Monday, August 16, 2010

On doughnuts and the unhelpful kindness of strangers

Two Tuesdays ago I had many, many things to do to get ready to leave my precious family for five days and go live it up in NYC with my fellow Bloggers.  I prefer to run my errands in the morning, and this is problematic because Oscar chooses to make my life exceedingly difficult in the mornings.  Nothing major, just refusing to get dressed or go to the potty; running away from me when I attempt to help him; refusing to brush his teeth; refusing to come downstairs; refusing to eat breakfast or drink anything; crying when I get frustrated; making me pull my hair out.  You know, regular three-year-old stuff.

Okay, so this particular Tuesday, I didn't really want to deal with any shit.  Normally I'll do the dance with Oscar, trying to be patient and loving and understanding and usually ending up feeling all twitchy and stabby at the end of our interaction.  This is not a good mood for errand running with two small children.

So, after I finished getting ready that morning, I said to Oscar, "Oscar.  If you will just go potty and get dressed you can have any special treat you want."

"Any special treat?"

"Yes.  ANY special treat."

"I want a chocolate doughnut with sprinkles."

He didn't even miss a beat, you guys.  He knew what he wanted.  I immediately agreed, thinking I could get out of the house even sooner because I could feed them an awesomely healthy doughnut breakfast while we were out!  And Oscar moved faster than I've seen in move for a productive purpose in his entire little life.  He was, like, RUSHING.  It was kind of amazing.

We were packed up and out the door in no time.  I headed to Dunk*in Donuts.  There was a line nearly out the door because this particular store is right near a Metro station, so all the commuters stop in for their coffee on the way to work.  It is also a teeny, tiny store with maybe four or five tables.

I installed Oscar at a table, where he waited patiently (!!!) while I ordered a coffee and three doughnuts.

And both Oscar and Miles were so cute and so happy with their chocolate frosted, sprinkled doughnuts.  Oscar finished his in about one minuted and asked for another.  Rather and risk the shit storm a refusal guaranteed, I decided to comply.

About halfway into doughnut the second, Oscar started going a little bit bananas.  We don't really eat a lot of sugar or anything artificial around here, so it doesn't take long for it to make Oscar into a little lunatic.  He started bouncing in and out of his chair and making silly sounds, and the store was so small he was kind of colliding with people waiting in line.

"Oscar, if you don't sit down you are going to knock your doughnut on the floor, and if you knock your doughnut on the floor I have to put it in the garbage."

Cue maniacal laughter from Oscar.

Not two seconds later wouldn't you know he knocked the damn doughnut onto the floor, and I snatched it up and tossed it into the garbage.  Let me just be clear, we were in a very busy store, there was VISIBLE dirt on the floor and also people watching me, so I couldn't very well give him the floored doughnut.  The way doughnut store strangers perceive me as a parent very important to my self esteem.

Now, this is going to surprise you, but Oscar completely lost his shit when I tossed his doughnut.   Screaming, red face, gigantic tears, streaming snot.  So I bought him another one.  Maybe that was the wrong decision, but Miles was still eating and behaving nicely and the idea of hauling two kids (one tantruming), my coffee, and  a half eaten chocolate doughnut out of the store in that moment was not very appealing.

When I sat down, I said to Oscar, "Now, you need to sit down quietly and eat this doughnut.  No more bouncing around."


About halfway through doughnut the third, Oscar starts bouncing in and out of his chair again.

"Oscar, do you remember what happened the last time you bounced around?  Your doughnut fell on the floor and I had to throw it in the trash.  If it happens again, I'm not buying you another."

I think he interpreted my statement as a thrown gauntlet because SECONDS later, he knocked his doughnut to the floor.

And I tossed it out.

Obviously, Oscar completely lost it again, "BUY ME ANOTHER ONE! BUY ME ANOTHER DOUGHNUT! PLEASE! PLEEEASE!" and I just ignored his fit, scooped up Miles and said to Oscar, "Come on.  We're going."

Oscar is sobbing and crying and begging for another doughnut and I'm just very calmly saying, "Sorry, Buddy, but you had three and you dropped two.  No more doughnuts.  You've had enough anyways."

We are making our noisy way to the door and a woman who is also leaving, starts talking to Oscar, "What happened?  Did you drop your doughnut?  Was it a chocolate doughnut?"  And she begins opening her box of doughnuts.

"No," I say, "He dropped TWO doughnuts, and he ate an entire doughnut before that, so he's really had enough."

She says, "Oh, it's okay, I have more than enough."

And I say, "No, really, he doesn't need it."

And then she opens up her box of doughnuts and says to Oscar, "Would you like another doughnut?"

And he says, "Yes."

And she gave him half a fucking doughnut.

What. The. Fuck.

I think I was pretty clear that he did not need another doughnut, and also, in addition to not needing another doughnut he wasn't getting one because he had been misbehaving and no matter how sad he was, I was not going to reward misbehavior.  Well, I wasn't going to reward it twice.

And then this stranger lady just bust in on us and gives him a goddamn doughnut after I ask her not to.

"Say, thank you Oscar."

"Thank you!"

And then.  AND THEN!  She comes at Miles with a napkin, "Oh, they're all covered in chocolate.  Let me clean their faces."


"No, that's okay, I have wet wipes in the car.  It will be easier for me to do once they are strapped in their seats."

