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Friday, August 2, 2013

The day a stranger told me I didn't know how to parent my 1 year old.

You all know my brother was in town last week. If you're wondering how body pump went, the answer is, it kicked his butt, he was sore for days, and he will never underestimate BP again. In fact, he may even look for a gym that does it near where he lives. So there's that. I am vindicated.

ANYWAY.

One night he was over hanging out at our house, it was getting to dinner hour and I'd yet to even think about making it because ha-ha yea right and it was a Friday night. So Declan suggested we go next door to the neighborhood restaurant. It's literally a hot-dog place. Of course, it sells nicer food, too. But it's known for it's hot-dogs. The sign calls it the "neighborhood place" and it boasts being a family friendly restaurant. We go there all the time.

We wanted to eat on the patio, that was our plan actually. But we remembered that two weeks ago when we were there, we tried that. Except that Emeline is hyper sensitive to bees or anything buzzing around her head right now. She freaks. So a few scream-fests the last time sent off a red flag in our heads--so we opted to sit inside instead.

They sat us right behind (in front? next to?) a table of elderly people. Two couples, on a little double date, I guess. If I had to guess I'd say they were in their 70's or so.

Truthfully, when I walked in and realized they were sitting us right there, I had a moment where I scanned to see how far they were in their meal. They were just about to order dessert, and so I mentally took note that, at least they were almost done.

My kids were actually being pretty decent. There were no tears. Everyone was happy. There was the occasional 3 year old redirection, Honey, sit on your bottom, it's time to eat- type thing. But that's normal. Lucy was in her highchair at the end of the table, happy as a clam. In fact, she was so happy that every few minutes she'd make a few baby shrieking/happy squealing sounds. She was being fed (it was my full time job...keeping food in front of her), she had a drink, she was just taking it all in and being a (not even at the time) 1 year old.

My brother and Declan were in deep conversation about something or other. But I could tell by my brothers face (who was facing the old people table) that they were reacting anytime Lucy made a squeak. One time I asked him if they were reacting to her, he just sort of laughed/shrugged it off, saying it was funny and don't worry about them.

Here is a visual for your reference. You're welcome for the awful drawing.


I started to sense that every few minutes these people were huffing and puffing behind me anytime they heard a chatter out of Lucy's mouth. Usually? This kind of stuff would bother me hardcore, especially if I know my kid is being awful. But the truth is, she was happy. She wasn't screaming bloody murder. She wasn't tired. She wasn't hungry. She was happy and squawking here and there. So I was more annoyed that I could sense them being outwardly irritated by a baby more than anything. 

I never turned around once. I never made a face. They could see that I wasn't ignoring my kid. That she was happy and fed and had all her needs met. 

It felt like it took them an eternity to finish their dessert and leave. As they were getting up to leave, the two men walked out first, then the two women closely behind. I could sense their disgust and joy in leaving the restaurant. They were getting all loud about it. So I leaned over to Declan and said something like, "I wonder if they had kids"--because, surely anyone with children before would know that this is normal

When Woman B (the one in the back) leans in between Declan and I (she's standing up, mind you--we are seated), and says in a loud, hasty voice---"HONEY, I HAD 5 CHILDREN AND I WOULDN'T DARE BRING THEM TO A RESTAURANT LIKE THIS."

It took me so off guard, A) because I really didn't realize she had heard me (I'm assuming she did--but I also think if she didn't, she still would have said something) B) it was aggressive, and loud, and right behind our heads and C) was this really happening? 

Please note: This is all kind of a blur. Even in hindsight, it's hard to recall every little thing. Our 2 minute encounter felt like an eternity. Also, my husband was interjecting too--it's just, I wasn't paying attention to remember what he said. My head was in a fog and like, IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING like I said above. 

She started walking away and I turned around in shock to look at her, and usually I'd whimper and cower in the corner (not quite), but instead I said, "Oh really? You wouldn't bring your children to the NEIGHBORHOOD, FAMILY restaurant? That's a shame!" Stressing on those two words hardcore.

