Cafe Today | Potting Training in Public. Has Parenting Today Gone Bonkers?

Raising children is the most difficult job in the universe.  Every parent has  experienced the joy and challenges of having a family.  At best, we can hope to teach our children the following:  1. They are and will be loved unconditionally  2. Can achieve anything they wish 3. Possess a moral compass  4. Respect others  5. Become upstanding citizens. ** I would add a sense of humor, but that’s just me.  These days, I wonder what parents are thinking.  Are they thinking?  Or, just gone bonkers!

Today as a parent of 3 grown children, I am truly amazed by the plethora of  resources this generation of parents have at their disposal. We learned parenting from our parents, grandparents and so on.      Well….we did have Dr Spock.  NO!  Not Mr. Spock from Star Trek.  Although Mr Spock did deliver many “wisdomettes” while boldly going where no one dared go.  Somehow my generation persevered. Today, our children are great examples of  what one may achieve.

That being said, I have concerns for the parents and children today.  If parents allow their children to behave badly in public, how must they act at home? Has parenting changed?  Are there no rules?  Where do you stand on this matter?  

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Photo courtesy of John Van Beekum for The New York Times

Of late, I seem to be scratching my head more and more, when I see parents and children in public spaces. Not to mention on TV programming.  Just last week, while in a well-known department store, I heard children crying. More than one.  I always say to myself, “please take the child home”.  It’s obvious those children do not want to be there.  I turned.  Immediately, I am in the path of a now screaming child and the mother screaming even louder. “You can keep on crying and yelling at me all you want. Nobody’s gonna care about you and I ‘m not gonna give you what you want”. And on it went.   I had stopped cold. Frozen in place by the display of parenting in front of me.  “Oh, my God!”    I said aloud.  Shocked by this woman and child.   The mother just kept talking screaming louder, to be heard over the child.  Was this a contest?   I am now breathing quite rapidly and picture smoke rolling out of my ears as surely my hair must be on fire.  I made my way down the next aisle.  Encountered the second crying child. Holy Moly!  This time it was a teen. Her mouth running wild, to what appeared to be her Grandma.  A tirade worthy of any sailor. My eyes darted around.  Most people just went on about their business. Loud whispers clouding the space.

Am I alone in finding this behavior in public spaces disturbing?  Am I over reacting? What happened to rules of decorum?  I find this very disconcerting.  When did it become “normal” to behave badly in public?  Is reality television a contributor?  Sugary Cereal?

Now comes the latest in the ever so long list of bad behavior for parent and child.  I am so SHOCKED by this I can barely contain myself long enough to put my thoughts into words. 

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Potty Training During restaurant Lunch.   Why?  via the Today Show-MSNBC

One mom, apparently not wanting to fret about whether her two young girls could make it to a restaurant’s bathroom in time, should the need arise, took matters into her own hands – or at least her own porta-a-potty.  

At first glance, other diners thought the two naked toddlers eating their chicken nuggets were simply sitting on booster seats. However, upon closer inspection, they realized the tots were dining atop their own little potty chairs, ready to release at a moment’s notice. 

One horrified patron (a mom who had recently finished pottytraining her own young son) snapped a picture of one of the girls, calmly sitting on her potty, clothes around her ankles, munching on her lunch. 

“The more you thought about it, the more unappetizing everything looked around me,” Kimberly Decker told KSL Utah. “I was like this is not ok, we’re eating, there was a business meeting with about five or six businessmen going on right next to me. The place was packed.” 

A spokesperson for the deli said they received several complaints from other customers about the incident and mentioned that if staff had realized what was happening, they would have asked the mom to take the potty training to the restroom.    (from MSNBC)

 How could it be, that the staff did not notice 2  NAKED  children, underwear around their ankles sitting at the table.  Having your children undress in a public space– a restaurant –is so disturbing. Have some parents said ” The rules of the world  do not apply to me”?   This is unbelievable.

