Don’t Talk to Me About Parenting Philosophy Until I’ve Had My Coffee

This morning, as I dropped The Baby off at day care, another parent was talking to one of the teachers about her kid. Apparently, he’d been “bad” the day before, committing transgressions such as pouring an entire juice box into a Little People dollhouse (which I, of course, found hilarious). He also threw a block at an unnamed girl, which prompted said girl to smack him in retaliation.

“It think I know who that girl was,” the teacher said, and gave my daughter a knowing look.

This troubled me, so I bent low and asked The Baby if she’d hit this kid. Her answer was unclear, but her hemming and hawing suggested that she probably had. “You shouldn’t do that,” I told her. “If somebody hits you, tell the teacher.”

“But it’s good if she sticks up for herself!” the teacher said, clearly not bothered by any of this.

“Yeah, but she can stick up for herself without smacking somebody,” I responded.

“It’s okay,” the mom said, lowering herself to eye level with The Baby. “If [KID’S NAME] does that again, you can hit him. He deserved it!”

Thanks, Other Kid’s Mom! You just gave my kid license to hit your kid whenever she wants! Just because you said she should only do it when your kid “deserves” it, that doesn’t mean she will, or that she’s a capable judge of when retribution is called for. I saw her once charge across the room at another kid because she thought he looked at her funny. (By the way, there is nothing more simultaneously adorable and terrifying as a baby on a rampage.)

Also, once you say something to a three-year-old, it can not be unsaid or dislodged from their brain. Did you once say it was okay to eat jellybeans before dinner? You now have a kid who expects to eat jellybeans before dinner every single night for the rest of their live, because you said something in passing once.

And this is all happening at 7:30 in the morning, people. I am in no state of mind to start an argument over conflict resolution among three-year-olds, or to simply tell this other parent to mind their own beeswax. I just wanna kiss The Baby goodbye and drive to work without getting sideswiped by a Hasidic school bus (the deadliest vehicles on the Williamsburg streets).

So I just said, “Well, I gotta head to work now,” hugged The Baby and went on my way. I fully expect to be punched in the head when I get home tonight.