Today we went on a wild, day-long adventure, which included going panning for gold. As we stood clustered around a trough, each swishing around our pans, Monkey jabbered a mile a minute and Chickadee complained a couple of times that the water was too cold, but in the end, each of us had successfully isolated a few flakes of gold, which was then placed into a vial we could keep.
The children were ecstatic. For about ten seconds. We then had to wait a bit before it was our turn to go on a tour of the mine, and for a moment I actually GOT SMART and went and bought the kids a snack to head off any potential problems. They munched happily and by the time it was our turn to tour, they were fine.
In fact, they were stellar.
No, they didn’t do anything in particular. They followed directions, and they used their walking feet, and they spoke in appropriate tones, and they stayed with us and when Monkey had a question for the tour guide (Monkey always has a question, you know) his arm shot up into the air and he said, “Excuse me!”
Nothing extraordinary. Right?
In our tour group we had a variety of other people, including two women with five or six children between them. I cannot tell you EXACTLY how many because these children were like little whack-a-mole heads with the running and popping out of places and then disappearing again. They screamed and yelled and ran, they whined and they cried, they shoved their way to the front of the group and ran around to the back when they were bored, they talked during the presentation and they banged on things and didn’t stay on the walkway.
I didn’t see either mother reprimand any of those children even ONCE. After the poor tour guide had to ask one of them to stop doing something, at one point, one of the women said “Come here, [kidsname].” That’s IT.
I really do hate it when people pass judgment on other people’s parenting, because THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I (says the woman whose child burst into inconsolable wailing when the waitress announced that they were out of milk), but COME ON. Did I mention that we were in a MINE? A twisty, turny, dark, and UNDERGROUND mine where we had to descend a lot of NARROW STAIRS to get where we were going?
It wasn’t just obnoxious (although, sweet mother of mercy, it was SO OBNOXIOUS) that they let their kids run amok, it was dangerous. I was constantly afraid one of the kids was going to get hurt.
Well, right up until one of them backed up into me and left a muddy footprint on my pants and neither he nor his mother said a word, anyway. After that, I considered drop-kicking them all down the mine shaft one by one. Sheesh.
As I said to my parents—once we emerged into daylight again—I will now always be able to look back on this trip and think to myself, “Wow, I am SUCH AN AWESOME PARENT.” Gold, indeed.