Monday, February 20, 2012

So, this was weird. ( Warning, this is gonna be a long one.)

I just had to share this story because it will probably go into my record books as one of the most ridiculous and awkward social interactions I have ever had. On Saturday, John and I attended a birthday party for a one year old boy in our ward. It was held at Gymboree, where they have all those things for kids to climb on and do activities with balls and parachutes and such, so I knew John would really love it. The party started at 2:00pm which is not the best time for John because he's usually sleepy by then, but he was so excited I knew he'd still enjoy it. John did well almost the whole hour of playing. He listened to the instructor and played and giggled along to all the songs. Near the end of the hour he started screaming randomly, probably out of tiredness I'm sure, but I still took him in a corner and told him that wasn't okay and it might upset the other kids.  He was fine after that, we went into the other room to eat cake, he ate his cake fine, and then John kept saying he wanted to go home, so I walked to the front to leave. The birthday boy's mother was standing by the front counter handing out treat bags to the kids as they left and we walked up to her and she handed one to John. The mother was holding the birthday boy on her hip and I said top John, "Do you want to say Happy Birthday to Seth?" John just stood there, not saying anything, which is fine I can't force him to say it, it was just a suggestion in the first place. Katherine, the mother, then says to John, "Well then can I have the bag back." John looks at her. She goes on, "You're not saying it..." So John, being the kid he is,  handed that treat bag right back to her.  She then kinda laughs and says, "Oh, he can have it." But when she handed it back to him , John threw it on the ground a couple feet in front of him.  Katherine goes to pick it up and says like "Oh, I'll bring it to church tomorrow." I am just ready to leave at the point, so I thank Katherine for the party and I think I said don't worry about the treat bag, but I walked John out to the car and once we got there I told him that was unacceptable behavior, he embarrassed mommy, and hurt Katherine's feelings and that now he would get nothing because of his behavior. So, I definitely gave him a consequence and once we got home he went straight to his room and eventually fell asleep.  But, just to be clear, I thought it was weird she kind of antagonized him about the treat bag and when I told my mom about the incident later that day she thought Katherine doing that was kind of weird too.

Okay, so Sunday morning I wasn't feeling well, so Lance went to his early meetings before church in one car and I came with John right as Sacrament meeting was getting out in another car. I came in and was walking John straight to nursery, so I could go to sunday school.  Katherine(I think she is a primary teacher, I'm not sure) was standing in one of the door ways as we walked down the hall and says "hi" to John.  John just sneers at her, which he does to most people who try to say hi to him or approach him. I'm not the kind of mother that will force my kids to be social, some kids are different and that is how John reacts. So Katherine says, "Oh, he's still mad about yesterday." And I was just continuing walking down the hall because I needed to wipe John's face off in the kitchen. I say to her, "Oh, he does that to everyone." and she was like "Well, I brought the treat bag, but.." and I say "Oh, that's okay he doesn't need it".  So, then I take John to nursery and I end up having to do some YW secretary stuff in the clerks office all of second hour, but then I went to YW third hour. We're probably like 15 minutes into YW and Katherine pokes her head in and waves and says my name to get me to come out. At that moment, I was thinking she needed to talk to me about secretary stuff or John needed to be taken out of the nursery or something, but then once I got out into the hall and she says, "Can we go into the mother's lounge" I was thinking, "Oh man, she is going to have a conversation with me about John."

