What I’ll always see in those 4 flakes

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.


  1. Beachgal

    Sounds like an awesome adventure. I too had a good day with my notso always well behaved toddler. He ventured to work with me for a few hours and was a complete angel. Yay for good kids!

  2. Flea

    I can think of lots of people I’d like to drop kick down a mine shaft.
    And you ARE a good parent. Right Otto?

  3. Crista

    Oh my, don’t even get me started on “bad” parenting…or no parenting. I work in a department store and every day I find myself saying “Don’t play on the escalator, you could get hurt”, “Don’t pull on that rack, it could fall over on you”, and the like. While the parents are standing right there, oblivious to what their child is doing. But you bet they wouldn’t be oblivious to finding a lawyer if their kid got hurt. Rant over.

  4. All Adither

    What lazy, lazy parenting those moms partook in. Were they strolling around with mojitos in their hands while they gossiped about Britney Spears too?

  5. LuAnn

    Sounds like quite an adventure!

  6. Headless Mom

    Moms like that leave me speechless. Mine aren’t perfect, by any stretch of the imagination, but it drives me batsh** when other kids do that completely unchecked. Let the drop-kicking ensue!

  7. mama speak

    I’m impressed Mir, cause after the one left the muddy footprint on me I would’ve them all a good earful and probably grounded all of them, mom’s included.

    You know what, I’ll bet the rest of the people on the tour would’ve appluaded, which just encourages me, so not good. I’m proud of your restraint. You are a great parent! And a much nicer person than I, but in the future just give me a call and I’ll ground them all for you over the phone. ;-) I HATE that kind of stuff. Drives. Me. Nuts.

  8. Heather

    Didja get your picture taken???

  9. Amy S.

    I, too, would have unleashed a snarky comment if some obnoxious kid muddied my pants. Admire your restraint.

  10. Lori

    It always baffles me the way some people parent (or don’t parent) in public. I always feel that I’m a better parent in public – more patient, calmer, on top of things (or at least trying harder). Kids that run amok in the wrong places drive me crazy. Case in point: last weekend we went to a butterfly museum – the kind of place that is like a huge butterfly world & you get to walk through it. Everywhere are signs saying “Don’t touch the butterflies!” Before going in we had a talk with our 3 1/2 year old about why we couldn’t touch the butterflies or run, etc. (The 8 yo was reading the signs to us.) The little one behaved beautifully – and we were there to remind him to slow down when he forgot *grin*.

    As we were walking around, I watched a 10 year old girl reach out and SMACK a butterfly off a plant. No one she was with said anything, so I did! I couldn’t help myself. “Hey! Don’t touch the butterflies!” She looked shocked to say the least. No one she was with even looked at me. Sigh. Maybe she’ll think before she does it next time.

    Rant over. ;)

  11. Em

    So what did Monkey and Chickadee say about the little booger miners?

    We are constantly running into an obnoxious little boy at the library. I mean, he really is a bad little boy. He runs and screams and will literally walk up and punch his mother. She will sit there very serenely knitting saying things like, “now, Trevor, we don’t hit” while he goes off to knock down a toddler. Honest, I would not be so judgemental if I saw him act this way once but it is the norm for this child. My favorite part is that my kids recognize right away how horrible his behavior is. They even remind each other when they start to act like “Trevor”. His name has almost become a curse word in our house. It may be because the first few times we encountered this kid, MY kids got in trouble for his behavior. I was so irritated by him, when I got my kids in the car I gave them a huge lecture starting with, “If I ever ever saw you act the way that little boy acted …”

    For all of these kids though, its going to be hard when life hands them a smack down and people don’t put up with their bull as they get older.

  12. Tootsie Farklepants

    I’m sorry. Did you say something after “narrow stairs”? Because I think that’s when my hyperventilating caused me to pass out.

  13. D

    After being a dug-out Mum I just parent anyone’s kids. Habit after having to nicely go from “Don’t hit your neighbour with a water bottle” to “Yo! Water bottle. Down!” However, last week I’m sure some people would’ve wanted to parent my child – and actually I would’ve welcomed it ’cause he wasn’t paying attention to me!

    Mines – I always think of Tom Sawyer and Becky Thatcher trying to avoid Injuin Joe. Granted it wasn’t a mine, but … :-)

  14. shannon in oregon

    i actually spoke up to some parents today. their 3 year old was about to wander into traffic downtown while mom was on the phone and dad was just standing there, not watching.

    i simply said (loudly), “He’s wandering into traffic” and the mom was quick to grab him back. the entire time he inched closer to the curb he would look back at them to see if they were paying attention to him. inch, glance, inch, glance, grin.

  15. dynamitt

    hehe funny. I went to a government office today trying to get approved for a health care card. There were two kids there (4 and 6 I will guess) they were running around the whole office screaming on top of their lungs. The mum said nothing. I work in child care and as soon as they were close to me I just sent them a really stern look (as I do to my child care kids) and they actually calmed down for 2 min. I hate parents who don’t parent.

  16. dramamama

    while my kids are far from perfect, sometimes i can’t stand by without doing something if other children are out-of-hand. (it takes a village to raise an idiot, after all.) i try to be diplomatic, of course, but as you can imagine, not everyone sees it that way. the apple doesn’t usually fall far from the tree.

  17. elizabeth

    I have to admit to being a little loose with control at times with the three year old. but I do not allow running around and screaming. anywhere. I keep half an eye on him and he is usually well behaved.
    I’m with you though, hate the screaming, running, parents could care less kind. and in tight quarters like that I would have snapped, especially after being stepped on.

  18. Chuck

    Hmmm…if the lights had gone out during the tour you could have shoved the kid who stepped on your pants and blamed it on a Grue. (Zork reference: It is very dark. You are in danger of being eaten by a Grue.) Yes, I am a geek.

  19. Mom101

    The reality is not that you are being judgey.

    The reality is that there are, in fact, some kids who just suck.

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