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The Parenting Gang Sign

The other day I went to minor league baseball game with my family to see my nephew play the National Anthem with his school band.  My entire side of the family attended the game (5 sisters, three brother-in-laws, 7 cousins, 1 father-in-law, 5 friends) because seriously we’re not sure if there will be another time we will get to see our  nephew on a minor league baseball field playing the trombone – yea exactly.


The stadium is small, clean, not too overwhelming and certainly child friendly – the typical stadium layout of the minor league teams that play across the United States. We arrived early so the kids could explore the stadium, the park has a Bouncy House and a Pitching Station that the kids can use, these explorations one would think would be “free” but to my dismay, they were not. Sigh.


Nonetheless, as we were exploring the stadium I witnessed half a dozen meltdowns from children ranging from one to ten years old.  No kidding. This was before the game even started. Lucky for me, it was my night; my kids were more amused with the stadium, their cousins, the band and were actually well behaved. I would pat myself on the back but that’s pointless cause they will misbehave and there is no need to applaud myself when in two days I will be burying my head in my hands.


The tantrums I witnessed were some of the typical stuff that us parents struggle with – the defiance about using the potty, the stomping of the feet because the kid can’t have ice-cream, or a tee-shirt, or an autographed baseball, or because Sammy got a “quacker” and he didn’t. With each tantrum I passed, I tried my hardest to give the parents the mom and dad gang sign: the head nod, the touch of the hand to the chest, the look that says “been there, done that, I get it, I get IT, I SO GET IT, and you will get out of this alive, I promise” all the while I am thinking “whew, so glad it ain’t me tonight!” I am not sure if these folks picked up on my show of empathy, support, of trying to telepathically tell them that I reallyreally understand that our children can be down-right annoying sometimes but I sure did try.


After watching a few innings of what we all deemed the longest baseball game in our lives I took a solo stroll around the stadium to stretch my legs, okay who am I kidding, I was out to get a most delicious vodka and lemonade, I know, impressive at a baseball stadium! As I made my way back from that delish vodka stand I noticed a tantrum of epic proportions, this mama had a grip on her raven haired beauty something fierce, and this little girl was not having it.  This little gal was trying her hardest to break free from her mom, the look on her face was that of sheer determination, she was the most focused three year old I’ve ever seen but she was not going anywhere – the moms grip on that child was so tight, and that moms arm, her poor arm was twisted in such a way that even the performers from Cirque du Soleil would say “Wow, that move is impressive!”  I tried not to look but this tantrum was nothing I have ever witnessed. The mom, that poor mom I  wanted to run and hug her because written all over her face you can tell she was trying not to scream, trying not to cry, trying not to be broken down limb-by-limb… in public.


And it was at that precise moment that I stopped in my tracks and wished upon a star that every single parent in this world had a handy dandy stop button, a shiny red button that they could pull out from their pockets, slam it down, stop time and the entire world and those around them would freeze – yes exactly like a movie or cartoon (I know, I know, I have an active imagination). The button, my magic button that I want to bestow on every parent, could not be abused (and if abused would be taken away), and can only be used in extreme circumstances (insert tantrum above) but when used it would stop the tantrum and let the parent get their shit together in a peaceful private moment. 


As I arrived back at my seat, delicious vodka and lemonade in my hand, I placed that sparkling goodness on the floor next to me; I was grinning to myself about my brilliant idea as I felt a cold rush of ice on my toes, looking down I saw a perfectly sliced lemon on my shoe, my beautiful drink was accidently kicked over by my child…and this my friends is an extreme circumstance! Where the hell is that damn button when I need it?!

Posted in deanna, deanna verbouwens, helping parents, parenting gang signs, tantrums, The Little Buggers, the unnatural mother, unnatural mother