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?

 

 

Cafe Today | Pop Tarts, A Chance Meeting and The American Family

A well deserved day off after many  weeks.  Finally!   Just a carefree day.  Or, so I thought.

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I am up and ready to run errands before 7am. I always start my day early whether I wish to do so or not. You see, I have a cat!  My adopted furry house-buddy is Milly. Those of you who keep a Cat – after all, no owns a Cat – knows you never ever need an alarm clock.   Milly keeps to her own schedule.  Which of late includes sharing that crazy schedule with me.  She quickly and adeptly took to my personal House Rule #1. If I am up. Everyone else is up.   Before 5:00 am just isn’t good for anyone.  Good thing she’s cute!  Well, that was great for me when life moved at the speed of light.       Now,  Not so much!

Milly My House Buddy ©Cafe Today 2011

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 On this well deserved “Me, Me, Me,  all about me day” I stopped at the local market for the usual Milly Treats and a beverage of choice.  No, silly!  It’s 8 am   Gotta have  my Coffee.  Upon entering the door I spy the gourmet foods section. Trying not to drool, I peruse quickly  and move on. Standing in front of me is a lady staring intently at a box of  Pop Tarts.  She glanced my way  and said out loud with a longing and a bit of wonder in her voice, “You know….when I was a kid… Brown Sugar Cinnamon was good enough for me.  How does one even begin to choose these days?”    “Well, what looks good to you?”   I say “At the moment , everything! ”       We both chuckled.  Two adults talking Pop Tarts!

Chocolate Fudge Pop Tarts courtesy Kellogg’s Corporation

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“Thoughts”  came to mind at that moment.  Thoughts over at    http://thoughtsappear.wordpress.com/  and her Pop Tart  obsession.  Whenever I spy those tasty little treats, she comes to mind.  Sorry!  I digress!

  Anyway….. One thing led to another.  The conversation evolved into quality of snack foods…. kids not being active…… what can we do to encourage adults and kids to consider healthy choices and more.  Well, after all we are busy people and have the need to talk so fast that  ‘short-hand speak’ falls easily into our chat.    We were talking as if we were long time neighbors and just happened upon each other at the grocer.  We were strangers. Yet,  after  only a short time, we were. no longer.  The conversation bounced around to every aspect of life.  Almost.  I discovered she had 3 children, from elementary to high school.  She worries about them and what each passing year brings to their lives.  We all have or have had those fears for our children.

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 Her mother is a recent addition to her household.  Her mother having  recently retired, was diagnosed with the early stages of dementia and can no longer be left on her own.  This has been quite an adjustment as one would imagine.  Everyone is on board, yet it means many changes.  Huge changes.  The family is making sacrifices and it seems the daughter now becomes the “Mother” to her mom.  Not so uncommon these days.   The mother/grandma is very fortunate to be surrounded by a loving family.  I shared some of my experiences with my own mother and family as they were strikingly similar.  For my mother, as the dementia progressed rapidly,  she had to live in a facility that could care for her.  A few months later she passed away.

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Multi Generations Family – The New Normal
via Nebraska Dept of Human Services

We talked a bit longer.  Then she said that “thing” that had quite an impact on me.  I have heard this many times from so many  I knew.    The “thing”…..This lady has brothers and sisters who live close by.  Yet, she is the only one making sacrifices and caring for their mother.  Why?  Her siblings seem to think it is a waste of time to even visit their mother.    “She doesn’t remember if we have been there or not,  so why come around.” The siblings excuse.   “That was not true.  She remembers many things.” The daughter defends her mother, hoping for understanding.  Not  one of them can bring themselves to give their loving sister any type of emotional support, let alone financial support.  She is ignored.  Lonely. Hurt. So very sad.  She is loosing her mother a little each day, her family makes sacrifices each day and her siblings are deserting her.   A family in crisis. 

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This poor lady, struggling to do her best as a daughter and mother to her family, is attempting to give her mother a life with love and dignity.  As her mother had surely done for her and her siblings since the day they were born.   This attempt at “being all” to everyone is great feat.   One can only attempt this  through prayer and surrounded by loving individuals.  The ‘Pop Tart’ Lady feels alone and fearful of what each day could bring.  I understand completely.  The tears are now threatening to roll down her cheek.  She wasn’t crying.  Just brown eyes flooding with tears of frustration.  “We must share the same brothers and sisters”  I added quickly.   Mine were selfish, heartless and uncaring as well!”  OK!  That at least brought a big smile.  Whew!  A crisis averted in the Pop Tart aisle!  

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My heart went out to this lovely woman and I was a bit puzzled as to how to help her.  I could only offer words of encouragement and support.  This is the latest version of the new American family.  The norm for a family unit constantly evolves these days.   Yours, Mine and Ours!  The 2 dad family.  The 2 mom family!  Blended families in any shape or form.  These changes are even reflected in nightly television, movies and in print.  At the turn of the 20th century, it was the standard for a family to include Grandma, Grandpa, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, whoever.  It was just one big family under the same roof.  It did not matter the generations.  They were all family.  It was what one did.

We seem to be reverting to a similar version of that family here in the 21st century.  Actually, many versions of a family.  Far too many to list.  Still, I am irked at her siblings.  Nothing, Nada, Zip and big fat zero from them.  Shame on them!  You know that old saying, what goes around………?    

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Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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FAMILY.  In the Disney movie Lilo & Stitch, Stitch fell, literally, into a new family and both human and alien  learned to adjust.  During that adjustment period Stitch reeked havoc on the house , the neighborhood, the family’s relationships and oh so much more.  As part of the dialogue…. there was a line  where the little girl, Lilo speaks to Stitch…

”  ‘Ohana means family – no one gets left behind, and no one is ever forgotten. ”  ~Written by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, Lilo & Stitch.    Very powerful words!

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How does it happen, that writers for an animated children’s movie involving an alien, understand human behavior better than the rest of us?  Anyone can become part of a family.  Example:  My Milly…the “no alarm required”  cat.  Some have ‘aliens’, some have pet snakes.  Eeesh!   Yes, anyone can be part of a family.  I do not have any answers.  Many thoughts, but no answers.  Having asked one of my co-workers these questions, she believes a good slap to the head for the siblings is the best way to deal with them.  Ah, yes!  Ye olde…must get their attention first ploy.   Well, I for one, am all for this.  However, this action may not be completely practical in all instances.  The BIG question is   “Will our families be loving and supportive when we need them?”    It’s a roll of the dice!  Answers are not easy here.  The thoughts – difficult.    I have hope for our future.  Life today is like a  rocky road ice cream cone….. tasty – messy – without the crunchy cone for support.  

  To all of you  ‘Ohana !         May no one be forgotten or left behind.     ~  Barb@Cafe Today

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What would you do if you were in her shoes?     How would you handle this situation?

Could you make those sacrifices?  What could be done to encourage the family to participate?