Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I had an attitude the other day.

Yes, you heard me right... I had a MAJOR attitude.

with a complete stranger.


Here's what happened:

We were at the laundry-mat washing our comforters and sheets after a LONG morning of Little Bug only taking a 30 minute nap.
I was looking forward to getting out of the house and letting him run around the laundry-mat for fun.
Being the curious boy that he is, he pulled a mechanical pencil right out of his Daddy's pocket and started toddling around with it.
A "ghettofied" Detroit man, who I didn't realize was so well versed in the ways of parenting, decided to give me some advice.

And when I say "ghettofield" I mean it with all respect to the men who wear sunglasses inside, an MP3 player stuck in their ears, a baseball hat worn backwards, and some sort of black suede jacket with cool patches and emblems that go way above my street sense.

"He's got a PEN in his hand!" he yells above his music.

"Thank you," I replied, but do nothing to take it away.

"I don't want him to fall and stab himself with it."

"I'll watch him," I said, knowing that taking the mechanical pencil away will only escalate the temper-tantrum day we've had already.

Side note: I am not new in allowing Little Bug to play with things he shouldn't just so I can get a moment of peace... remember this post?  Please don't judge me :)

Then, as if Little Bug knew what would happen next and that all attention was on him, he put the mechanical pencil in his mouth.

"He's got it in his MOUTH!  He's going to swallow ink!" the man yells.

I grab the "pen" from Little Bug, slam it on the nearest surface and snap, "There isn't ANY ink in it."
It was, after all, a mechanical PENCIL.

My husband walks up just as I'm snapping at the complete stranger with a confused look on his face.  This is not something I normally do... blame it on the pregnancy hormones, I guess.
As we walk away I explain to Mr Bug what happened and then ask those famous words:

Do you think I should go apologize?

Mr. Bug calmly replies,
"I'm not sure what you should do, but if you DID apologize, it might be a chance to build your character."
How could I NOT apologize after hearing that.

I sheepishly stalk the "ghettofied" Detroit man as he enters the bathroom.
I continue to stalk him as he exits the bathroom and heads over to his washing machine.
And then I say it...

... pretty quiet so he might not hear me and I could get away with "trying to apologize"...
"Thank you for your concern for my son.  I'm sorry I had an attitude with you."

Moments pass and he takes off his sunglasses, pulls out his earphones, looks at me with these compassionate eyes and graciously accepts my apology.

I walk away relieved and a with my character built up a little bit.

It's still hard to have complete strangers tell me how to parent my child, but I'm starting to realize that while I may not be in control of them, I am in control of my reactions.
Any thoughts??


  1. You're such a sweetheart. That didn't really sound like anything huge, but of course I wasn't there. People LOVE to give parenting advice or judge you as a parent and I'm frequently on edge about that. It's just like, 'oh THANK you for all your sage advice...I've just been sitting at home crying in a corner for the extent of my son's life. I had no idea what to do until you came along with your wealth of knowledge on parenting and saved me."

    Seriously. People just love to dole out advice. You are amazing for even thinking you needed to apologize!

    Hmm...I'm sounding like a jerk now...

  2. Becky, you are HUMAN. We've all been there. Lately, because my life has turned into a WHIRLWIND with a RUNNING 13 month old (I know you feel me), I've become a little on edge, too. I think owning up to our attitudes helps us to be self-aware. That's all you can do-- try to be better!

    Use that experience to help you take a breather and live in the moment.

  3. Maybe I'm hormonal myself but this made me tear up a little bit. What a wonderful and selfless person you are. Apoligizing is a hard thing, but doing it when you aren't even sure if you ARE sorry makes it sacrificial. You have such a genuine heart.

  4. I've been thinking about this all day. This is a hard thing to learn. I certainly would have done exactly what you did, and I feel you were justified. But the real learning for me here was that you sought the counsel of Mr. Bug . . . and he was strong enough to tell you the honest truth. I want to commend you for listening to him, and then humbling yourself and acting on it. I give you both kudos. You BOTH did the right thing. I'm proud of you. Thanks for sharing this. :)

  5. Look what I found on fb today from Rick Warren:

    Pastor Rick Warren To admit u were wrong or changed your mind isnt flip-flopping.It's a sign of wise,humble leadership that's deeply needed today

  6. I am so touched by your decision! I totally feel you on people offering parenting advice... people can be really irritating. But you not only built your own character by apologizing, you also built a tiny bridge to a person you do not have a ton in common with (at least on the surface) and the two of you made the world a little bit better place.


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