She got wide eyed and fierce, teeth-gritting, and said, "NO. Actually I wouldn't take them out until they were old enough to behave properly in a restaurant."  Then she pointed at Lucy, made a face, and said something to the effect of, "You should learn how to parent this one".

That.was.it.

LIVID. Fumes. Declan was also spewing off things here and there but he was behind me and I just couldn't take it all in. He did not sit quiet. My brother? Was probably in shock, just sitting there. He hates conflict. 

I remember saying, "Ma'am, you are offensive. She's not even 1 yet, and you'd like me to reason with her to stop making noises? She's happy!" She repeated again that I needed to teach her how to behave properly. Again, and again I told her that she was being offensive and to please stop. 

The woman just kept telling me that she would never dare dream of bringing her children to a restaurant "like this". I laughed again, reminding her this place sells hot dogs and is no 5 star place. Meanwhile, her husband, now embarrassed (as he should be), was dragging her by the arm out the door.

More words were exchanged that I know I missed, and I honestly don't remember them all. Blurry. It's all a blur. It was my first negative encounter with a stranger regarding my children, and with a direct slam to my parenting. 

The second she left, I grabbed my napkin and began to cry into it like a moron. I let this lady get to me, to my core. It made me mad. I was fuming inside, but I was mortified and sad that this happened. In complete shock, actually. 

Immediately two servers came up to me and told me what jerks they were. That they had been jerks the whole night to them, and to not let them upset me. That they were glad we were there, and my children are welcome there anytime. That they could tell Lucy was happy and not upset, and they enjoyed hearing her happy sounds. 

There was a table with a Dad and his older son in front of us. They heard the whole thing. They had just paid their check and as he was walking out, he leaned down to me and said--"hey, how are kids supposed to learn how to behave in restaurants if we don't take them to 'em?" It was nice. I knew he was just giving me that reaffirming pat on the back. 

I was so bummed out about it the entire night. More so, it made me realize that I so badly want to be the older person one day who doesn't forget what it's like to have small children. That gives that young mom a pat on the back and a "I saw how well you tended to your baby tonight, honey, you did great--she's obviously a happy girl".

It made me hope and pray that I am not bitter and nasty one day--making young moms cry and question
themselves because I was slightly inconvenienced by a few baby squawks and squeals during dessert. I want to remember what it's like. How hard it is to even get out the door to the family restaurant at all. How much of a sacrifice it is to sit there and feed her non-stop, play peek-a-boo a million times, tickle her toes, keep her happy, and be lucky enough to get a bite of my food before it gets cold.

I mostly want to remember and encourage that mom that she's doing great, and not be an old hag that gets blogged about. 

Let's make it happen.

***


Please note: I do not believe all elderly people aren't kind. I have relationships with many older people who are loving and so great with my children, or ones I have ran into at the mall, restaurant, store that stop and smile and talk to my girls, telling me how lovely and sweet they are. We just happened to be sitting near a few bad eggs, I guess. Lucky for me. ((eye roll))

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55 comments:

  1. Two thoughts (well three)
    1.) That lady is a first class jerk, period.
    2.) I'd bet she was just crabby and sadly you got the brunt of it. Please see exhibit 1.
    3.) At target this weekend my 2yo threw herself on the floor b/c....I dunno the moon wasn't in the second house. A woman with elementary aged kids smiled at me and said "been there, done that" and then explained to her kids how when they were little sometimes they got frustrated too. I thought of you b/c really, so long as we're TRYING that should be our approach.

    As for crying while I feel for you and understand that you didn't want to let her get to you remember this---maybe someone else saw that interaction and how it hurt you. Maybe they'll think twice before snarking off to another in the future.

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  2. I am so sorry that happened to you and I totally get it. I've always said that as people get older they become one of two people. The happy older folks who take life for what it is and find the good and enjoy it, or the grumpy old farts who feel it's their job to tell everyone else how to conduct their business. Unfortunately, I'm actually related to some of the latter. Anyways, I think you handled yourself fantastically and if they can't handle the happy squeals of a little baby (and honestly, I don't get how you can't smile when you hear happy baby squeals), then perhaps they shouldn't visit a FAMILY restaurant.

