! Why should I leave? They should have been the ones leaving. They should have told her to be quiet, or gotten her out of there. Actually, what they really should have done, was to have paid attention to her in the first place. Talked to her. Brought a toy for her, at least. Not just plunked her down in a chair and forgot she was even there.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mind a little noise. Kids are kids. But this was not a little noise. She was literally disturbing the peace. And everyone was getting pissed off. It was unnecessary. It could have been stopped easily. It should have been stopped. And therein is the problem.
In my opinion, it’s the parents who are to blame. What does a two year old know? Unless a parent teaches them.
My parents NEVER spanked me. They never even raised their voices. But I knew what was acceptable behaviour and what was not. They took me everywhere. To restaurants, shopping, on trips, to visit friends and family. From the time I was a baby. When I did something wrong, I was told not to do it. When I was old enough to understand, they explained why what I did was wrong. And why I shouldn’t do it again.
It wasn’t rocket science. It was parenting. Good parenting.
If you’re not up for it, don’t have children.
(This has been a public service announcement)