Thursday, April 23, 2009

Spin Cycle: A lecture from Miss Manners

This week's Spin Cycle is encouraging us to discourse on the subject of manners. Good ones, bad ones, people with no manners at all, the spin is all ours.

Naturally, in my case, my mind turned to mannerless children.

Let me preface this by saying that for all the whining I'm about to do, I am not the Mother of the Year, and I do not have perfect children. Elizabeth interrupts like you wouldn't believe and can't sit still in Sunday School to save her life. Lilli does not understand the concept of an "inside voice". On one horrible day I took them to story time at the library and have never been so embarrassed in my life. All the other children were sitting on the rug with their hands in their laps gazing raptly at the librarian and hanging onto her every word. Mine were standing up for a better view and jumping up and down excitedly as Elizabeth called out to the librarian to "go back to the page with the penguins on it!"

Still, though, they do some things right which gives me a little license to complain about other people's children. They say "please", "thank you" and "excuse me", without being prompted. They can sit at the table while we eat dinner together at home or 99% of the time at a restaurant without whining, fussing, or wanting to get out of their seats. They are polite to other children. They don't shove or hit or bite.

Can you guess what my manner related child pet peeves are?

If I'm at a restaurant eating my food (and even more so if I manage to be alone with my husband), I don't want to meet your kid no matter how cute they are. Other restaurant patrons are not entertainment for your bored child. I had a strange toddler ask me for a piece of the bread on my table once. Where the heck were his Cheerios? Where the heck were his PARENTS?

If your child makes fun of, shoves, hits or otherwise hurts my child emotionally or physically, and you didn't try to stop, correct or apologize for his behavior? That's a reflection on your poor parenting. It's not something to smile indulgently at because, you know, they're just little. Or you think its cute. If you don't teach them what's ok, they're not going to magically know how to behave.

This is, of course, a generic "you" I'm speaking of. It's not aimed at any of the people who I know read my blog. Having said that, I'll go on.

If I'm offering cookies to a group of children (because I'm nice like that) and a kid barrels his way through the crowd, elbowing children aside left and right, grabs one, or worse, grabs THREE, and sprints off without saying thank you, and doesn't fall into any of the categories of children I make exceptions for? That kid is Not Nice. And we don't like children who are Not Nice.

Ah yes, and it irritates me on Halloween when children knock on your door, hold open their bag without a "Trick-or-treat" or even making eye contact, and then leave without thanking me. That is actually one of the reasons I no longer give out candy.

Oooh! Oooooh! I also don't like big kids that run around on playgrounds without watching for smaller kids. My children may be small and hard to see, but their size makes them fly through the air much farther. Those big kids need to stop thinking they own the park.

Hmmmm. I think now that I'm getting on a roll that this could go on for awhile. I'd better stop before I get too carried away. I know just as many, or more, perfectly lovely children that I would love my girls to spend more time with, as I do grabby, shovey, mean, rude little kids.

I'll focus on the good ones.

Play date anyone?


Sprite's Keeper said...

Since my kid has played with your kids a couple of times, I was wondering for a second if that "you" was directed at me.. :-)
Play date? Why yes! Thank you for asking! Any time! You're linked!

lisleman said...

nothing wrong with liking penguins they are sorta cute

Rachel said...

Hi Jen! I definitely was not talking about Sprite. She is awesome and is extremely high on my "desirable children to play with" list! So yes, also any time. When? Soon?

Hi Lisleman, If I was reading the book I totally would have gone back to the penguin page so we could admire them some more. See? Most of a kid's bad manners are definitely caused by the parents! *sigh*

Mrsbear said...

We once had a kid walk up to us while we were seated at a restaurant, slide in to a booth with us and proceed to play with our kids' toys. Mom was nowhere to be seen. WTH? We had to politely tell the child to find his own family and stay there...weird.