Today’s post is by guest Mom blogger ROBIN, a writer and mother of 2. ENJOY!
Two weeks ago my DAUGHTER started middle school and my SON started high school. To celebrate their each having survived the first day, I took them with some other teenage friends to a place called Yogurtland. It is a land of self-serve yogurt and unlimited toppings. There is an unspoken code of etiquette in Yogurtland, (kind of like how friends have described the benign dictatorship that is Singapore). It is understood that you form a line at the first machine even if that is not the flavor you want and move along cafeteria style until you reach the toppings bar, where the same rules apply.
Well, that afternoon, it was overrun with five year-olds who had just completed their first day at a nearby kindergarten. They ran roughshod through the place like it was a saloon in Dodge City. They JUMPED ON and OVER the railing, PULLED at yogurt machine handles, SCAMPERED around the small section adjacent to the door filled with adorable bistro tables and matching bistro chairs and HURLED plastic spoons and sporks at each others heads. Their mothers sat nearby, oblivious to the chaos and deep in conversation about hair. Yes, hair. One of them recently had a haircut about which she was insecure.
We moved through the line as well as we could manage, (dodging the toddler touring company of ‘Jackass’ along the way) and found a table at the back of the crowded shop. The few other patrons looked like frightened townsfolk as they tried to enjoy their frozen treats. My kids and their friends quietly sat and ate, taking up a table to themselves in the corner, while I managed to find a seat in front of the large window facing the parking lot next to the ramp leading out the front door. An older man who looked like he was a WWII Vet nearly had steam coming out of his ears as one of the little hooligans did a half gainer over the railing next to him by the exit ramp. The mothers were still deep in conversation, although they had now moved on to diets. One of them must have been on one, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out which one, since they collectively weighed less than my Peanut Butter Cup/Dutch Chocolate Swirl. And that’s without toppings.
All of a sudden, one of the women jumped up and ran towards me, her stick arms outstretched in alarm.
‘DON’T WIPE YOUR HANDS ON YOUR CLOTHES!!!!!!!!!” She yelled towards me, not more than an inch from my face.
The entire shop turned around to look.
‘WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?” She screamed again. It was then that I realized she was screaming at her son who was outside in the parking lot and that she was reprimanding him through the window!
I looked over to the adjacent ramp leading out the door, confused as to why she wouldn’t have used the exit and gone outside to discipline her child. And how absurd that her idea of discipline was for all practical purposes, still not directed at the child, but at ME!
Shocked and appalled, and realizing that there was no Sheriff of Yogurtland who would burst through the back door of the establishment to restore order, I said,
“What on earth are you doing yelling at me?”
She looked shocked, but the question did get her to exit the place to speak to her son directly.
Now, here’s the strangest part. She came back in and apologized, but here’s what she said, and I quote:
“I am so sorry. That was so rude, but you have to understand that I looked up from my yogurt to see my son nearly being run over by a car in the parking lot. I had to get his attention. He had stuck his hands in something in the parking lot and was wiping it on his clothes.”
And that was it. That was her explanation/apology. Apparently she demonstrated concern for her son’s physical safety by yelling out hygiene and laundry tips. She believed her son in mortal danger, but screamed at him about handprints on his new khakis. Surely she could loan him a pair of hers in a pinch as they looked to be about the same size.
I have to say I was more embarrassed for her than angry with her. She looked asinine for not going outside to deal with her kid and she had no clue. Now, she stood in front of me, offering an inane apology and waiting for me to accept it. The whole place was watching to see what I would do. I considered explaining to her what she really did wrong and then launching into a tirade about the lot of them taking over Yogurtland and ruining it for all the other good people who managed to follow the mores and values dictated by society. But in the end I said, “I appreciate your apology.” Because I wanted her to just go away.
I looked at my group who were, quietly and politely licking their spoons and making their way to the trash cans after busing their own table. I hoped the little hooligans and their mothers would take notice of the example set by the well behaved gang of teenagers. But by that time, the little tykes had moved on to terrorizing patrons exiting the dog groomers next door and their mothers had yet to take notice that their kids had left the premises.
When we got in the car my fifteen year-old SON who barely does anything but grunt at me lately said, “I love you. You’re a really good mom.”
Now that’s what I call topping.