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  3. I can feel the rage rising up into my throat. I give you props for not letting her have it, but Eme was there so that probably wouldn't have been a good thing. I just don't get why people feel the need to poke their nose where it doesn't belong. It will never make sense to me why it's any of THEIR business. You are doing good momma, don't let this lady get into your head. <3

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  4. I can feel the rage rising up into my throat. I give you props for not letting her have it, but Eme was there so that probably wouldn't have been a good thing. I just don't get why people feel the need to poke their nose where it doesn't belong. It will never make sense to me why it's any of THEIR business. You are doing good momma, don't let this lady get into your head. <3

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  5. I am really sorry you guys had to experience the misery of someone else. I kind of feel the worst for her husband...he had to go home with her!!!

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  6. Good for you for saying something back to her!!! When I've been in similar situations, I usually just take it and wish later that I had said something back.

    It's important for us to show our girls that they don't have to accept rude comments and that it's okay to politely defend yourself.

    High five, sister!

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  7. I am so sorry, too, that this happened. Your girls appear to be so well rounded and behave as any baby/toddler do. That's why I enjoy following you because you share your heart about life. It would have made me cry, too, and we all become mama bear's when it comes to our children. You and your husband had every right to defend yourselves and your babies! Thankfully, these encounters happen very rarely.

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  8. Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry that happened to you. I got mad for you! You have to feel sorry for them, what a sad life that they can't smile watching a happy baby find her voice.
    PS- congrats on the 12 hours of sleep! Go Lucy!

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  9. I have tears in my eyes thinking about you exchange. if your girls are anything like mine the shrieking is their way of just being happy. I am sorry you had to deal with that and, seriously, kudos to getting out there with your kids. My parents, who raised 6 kids, are always cheering me and my husband on to go out and try stuff. They believe kids learn in the moment. Did I mention they are teachers, too? Keep on keeping on.

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  10. Good for you for saying something back to her, I can't believe how nasty she was! I'd understand her being annoyed if Lucy was screaming and upset the whole time, but what kind of person doesn't melt at the sound of happy baby squeaks? Awful. While I was reading this, I had my one year old on my lap, when she saw Lucy's picture at the end she started waving and saying "hi baby" to the computer. I asked her if she liked the baby and she said yes, so clearly Lucy has an admirer!

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  11. My heart was racing as I read this because I can only imagine being in that spot since my little girl is almost the same age and can get a little chatty when she is happy. I love that you are choosing to use it as a growth experience. Sometimes having an anti-role model is as important as a real role model in some cases. Hugs!!!

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  12. I seriously would have probably FLIPPED OUT, I don't control my anger very well at times. So, i think you controlled yourself the best that you possibly could in a situation like that. Some people are the ones who need to actually learn how to "properly" act. PLUS, that restaurant is small and the tables are close together. WHAT DID SHE EXPECT. Ew, go home lady.

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  13. I commented when you talked about this on instagram, but reading it in detail is awful! I can't believe an adult would act like that to a young mother with children (especially a 3 year old who understands words). I think you hand eked yourself really well. I, like your brother, hate conflict and avoid it, but if your going to attack my child, you're going to get some nasty words from me. You're awesome. Don't ever let anyone make you feel differently.

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  14. So happy you said something. I hope she goes home & has a moment where she realizes how rude she was! (Ill give her the benefit of the doubt)
    I am so sorry you had to go through this!

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  15. Holy crap, stuff like that makes me SO MAD, and I'm so glad you told her that she was being offensive!

    I think you're totally right--we need to remember this time so that we can encourage others now and later. There have been a few moments where kind women have whispered things like, "you're doing a great job" during a public tantrum, and I still remember them VIVIDLY and how NEEDED they were!

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  16. Wow...just wow. Aside from reiterating all the above comments about how this person was ridiculous, remember one thing: some people are absolutely hell bent on being miserable. They thrive on it and their personal mission is to make others around them be just as miserable. You did nothing wrong here, you just got caught in the cross hairs of this woman's inability to be happy herself and to see you and your family happy too. We as people get very caught up in being liked but the reality is, not everyone is going to like us. When it happens, it's usually for totally unjustified reasons and the best thing you can do is just remain confident in yourself and your abilities as a parent.

