Would You Have Stopped The "Destructive" Baby

Marxx, I’d have done exactly what you did!

Oh, you think that’s a destructive baby? I once had a baby who…

Wait, he was a toddler. Almost two.

Anyway, I had written a freelance piece for a local magazine, and I’d been having difficulty getting paid. I was supposed to be paid on publication. The article was published in October. I still hadn’t been paid by December, and I was thinking about Christmas presents and a new pair of boots for the winter, but when I called, I’d get: “Oh, you don’t have your check yet? I’ll see what I can do.”

In January I called again and got: “Hey, sorry, somebody dropped the ball. But drop by the office and I’ll cut you a check.” So I did drop by the office, and every time, the person who could cut me a check was mysteriously absent.

So one day in March (March, note, six months after publication, when my dream of getting new boots for the winter was fairly well destroyed) I happened to drop by, and I happened to have my Terrible Almost Two with me. And the usual–the person who could cut me a check had just gone to lunch.

On a whim I said, “I’ll wait.” I sat down and started reading the latest issue of the magazine. My kid, meanwhile, sat quietly for 1 minute and 36 seconds and then went into his routine. He tore up a couple of magazines. He dug some dirt out of the potted plant. He pulled some leaves off the potted plant. He knocked a bunch of magazines off the table and started pulling out pages. And I kept reading. As if I didn’t have one eye on my kid. (I didn’t want him to hurt himself.)

I had my check in less than 20 minutes, and there were still a few things left intact in the waiting room, I think. Three weeks later, the magazine folded, so that was really good timing.

I had a few requests from some other freelance writers I knew to rent out my kid but I never did.

Destructive kid #2. I was in the library looking in the bound volumes for a magazine. The kid (different kid) was behind me, and realized it was quite fun to dump out a box of magazines–until they were bound they were kept in these cardboard thingies, all neat. Well, they were neat until he got there. He particularly enjoyed spilling them in such a way that they went completely across the aisle. And then kind of skating on them.

I abandoned my research and started going along after him and cleaning up, but I couldn’t control him and clean up his mess at the same time. As everyone knows, it’s a lot lot faster to make a mess than it is to fix it. Finally I just grabbed him and left, and I didn’t return to that library branch for…ten years.

Opening a few packages? In your own cart? Pffft.

If the kid was no danger to himself, and the only person likely to be inconvenienced was his mother, i would have just stood and watched him. If his antics had appeared as if they were going to increase my wait in line, i might have said something.

Since what he was doing sounds harmless, I’dve stood there grinning, and not done anything. :smiley:

I like that you noticed this. I think you’d be a good daddy, if that’s in your plans. What others might see as misbehavior, you recognized as practicing dexterity and problem-solving skills.

He was taking apart the stuff the mom was already going to buy anyway. Now, if he were taking jars of jam and throwing them on the floor and then gurgling at the Big Funny Noise and Splatter or tearing open the boxes and spilling the food, that’s one thing. But he wasn’t being destructive, and maybe next time Mom will hang up the phone.

Been there. I’ve minded my own business. People are responsible for their kids. If they choose to neglect that responsibility, fine.

Nah, as the proud father of a 1 year old, if he’s having fun with something, I’m not going to be the one to take it away and trigger the tantrum. Thankfully Mr Baby was only playing with stuff in his mom’s cart, and wasn’t really destroying any of it.

Yeah, but couldn’t she speak to someone or write a letter, instead of letting her child be disrespectful and destructive?

I’d say something if I had a hunch the mom would decide she didn’t want to pay for the open stuff, and so would dump it all in the magazine rack. But an 8-pack of snack cakes or whatever is still fine opened, I’d give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she’s still going to take it all home. Which she did.