At which point I hustled my kids out of that store and away from that intrusive stranger lady.

I strapped the kids in, cleaned them up and headed over to the grocery store, silently fuming the whole time about this stranger lady and who did she think she was giving my kid a doughnut after I said not to and I know what I'm fucking doing with my own kids, lady, I know how to discipline them and there are worse things than a kid crying in public, like a kid who is insufferable because they always get every single thing they want and I don't need strangers interfering and I understand basic hygiene and grooming so don't touch my goddamn kids with a scratchy napkin because I have a plan and I know what I'm doing WHAT THE FUCK, LADY WHAT THE FUCK!

So I pull into a parking space and slide the car into reverse because I still misjudge the turning radius on the van and I see, running down my back windshield, the caffeinated goodness of my medium light and sweet.

I left my coffee on top of the car.  Goddamn that lady.

Then, I call Nelson and tell him the whole story and he agrees the lady was out of line but thinks it's hilarious that I drove away with my coffee on the roof of my car.  I decided that instead of taking the boys into the grocery store, I'd take the car to the car wash before the cream and sugar dried on my van.

Yeah, well, Miles decided he was afraid of the car wash and screamed for the entire seven minutes (of course I want my axles washed for an extra dollar!), but we did eventually make it back to the grocery store, where they were out of the dinosaur nuggets, and Oscar had a meltdown because I wouldn't get him a cookie but at least there wasn't some stranger lady forcing a cookie down his through to shut him up and make me feel like an asshole.


Amy said...

Oh my gosh, you are KILLING me! Such a painful, true to life, and hilarious story!! I can totally relate. It's like, "What a perfect plan. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?"

And that lady!!!! I say again--!!! I am shocked. Seriously, that is so out of line for her to do that, I woulda been seriously ticked too.

You made me laugh too with your line about caring what doughnut shop strangers think!

Great post! And bless your heart.

Aliceson said...

I'm always amazed when strangers feel the need to insert themselves into someone else's business, especially when it involves children and temper tantrums and snotty noses, or shitty pants or any other really fun things we parents must do on a daily basis. Gah!

Michele said...

Stranger lady was way out of line but you handled so much nicer than I would have. I would have been a total biotch about it.

Stimey said...

Wow, that sounds so incredibly awesome. What a great morning. I would have been so piiiiisssed at that lady. Who the fuck is she to give your kid a doughnut after you say no? I give you major props for not freaking out on her.

Sprite's Keeper said...

I kept wondering if you just left your coffee while hauling out the kids, but then you served up the resolution in a cold end. So sad.
I feel the same way anytime someone offers Sprite ANYTHING without checking with me first.

Keely said...

OMG, I despise it when people do that. I must have a pretty good death glare, though, because usually if they even glance at me they'll interpret it correctly and ask ME if X can have whatever.

And I love that you're not above bribery to make things go more smoothly. Sometimes it actually works, y'know?

Mrsbear said...

I think you need another Blog-cation. I am actually impressed that nobody was strangled in the making of this blog post.

Patty O. said...

WOW! I cannot believe the NERVE of that woman! Seriously. It amazes me that she would do such a thing. I would have wanted to kill her!

Susanica said...

So...I want to know what your awesome response is going to be next time anyone interferes with your kids. I bet it includes words like "police" and "see you in court lady!" -Monica

Captain Dumbass said...

You should have killed that lady, right there in the store. It would have been justifiable and it would have taught Oscar the importance of listening to mommy.

gretchen said...

That's one of the most painful stories I've read in a long while. I totally feel your pain. Especially for the spilled coffee. Damn that woman.

Ginny Marie said...

I get all twitchy and stabby when being patient and kind to my three and five year olds, too! I usually lose it by the end and yell, anyway. Bad mommy.

Jan said...

Small, screaming children NEVER (well, rarely) bother me in public places, nor do I feel the need to do anything about them.

Why? THEY'RE NOT MINE. (Hey, when your youngest is 15, small children that aren't yours can be the highlight of your existence some days.)

Seriously, though, the donut woman was WAY out of line - shame on her.

Mama Badger said...

OMG, not the coffee. That's just God being cruel. What'd you do to piss him off?

But, I'm going to be the sole dissenting commenter. I agree the lady was way out of line, but she probably did have the best of intentions. She saw you trying to get the two boys out, and thought that half a donut might smooth things out for you. For some reason, things like this happen to me a lot (could it be that I'm always a disorganized disaster and my kids look like they're barely surviving?) I just sigh and remind the kids that strangers are nicer than Mama...

pyjammy pam said...

Ah well, she had good intentions. But yeah, I would have been a bit irritated at that too. But not as irritated as the coffee spilling. Sigh.

-fellow Miles-mama

redhotmandi said...

This story fills me with rage. If only your coffee had somehow been spilled on her!

Unknown said...

Umm, change a few things around...and you lived my yesterday. Seriously.

People need to learn the back the hell off, no?

And coffee on the top of the car...if I had a dollar for every time I've done that...well you know how that one goes ;)

Anonymous said...

That is the worst thing I have ever heard. She practically force fed your kid a donut. Did she not hear you? Was she impaired in some way? I feel for you. Glad Blogher was good. Looking forward to catching up on all your posts now that I'm home!