    That woman is an asshole.

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  17. This just breaks my heart. Nobody deserves that! I'm so sorry.

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  18. girl...I would have done the EXACT same thing! you stood up to her! sounds like more people in her life should have done the same thing! mad props to you, momma! keep doing what you're doing! IT'S WORKING!

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  19. OH MY GOSH. I could feel my BP rising while I was reading. Seriously. I'm just so angry for you. I hate conflict too, but mess with my kid? Oh hell no.

    And I get why you cried. It's so overwhelming and upsetting that you even have to defend your child like that. I think you handled yourself really well.

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  20. Wow !!! More than one curse word probably would've made it into that conversation !! How dare she even say anything to you !

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  21. I would've cussed a B out literally !!

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  22. She clearly is dead inside. Any normal person would probably be smiling at Lu and saying how cute she is! Don't you feel bad for her 5 kids!!! And all their kids?! I wouldn't let it bother you one more second. Pray for her that she finds joy and happiness. Can you imagine what a miserable life she must have if Lu can annoy her?! She's probably complaining all day and have encounters like that everywhere she goes. What a horrible way to live!

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  23. i cannot even imagine this scenario. I would have been fuming! MY WORD! How rude of her! I just seriously can't imagine saying something TO someone like that. I mean, maybe to my table IF the child was acting ugly, but a happy baby...HECK NO! There's nothing better than a happy baby! I just can't believe this. I"m sorry she ruined your night! :(

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  24. I got wide eyed at the part where she said, "you need to learn how to parent that one!" Holy Eff! Abd as much as I would have LOVED to say something back to her, I probably would have just sat there in shock. Not good at confrontation at all. Though, my Sisters would have prob been w/ me and I KNOW they would have gone off on that woman. Haha. I do not blame you for crying one bit. That happened to me this wknd w/ Jackson in CHURCH! He was frustrated, wanted to go home, and was crying. This woman kept giving him (and Trey) ugly looks as if I couldn't control my children. L wasn't there, he had to work, but I know if he'd been there, Jackson would have behaved differently. I sobbed at my SILs house after. Sigh.

    I honestly do think that people FORGET what it's like to have little ones. And that's sad for all us young Mommas who have the unfortunate encounters w/ these people.

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  25. I got wide eyed at the part where she said, "you need to learn how to parent that one!" Holy Eff! Abd as much as I would have LOVED to say something back to her, I probably would have just sat there in shock. Not good at confrontation at all. Though, my Sisters would have prob been w/ me and I KNOW they would have gone off on that woman. Haha. I do not blame you for crying one bit. That happened to me this wknd w/ Jackson in CHURCH! He was frustrated, wanted to go home, and was crying. This woman kept giving him (and Trey) ugly looks as if I couldn't control my children. L wasn't there, he had to work, but I know if he'd been there, Jackson would have behaved differently. I sobbed at my SILs house after. Sigh.

    I honestly do think that people FORGET what it's like to have little ones. And that's sad for all us young Mommas who have the unfortunate encounters w/ these people.

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  26. I got wide eyed at the part where she said, "you need to learn how to parent that one!" Holy Eff! Abd as much as I would have LOVED to say something back to her, I probably would have just sat there in shock. Not good at confrontation at all. Though, my Sisters would have prob been w/ me and I KNOW they would have gone off on that woman. Haha. I do not blame you for crying one bit. That happened to me this wknd w/ Jackson in CHURCH! He was frustrated, wanted to go home, and was crying. This woman kept giving him (and Trey) ugly looks as if I couldn't control my children. L wasn't there, he had to work, but I know if he'd been there, Jackson would have behaved differently. I sobbed at my SILs house after. Sigh.

    I honestly do think that people FORGET what it's like to have little ones. And that's sad for all us young Mommas who have the unfortunate encounters w/ these people.

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  27. OMG! I was seriously on the edge of my seat, going nuts while reading this! Way to go for standing up for you and your family! I wish I had more guts to do that sometimes!

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  28. I'm so curious as to what your husband was saying...

