I admit, at the store my toddlers are not the best little boys in the whole wide universe. They are little boys. They'll fight in the cart, sometimes stand, try to grab things off shelves, and overall are turds. I can say without a sprinkling of gold fish cracker crumbs, I'm aware of this. In the few years I've had the joys of taking toddlers to the store I've noticed a trend in commentary from onlookers. Since I generally value my time and learned well from a certain bunny who once told me, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all," here is what I want to say to all those commenters.
Comment #1: "Should he be standing?"
Nope. I'm fairly sure when you hear a mom say, "Sit down, now!" and then if ignored moves to make the child sit, she is aware that her child should not be standing. Your concerned comments aren't going to make her any more aware that her child could nose dive from the cart and bust his or her tiny noggin' open, but thanks captain obvious.
Comment #2: "You could try the seat belt."
Really? I had no idea that black thing with clips was for restraining a child. I thought it was a neato educational toy to teach kids how to escape kidnapper situations. In all seriousness, do you really think some red faced mom struggling to make a misbehaving toddler sit down in the cart didn't think of trying the seat belt?
Comment #3: "Can you keep him quiet?"
This is usually in response to a tantrum over being disciplined. While I suppose there may be someone some place, most moms I know don't like the sound of a screaming toddler anymore than your average childless shopper. Logically, if she could make the child be quiet, don't you think she would? I suppose this comment is better than reminding her that the duct tape is on isle 5, but still more annoying than helpful.
Comment #4: "Maybe he needs a time-out."
You can insert several variations of suggested discipline here. This is my most hated commentary from other shoppers-- the parenting instructional comment. I don't randomly observe shoppers habits and comment on how *this* food is bad for them, or the shiny new shirt they picked out is going to make them look ridiculous for example, so why do people seem to feel they can advise parents on their lifestyle choices while shopping? Maybe my kid is tired. Maybe he's just having an off day. Maybe I discipline him sufficiently and according to my own opinions and he's just a toddler in the rebellious stage. No maybe's involved, it's still nobody else's business.
The next time you see a parent at the store struggling with a toddler and something somewhere in the range of one of these comments pops into your head, please, do us parents a favor and keep it to yourself. Shopping with a toddler is hard enough.
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