 Did the parent wish to push the envelope?  Need 15 minutes of fame?  Perhaps some talk show or early morning news program will give her money to show up and tell her story.  Of that I am pretty sure.  This is exploitation children, right?”  Anyone over the age of 7  understands that one uses the restrooms, not the dining table.    I cannot fathom any way to rationalize this behavior.  Does this parent let her children urinate at the family table during dinner?    

What would your reaction be had  you been present? 

If you can give any sane explanation, please share.  How far will people push the envelope for  exploitation of their children?  I will get over my shock.  But my concern remains.  Has the world of parenting changed so much or……………Have some parents just gone bonkers?

 

 

What’s For Dinner….More Than You Think

 

Home Baked Pasta

“What’s for dinner, mom?     Hon, what’s for dinner?”   

  

 Questions spoken aloud in many languages daily.  Albeit across the room or shouted loudly from outdoors. Words that seem quite simple, Yes?  Really they are not.  The act of cooking and enjoying a meal is vital to our well-being and our relationships.  Believe me they are.  The family meal.  It really is so much about the sharing of ourselves while preparing and serving  a meal.  While chopping vegetables, cleaning the shrimp and setting the table, whatever you do…..  there is magic in those moments.  The act of stirring a pot of sauce or soup…. conjures up images of years past.  Images of long ago that wind slowly through our conscious.  All the family is there.  Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Sue…. they are all there…..  Perhaps a  beloved family pet snuggled in the corner…no doubt anxiously awaiting a spill or two.  Smells waft along the stove, hover over the table top and much to our delight…engage our appetites.   A smile registers on your face.   Ah, another  “remember when moment” sneaks in as well.  The “remember when” could be from long ago or last week.  Words unwillingly  spill out as our mind races over these past events….. perhaps a tear as well…….yet we really do not know how or why this is happening.  We just see how each small act  and movement has such a power that it is remembered, passed down through  many generations.  Yet, this moment, those decades of small moments, all sweep past in the blink of the eye

 Powerful moments are they not?   These moments pass through our emotional self consistently. Being part of a “Family” is amazingly  heady stuff.  This simple act each day is so much more than just a meal.  Perhaps the way you move, hold a pan as you attempt a flip of its contents or the recipes you have lovingly shared over many years.   These moments were meant to be savored, they are memories in the making……..shared and kept immortal by all of us.  Therefore and most of all, enjoy every second you spend in that kitchen ……making those future memories.

There is no need to place guilt on yourself  if you do not prepare multi dish meals every day.  If your main family meal is one day a week, so be it.  It is all about being together, making memories and sharing great food.  Once your family, yourself included, realize that meals prepared at home are usually of superior quality and healthier than fast food and processed food, since you control what goes in each dish. (I prefer my burger and fries prepared at home.)  Perhaps you could learn a couple good dishes and then expand on those. Soup for instance.  Learn the basic soup recipe and then mix up the ingredients.  It is truly amazing how creativity will take over.  Everyone will think you a genius.

Most of my memories are from my married life.  I had no such memories from my childhood.  My mother did not prepare meals for I no recall of her cooking.  I did however, become fascinated watching my friends parents, mom or dad, prepare a meal.  It was emotional for me.  It was not that I cried, it was the overwhelming experience of watching and learning.  I learned that it was about food and sharing family dynamics.  I remember my neighbor speaking of her mother and grandmother making the “best” food and showing me plates and serving dishes that were passed on,  retaining her memory within them.  As I grew up, (notice I did not say mature) I knew I had to learn to cook from memories of my friends, then with a simple trial and error method with recipes.  I would read cookbooks as a novel at times.  The Websters always at my side.  No clue what those cooking terms or spices were.  Didn’t always know what I was reading, but I muddled through.   I knew I wanted to learn everything from scratch, literally.  Oh, if only I had Food Network, cooking blogs and all those food shows on TV.   Oh my!  So not fair!  This generation has it made. 

Today, my 3 children are grown and are really, really good cooks.  They take great pleasure in preparing, serving and sharing a meal.  They will always have memories to savor and share.