I don’t really mind someone talking on the phone in line at Wal-Mart, so long as they’re not holding up the line or having a shouting match with the person on the other end. I mean, it’s just WalMart, it’s not really a store that people go to for a relaxing cell-phone-free shopping experience. At the WalMart nearest to me, people will do things like turn the demo stereos up to 10 and then walk away, or leave their kids to play soccer in the toy aisles. I’d love it every mom-baby pair acted just like these 2 – one plays happily in his own cart and the other actually pays for the merchandise he opens up.

Why would you say anything? I’m male and anytime a male says anything to someone strangers’ child, well I think he’s going to be looked at suspiciously.

But even without that I’d be cheering the kid on (silently) hoping he’d toss a glass bottle on the floor and make the stupid mother feel like an idiot.

In that situation, I would have been making little surprised faces at the kid every time he was successful. Babies think that’s funny and he probably would have enjoyed having an ally in his mischief. If he’d been actually doing some damage, I would have tapped the woman on the shoulder and given her a sympathetic look. The whole thing would have cracked me up.

I would have drawn her attention to it. Maybe she hadn’t had a chance to chat with a friend for a week or more, you never know. Anyway, I’d never let it get so far that it made a Mother’s day harder to get through.

Re people reacting badly, I always take the Atticus Finch tack: any anger they let loose on me is that much less they’ll take home to the kids.

This is from last March, I think, it was the beginning of Lent anyway, and I was trying to give up restaurants, which comes up . . .

Anyway, I’d just be worried that she was having a day like this:

Help me out here Moms (and Dads), I could use some reassurance. Do days like this happen at your house?

Sunday, I am making pancakes. The Celtling is standing on the foot stool stirring the batter while I flip pancakes at the stove.

Except, wait, no, she’s just thrown everything off the bottom shelf of the pantry with one fell swoop of her little arm. . .

So, move Celtling to living room, and engage her in playing with her blocks.

Throw out charcoal pancakes, rinse pan and add more batter.

Clean up unbelievable mess (plastic containers of peaches broken all over brand-new boxes of crackers and Bisquick. . .)

Flip pancakes and check on Celtling - Argggghhhh! a pound and a half of fish flakes are spread all over my living room ! ! ! Fish flakes are light - that is a LOT of fish flakes! ! !

Move Celtling to Den and start favorite video. Pull out Mega blocks (think Big Legos) and get her playing.
Throw out charcoal pancakes.

Put frozen waffles in toaster.

Vacuum living room.

Check on Celtling - Arggghhhhh! Two whole boxes of baby wipes spread all over the Den! ! ! At 72 per box that’s 144 baby wipes! And it’s the last two boxes!

Serve cold waffles with sliced bananas and plan nice lunch out to make myself feel better. (For those reading the Lent thread I can only say “God would understand!”)

Dress self and Celtling and head to Target for more baby wipes.

Did I mention there’s a blizzard just starting? Do you know what happens to a Virginia Target when there is snow on the way? It’s a MAD HOUSE!

Put Celtling in large section of basket as she doesn’t want to ride in the seat. Choose 3-4 books and toys from $1 section to keep her occupied. Get baby wipes and stock up on a few other essentials as long as we’re there.

Thread my way gingerly through the crowd toward grocery section to get more peaches.

Glance over towering pile of goods in the “child seat” part of the cart to see if Celtling is still having fun.

NOOOOOOOOOO! That is NOT a 16oz tub of zinc oxide diaper cream spread all over the Celtling and everything in the cart! ! ! It JUST COULDN’T BE!!!

I have never in my life been so proud to say that I did not lose my temper.

Open baby wipes and clean up as well as possible. Remove utterly plastered pants from Celtling and wrap her up in coat. Proceed gingerly to check out and apologize profusely as checker dons rubber gloves before scanning my goods.

Proceed to Wendy’s drive-through since Celtling is now too pantless for the restaurant I had in mind.

Take food home and set it up on Celtling’s little table to eat. She’s not hungry, so I eat alone.

Finish eating and look up to see the sole remaining can of fish food being joyfully shaken across Dining room carpet. (That would be the Chinese hand-cut I just paid $150 to clean.)