    I'd like to think I'd remain calm but I think my husband would laugh at that, I'd never have been able to. I can't help but wonder if the old broad had something else bothering her, if she just doesn't get out much or if she doesn't get to see her own grandchildren because she's a horrible wench. I would guess something else was troubling her before sweet Lucy even entered the picture because normal old ladies would smile, wave and coo right back at her.

    Sorry you had to deal with this! I think your reaction was 100% normal and totally justified. (I love that you told her she was being offensive, she totally was.)

    Hoping you (and I) have a drama free weekend!

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  29. Girlfriend...you handled that situation much more gracefully than this ol' southern gal would have.
    I like to think that I have plenty of class, but if anyone (old or young) would have said something like that to me, I would be likely to go all "white trash" on them.
    Mama always told me to never disrespect my elders, but she was very disrespectful to you and she deserved whatever you said back to her.
    I give you many props, though, because you set a wonderful example for your girls by handling it the way you did.

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  30. Rock on, momma! I love that you stuck up for yourself. We had a similar situation happen too with a happy, squealing baby. The couple requested a different table. We just smiled and encouraged his good behavior. Always makes me question how happy their children's childhoods were...Eek!

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  31. That's so sad! I have 10 mo twins and I'm afraid to take them out because they "talk" to each other really loudly and giggle and have fun. I'm afraid they'll get too loud!

    I think you're right in saying that people forget what it's like: to be a teenager, a college student, newlyweds, young parents. Once you leave a stage it's hard to remember how hard it was.

    I find that the people who SHOULD be the most understanding are the people who seem to be the least understanding. I've encountered many older people who treat young mothers like they don't know what they're doing. On the other hand, I have encountered many older people who are so kind and understanding.

    You just have to remember that you're doing the best that you can. And that you're doing a good job. You had 2 happy children who were enjoying themselves. Even if they had been screaming, that still wouldn't have given anyone the right to even glance at you sideways.

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  32. I cried when I read how people encouraged you.

    You are my hero, girl. No way would I ever be able to stand up for myself like that. I'd have just sat there dumbfounded and wished I'd said something later.

    And holy cow, if people judge MY parenting on the volume of my children in public, then I'm shocked that DFS hasn't taken them away yet.

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  33. That lady sounds like a REAL bitch! Let's talk about that husband of hers first... if he had any balls or class he would not only have pulled her out of the restaurant, he would have apologized for the old crow.

    Now as for the old crow who's probably dead by now anyways because she sounds like her soul is dead already.... she must really hate her life to spew like that!

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  34. Wow. I gasped. Loudly. I'm so sorry you had to deal with this and I too would have cried but I'm also glad that you responded to her. Maybe later she will realize how awful she was being- maybe not. Obviously she forgot what a happy toddler sounds like. I know my day is coming when I receive a comment- especially since I'll have 3 very energetic boys. People are rude but at least for every rude one it seems there are 20 nice ones.

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  35. AHHH! That would have had my blood boiling!!! I'm glad you didn't go all Theresa Giudice on her ass, because I would have!!

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  36. I still can't believe it. Reading the whole story just gets me all fired up again. I don't even know what I would have done. Either sat there and said nothing while that old bag belittled me and my parenting or I would have gone all crazy mama bear on her ass. Not sure either would have been right. Sound like you handled it perfectly.

    Hopefully she keeps her stuffy opinions to herself next time!

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  37. Omg I cannot believe that lady acted like that!! We take our (19 month) twins out to eat all the time and I would be so pissed if something like that happened!! We do get the occasional "please don't sit those people by us" looks but I've never had someone be so rude. Good for you for standing your ground!!

    Kathryn
    Erikandkathrynburton.blogspot.com

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  38. Unreal. I'm glad you spoke up. I honestly don't know what I'd do or say in a situation like that. I am very much the type to instantly get shaky and angry and hurt. I'd like to think I'd say something, too, because seriously...who does that!? I was about to say, I could see if Lucy was having a screamfest and throwing a tantrum, but NO, not even that would warrant it being okay to be rude. Ugh. I'm sorry you had that happen.

