No, not the envious, I-can’t-believe-how-cool-she-is look. This look is rather more disdainful, aimed at both my screaming toddler and me, silently judging us both as he rolls on the floor in the throes of a full-on tantrum.
And can I blame said individual? No, not even one iota, because back before I had children, I was likely the one giving ‘the look’. Wailing infant while I’m eating my meal out? Bring on the raised eyebrows. Toddler kicking my chair as I recline on an airplane? Cue the death stare. ‘Why can’t these parents control their children?’ I’d not-so-silently wonder to whoever was nearest.
So perhaps it’s fitting that now, I’m a recipient of ‘the look’ . . quite frequently, actually. For as much as you discipline your child, try your best to instill manners and respect for others, and generally attempt to raise a nice human being, chances are that at some point — generally when you’re out in public, or when you really want to make a good impression — they’ll to do their best to impersonate the world’s most spoiled child, a little Hitler, or something from The Exorcist.
Case in point: on a recent trip to the mall, I had the temerity to deny my toddler the thing he lives and breathes for (apart from Peppa Pig): rice cakes. Lunch was creeping up, and I knew if he scoffed his snack, he wouldn’t be hungry. Cue rolling on the floor, an ear-piercing scream, and lots of stomping. As I retreated several feet to fully appreciate the spectacle (read: to get away), many shoppers passed by, attempting to find the sorry parent on whom they could affix ‘the look’. I shrank back nonchalantly, shaking my head while trying to distance myself as I watched my child’s antics.
Eventually, he ran out of steam . . . until I managed to get him strapped into the buggy. ‘No Mama nice!’ he yelled, his tortured cries echoing off the high ceilings. ‘No Mama nice!’ An older woman passing by tut-tutted us as I scuttled towards the the ham-and-cheese haven of a nearby cafe.
And that’s just one such scene. It’s funny how, after countless episodes, you stop caring. It’s more about survival, about extricating yourself and your child from the situation with as little struggle as possible. And now, when I see other parents dealing with stroppy, shouting toddlers, I give them another look: one of sympathy, of understanding, of ‘I’ve been there, too’.
The Hating Game
Watching Willow Watts
Build A Man
Construct a Couple
Marriage to Measure
The Pollyanna Plan
The No-Kids Club