So, we sit down in the two recliners in the mother's lounge, which swivel, so we're facing each other and our knees are touching and she says, "can we start with a prayer?" At this point, I know where this is going and I  am no good in conflict situations, so I am already starting to well up.  I say to Katherine right after her prayer, "I just want you to know I am going to start crying because I do in situations like this and I'm pregnant."  She says to me, "Oh, I'm so glad because that's one of the things I was going to tell you he needed, was a sibling." SHE WAS GOING TO TELL ME MY SON NEEDED A SIBLING!!!(The stuff in all caps is things flashing through my mind while we're talking just to make this easier to understand) But that was just the beginning, she kind of prefaces everything by saying "I have four children, so I know and I want you to take this like it's from a sister." She then goes on to say, "Yesterday, when John threw the bag I hope there was a consequence..." and I kind of interjected and said, "Yes, as soon as he got out to the car he had a consequence and at home."( But mind you all my talking is through gasping sobs because I'm so worked up and just shocked this is happening) and she says, "but he's already forgotten by then." (Which, is ridiculous for her to say because she seemed to think John still remembered it the next day when he saw her.) She just goes on and on about how there was no teaching in the moment, and that so much anger in a toddler wasn't normal and it meant something was missing in his life. I was just trying to get across that we do discipline him and he is a more difficult child and that I didn't want to make a big scene at her birthday party and that he is also a two year old who was tired and cranky, but this is all through sobs of course. Oh, and she kept calling me "mama" and patting me on the knee which made me want to punch her in the face.  So, then she goes on to say, "He needs more interaction with his father, his father needs to be playing with him more." (She has never talked to Lance once! At this point I am just in utter shock) As forcefully as I can through my gasps and tears I say, "How do you know how much time he spends with his father! He does play a lot with his father!" (Also, my friend in the ward Sylvia, who had also been at the birthday party, had walked into the mother's lounge near the beginning of all this.  Katherine tried to wave her out, but um it is the Mother's Lounge!, so Katherine asks me if I want to go into another room, but I was sobbing, so I really didn't want to walk out in the hall and I didn't care because Sylvia  is my friend and I am actually really glad I had another person witness this ridiculousness and be able to talk about it with her afterwards.) When I started getting really upset about the father comments, she says, "I was a social worker." LIKE THAT JUSTIFIES ANY OF THE CRAP SHE IS SAYING TO ME!!! She also says, "Oh, he's a sweet boy and you'll see a change in him when the new baby comes, I'm so glad for that." UM, I KNOW HE'S A SWEET BOY, AND WE'RE NOT HOPING HE CHANGES AND WHO ARE  YOU TO EVER TELL ANYONE THEY NEED TO HAVE ANOTHER BABY!!!!! I know I'm leaving some more of the things she said out. She also mentioned how she gets compliments on her children and that they didn't get that way because she did nothing and that she's hard on them and that we should sit John down and say, "Now, Jesus wouldn't do that." She also brought up how she saw John kick at Seth during the party, which I stopped as soon as I saw it! and she like made a fist and an angry face like that had enraged her. But it ended with her saying, "Don't get offended, I love your parents, I love you, I think you're a wonderful mother. I need to go because my daughter is giving the scripture in primary." But I had to say something about how inappropriate I thought this was, so as determined as I could through the crying I say "This is totally weird and inappropriate! Never talk to me like this again!" And she pats my knee, and says,"And I won't need to, because now you know." AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!! So, she hugs me and leaves and then I look at Sylvia and say, "Was that awkward for you?" So, then I just talk to Sylvia about what just occurred for like the next ten minutes and Sylvia is just in shock. I was also supposed to give part of the YW lesson, but there was no way I could compose myself enough to go back in there. Sylvia was so nice and went and got my bags for me out of the YW room and I just texted Lance "Can you bring John home, I had to leave. and I've got a story for you." I drove home crying and texted my mom to come over after church and she and my sister came over and I told them the whole story and then when Lance got home I told him and he stood there with his mouth open in utter disbelief.  I just wish Katherine would've said all this to Lance because he would've just punched her in the face. So, I've just been telling all my family and friends because this was just so ridiculous and shocking it's almost laughable. I know I'm a good mother, I know we teach and discipline John, I know he's a good boy, I know he spends enough time with his father, and I know he's not the perfect child and has his own set of challenges that we will continue to work through.  I also know this woman is insane and if she thinks that it was okay to do this and that she did it with the Spirit, she is terribly wrong. It made Lance and I both think of the great article Adrianne wrote about mothers judging other mothers and I wish I could stuff a copy of it down this woman's throat, um... I mean send her one in the mail. Lance is going to talk to her husband, I mean this is the kind of thing that makes a weaker person leave the church! I am still amazed this happened and if she ends up with a few eggs on her house, well then that must just be karma. :) I hope this made any kind of sense at all.


Kaitlin Clark said...

Wow. She was out of line to begin with. Taking back a goodie bag for John being tired and not wanting to talk is ridiculous. I so hope she shuts her mouth. Oh man I don't think I could have handled this well I was in this position. How dare someone tell you how to raise your children? It really is not a Christ-like attribute. How rude.

Michelle said...

Wow. I would never take someone aside in church and tell them how I felt about them, even if I felt this way. She is unbelievable rude. Your son acted like any boy his age acts and if parents have boys at that age that act otherwise then they simply don't have a typical boy. You took all that well and to not blow up at her was incredible on your part. I'm sure I would have lost it completely and told her off. I'm sorry you went through that, so sad that she thinks she is doing better as a parent, she obviously needs some counseling on how to treat others. This is the kind of person that will never have close friends. I am shaking my head at this.