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  39. I am so sorry that happened to you, it was completely uncalled for. Not that telling somebody about their kid is ever called for, but you know what I mean.

    I'm glad that you were able to say at least a little something to her, and I do hope that IF this should ever happen again, you're in the right headspace to properly put them in their place.

    It makes me so angry that people think they can just ignore basic human boundaries and say whatever they want, when they want to whoever they want. That kind of thing is NOT ok and it sucks that these days our only choices seem to be to get ghetto, or say nothing.

    I say we have to learn to stand up for ourselves in a controlled and classy manner that leaves no doubt in the aggressor's mind that what they said/did is 100% unacceptable and they should keep their mouths shut next time.

    I have never encountered anything like that - maybe it's because I give off a bitch vibe - but if it should ever happen, I hope I'll have the presence of mind to give whoever it is the classiest dressing-down they've ever received. It used to be an art form in the South - those beautiful Southern women cutting you with their silver tongues. I say, let's bring that back!

    Down with the old biddies! :-)

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  40. WHY. WHY do people feel like they have the right to comment on someone's parenting.

    I'm sorry you had to deal with that. So not cool.

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  41. That is so frustrating! I feel like the world is becoming so anti-children anymore - seriously, you can't even bring them to a family restaurant?

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  42. That lady is a total B and unhappy in life for some reason. Like her kids didn't giver her cute grandchildren or something. Or they just don't bring them around her because she is SO MEAN.

    I'm just sorry she made you feel so bad because that is just NOT right.

    Wish I could hug you.

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  43. It would suck to be her. Nothing I love more then the sound of happy baby noises. So sorry you had to deal with such a bitter old hag. Sounds like you handled the situation with class, I may have slapped her.

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  44. People are truly amazing. They lack any kind of regard for being nice people. I can't even imagine how she could look at those cute kids and be hateful. She must be miserable with her own life.

    Good for you for not taking it and standing up for her rude actions. Its things like these and remind me how lucky we are to have good lives and act like such a miserable old hag! You do such a great job and it is SO HARD to take kids to restaurants...i'm sure you will be the very sweet old lady rooting on the young parents!

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  45. So incredibly rude of that woman....her mother must not have taught her manners. Sorry that happened and I would have cried too. I have an almost three year old and 9 month old twins, one of which loves to squeal. Needless to say we don't go out to eat with them hardly at all.

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  46. Wow. That is too much. I cannot even imagine what I'd do in that situation - I'm glad you stood up for yourselves! And good for the husband to start pulling his wife away, and realizing they were in the wrong. But still, wow.

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  47. kind of made me tear up and i read about it on IG already and knew what was going to happen! haha. i SOOO want to be that encouraging older lady, too! not a cranky old bat.

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  48. I remember this from your IG post. I would have done the exact same thing. I have no tolerance for rude people especially when it relates to my children. This makes me think of this woman we encountered at the airport who said something similar. I don't even think we had our kids with us on that trip but we were so annoyed by the comment.

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  49. Dont wait til you're 70 to tell another mom she's doing a good job ;)

    And it wa probably the Holy Spirit leaving you speechless to day something nasty back to her :) you know you are raising your children in a way that is honoring to The Lord. So all you can do (which is basically what you did, even though you would have liked to have said more) is what 1 Peter 3 tells us...
    But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

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  50. My jaw is literally to the floor. In the words of Michelle Tanner, "How Rude!" So sorry you had to deal with a crothchy old lady. UGHHHHHH.

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  51. just reading this makes me angry. Some people just have no filter.

    what a miserable person who can't find the joy in a happy baby!

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  52. This brought tears to MY eyes! I can just tell what an awesome momma you are from reading your posts! *Huge Hugs* Keep doing what you're doing!

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  53. I can't even imagine.
    And they were probably pissed because they had their hearing aids turned up too loud, which explains why she heard your question if they had kids or not.
    And besides, a thousand years ago when she had kids, times were different and you didn't take your kids to restaurants, amiright?! She probably cooked every night and was so jealous of the fact that you were seated at a restaurant with your husband there and your happy family.
    Eff her, and her nasty attitude. You're doing a great job!

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