Now, those of you without children will be wondering how I could be so inattentive as to allow this to happen all day. You just don’t know how quickly it DOES happen. You’ll notice there are no bathroom breaks in this story . . . there just isn’t time.

OK, I feel a little better now, thank you all for listening!

Ok, cute stuff, little baby decimating his own mom’s shopping cart.

What would you have done about this?

I was in Safeway a couple of Saturdays ago. They have a self-serve section with soups (sold by the bowl) and chili (same by the bowl) placed near the deli section.

I was waiting for service in the deli when a young girl, maybe about 9 or 10 years old came by the self-serve soups, lifted one of the lids to see what was there and sneezed full on into one of the servers.

Her Mother (or maybe guardian) came and snatched her away from the server; she saw the child sneeze into the soup - I was standing right there. I said to the Mother that she should talk to one of the deli workers as this was obviously not a good situation. The Mother raced hell-for-leather away from the deli.

I told a deli worker what had happened and that maybe the soup should be removed.

The deli worker told me, and I quote “this happens all the time”…

Next scene, me also racing hell-for-leather out of the store never to shop there again.

Why are we reluctant to point out unacceptable behaviours if it benefits us all?

Oh, dear King Bobo, have you never heard the advice to never eat from self-serve foodstuffs? That mile-long salad bar place where my 60-something parents love to eat, sure I’ll go, but I bypass the self-serve stuff and beeline straight for the by-the-dish cooking areas and wait for the guy behind the counter to hand me some freshly cooked and not-touched-by-the-public-food thankyouverymuch!

I agree that pointing stuff out that is beneficial to us all is a good thing, but whether anything gets done about it by the world-weary worker who hears the same thing 50 times a day and can’t change the soup out 50 times a day is a whole other story. Just stay away from stuff that’s handled by public hands.

People who serve themselves from those soup tureens and salad bars and such are just stupid if they aren’t knowingly assuming they’re going to eat someone else’s spooge on some level.

Did you know there are actually people who try on the makeup samples at the drugstore makeup counters? Insanity!

Oh, please. Do you ever read the reports by the restaurant inspectors? I have a suggestion for you…don’t. Even restaurants that are getting triple A+ scores have comments like, “Black mold infestation found in all ice makers” and “Rat droppings scattered around utensil drawer.”

Sea Dragon,

I think you missed the part of my post where I ran out of the store (screaming under my breath).

I never, ever contemplated feeding from that particular trough. My point was that others do and when it was pointed out to the deli worker what I had seen, the response was (as you have said) little more than a “ho-hum - so what?”

Like you I have seen atrocities at salad bars and other self-serve mangers. They are not for me.

However, all that said, I still live in hope that when someone witnesses something truly gross at a public eatery - action could and should be taken.

Bobo is more and more tending towards fasting in public and eating at home - how sad.

King Bobo, my father-in-law was once at a small neighborhood grocery. He observed a woman taking a carton of cottage cheese, opening it, sticking her finger in, tasting it–then putting the lid back on and putting it back on the shelf. He mentioned it to the manager.

The manager’s response? “Oh, she always does that.”

My FIL warned me not to buy the cottage cheese there. Okay, fine. But if she always does that–is the yogurt safe? How about the bean dip? The potato salad? Yech.

N. Suze,

I hear you loud and clear.

And the more I hear the more Bobo is going to be looking for sealed cartons!!!

Just to step my paranoia up another step - how any people really use those tongs or papers to pick out bread rolls from the open bins…Bobo is now looking into home baking!!!

As I was walking through the shopping mall on Friday afternoon, on the way to my car, I passed either the women’s toilet or mother’s room and outside was a young boy standing with his sister in a stroller. He was absent mindedly smashing the stroller into the wall. He didn’t appear to be doing it malicously and the sister wasn’t visibly upset but I stopped him anyway.

Just as I was wondering what I should do the mother quickly came out, thanked me and began to take care of things. From the speed with which she appeared I presume someone had gone in and notified everyone in there what was happening.