Jason said...

Wow, what an idiot. I really hate it when people use the gospel ("can we start with a prayer?" to bolster their own bad behavior. The reproductive decisions we make are between our spouse and the Lord. Period.

Don't let this conflict fester. If need be, talk to this woman or write her a note and let her know how you feel. Maybe she truly feels like she was doing you a favor (I can't see how but people are strange that way). If you can't do it, have Lance talk to her husband. Whatever you do, do it with Christ-like love.

chelsey said...

I can honestly say I feel your pain. I've had an experience like this before -- only it came from our RS pres. It has taken me years to forget about it. And even then, those hurt feelings will resurface when something else comes up. So maybe they haven't truly been forgiven on my part... It is truly hard to forgive when someone thinks they are "helping" or they just "know better". Those type of people need to remember not to judge others. They have no idea what you and Lance do with John.
John is your child for a reason. He isn't mine, or anyone else's. And I really believe that's because our Heavenly Father knows that John needs you and Lance as his parents. You two have the ability to parent him the way He would want you to. And quite frankly, it's no one else's business. Everyone thinks they know what's best for everyone else, but that's always the first mistake. Just like you said, Adrianne's article said it perfectly. What's right for you isn't necessarily right for the next guy. And it isn't up to us to make that judgement.
I'm so sorry for the hurt this has caused you. I know it's a hard one to get over. Hugs!

Mike and Adrianne said...

I love how everyone starts by saying Wow because honestly it's just so shocking that someone would treat anyone that way. Mike was furious when I told him what happened and he has a letter drafted to the psycho woman. I just feel so, so bad for you and the fact that she has attacked every person in your family and for her self-righteous, uncharitable, patronizing attitude. She is not a nice person and one day it will all come back to her.

chelsey said...

I know a guy named Guido that can take care of all of this! I have connections in Jersey!


The Duke said...

Well, Chelsey may know Guido, but this Mamma Bear would like to roar at this little idiot. There are two kinds of people I truly can't stand to be around -- those who are super pious and those who think they know more than everybody else because of their "degrees."
John wrapped us around his little finger while he was here. He could have been tired while he was here, but he handled life pretty darn well considering he missed his Daddy and was in a strange bed every night for a week. We thought he was adorable and was absolutely appropriate in every way for his age. All children struggle to figure out birthday parties, presents, expectations and social situations. You do not EVER have to apologize for John or how you guys are parenting him. Not EVER.
Send her my way. I'd like to claw her eyes out.

Lokodi said...

I've also had something similar to this happen except it was at a dinner with seven other ladies. This woman called me an irresponsible parent. Let's just say it would have been a much better situation if it was you who was there and not me. I unleashed on her and ripped her a new one. Which, in hindsight, maybe I should have waited to do that after the dinner, away from all the other ladies. However, when someone starts to criticize you and your parenting, momma bear comes out. You need to defend yourself. I'm glad you said something to her before she left, but apparently it sounds like she still doesn't get it. Man, I really want to hurt this woman. Sorry you had to go through this. It's so hard!

P.S. Congrats on the other baby coming, even if I did just find out. :) I'm excited for you both.

Gillian Mohlman said...

Oh Nancy what a rude, rude woman! She had no business telling you how to parent your child. I am not a mother yet, but I can tell you that if someone ever did that to me and told me how to parent my child I would blog mean things about her on my blog and punch her in the face. Hahahaha, just kidding... But I would want to. I am really just shocked that someone would do that. She obviously does not know you or Lance enough to know that you guys are amazing parents and it was NONE of her business to say anything. love you.

Seth and Natalie said...

So I am laughing harder and harder as read your post. You are so lucky! Who knew that when you went to the mother's lounge with this wonderful woman that you were in the presence of the world's best mom. All those compliments on how great her kids are, that is all due to her kindness and knowledge. After all, she does have 4 perfect robot children. She's going to be in so much trouble with her husband!
PS I cry when my feelings are hurt or when I'm mad. I think I was made that way so I could still make it to Heaven, otherwise I'd say some really nasty things to people.

Dave and Tana said...

I somehow just read this and am in shock...who is this crazy woman? And then to say let's start this with a prayer...what?