Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Quiet voice?

Yep it's another playgroup story. Are you sick of these yet? I'm afraid there are few other outings in my week. It's all I've got aside from my almost daily visits to complain to the dry cleaner who ruined yet another Brioni shirt but we won't go there today.

I've been trying to teach Tinker about using her "quiet voice" and until today I really thought the concept was too advanced for her. Turns out she really is the genius I often say she is.

She has a very loud, clear voice and tends to yell a bit, especially when trying to coax the neighbour's cat over for a pat. So each day I try to come up with a new lesson about using the quiet voice but it never ever seems to sink in.

This morning at playgroup there was a dad shouting at his toddler. She seemed to be a bit whiney and to me looked like she just needed a nap. She certainly wasn't making much noise but he was yelling at her. He pointed at my Tinker and said to his kid- "look at that little boy he is smiling and happy. None of the other children are crying. WHY CAN'T YOU JUST BE LIKE THEM?"
The more he yelled the more she whimpered. So I had to put my calm gentle mummy hat on for a minute. I was tossing up whether to (A) teach him about the quiet voice (B) thump him for calling my baby girl a boy (she was head to toe in pink even her socks were pink) or (C) Offer the kid some cheese to tempt the Dad out of the tantrum (it always works for Tinker)

All the other mums had picked their children up and moved well away from the yelling Dad, a few rolled their eyes, a few shook their heads. He seemed to think they were not impressed with the child. I wanted to tell him it was him not her. I was gearing up to suggest to Tinker that we go and ruin another handbag with the "washable paint" that doesn't wash off when she stood up on the foam block and in her very loudest voice said:

"Naughty naughty naughty dog, quiet voice? Quiet voice where are you?" while pointing at the yelling Dad. Now just so you know, because I am constantly chastising my dogs for barking at people Tinker has learned to say naughty dog. Unfortunately she even says it to people.
Fortunately for the man, the second part of her question was not as clear as the first and I don't think he understood what she was saying. I certainly did so I replied "the man's quiet voice is all gone, maybe if he used it his little girl wouldn't be so upset."

Immediately I felt really guilty. Maybe a bit like that nutjob with the bad hair who criticised my parenting at the shopping centre that day. Who was I to make such a judgmental call? Was I as bad as that crazy bogan on the escalator? I'm not sure what came over me. I was both thrilled with Tinker for understanding the quiet voice concept and furious at the yelling Dad for making his baby cry like that. The dad definitely heard me and he did stop yelling at the toddler but I felt really sheepish and escaped with Tinker to the play-doh table to roll some gooey germy bits of playdoh around the place.
Cringeworthy? Am I as bad as that bogan? What do you do when you see or hear parents being abusive like that?


  1. 1. C, you could never be a bogan if you tried. Your comment had merit. That crazy haired bogan lady clearly had no clue.

    2. I just cracked up at Tinker's rant. I would have loved to see her yelling 'naughty dog' at the man and telling him to use his 'quiet voice'. Classic. I am still laughing.

  2. I nearly WET myself laughing with this one, C!

    Considering offering the kid some cheese, followed by Tinker yelling @ the "naughty dog" had me in stitches. Read it out to the OH and even he had a laugh!

  3. LMAO! omg, that is awesome! Go Tinker, Go!!!

    On another note, can I borrow her for a day and take her to my work? I am surround by 4 people who have no clue about 'quiet voices'.

    Oh, and I want to be a bogan like you ;)

  4. None of the other children are crying. WHY CAN'T YOU JUST BE LIKE THEM?"
    His toddler should of said None of the other parents are yelling why Can't you be just like them?
    This is funny story I am glad Tinker has learned what a quiet voice is.
    Good on you for standing up for the toddler no one else was going to.
    Not sure if i would say it to a random stranger on the street just afraid I would become the brunt of their anger.

  5. I never get tired of the playgroup stories.

    Crazy things happen at playgroup, and a lot of nutty folks hang out at playgroup.

    I get so disgusted when I'm out and about and hear parents yelling and cursing at their kids as a form of "discipline." If I see it happening at a grocery store or mall, I usually slow way down and just stare at the parent like, hello! you're making an ass out of yourself!

    It really makes me wonder what they do to their kids when no one else is around!

  6. I LOVE WHAT YOU AND TINKER DID! No need to feel sheepish. You did a good thing. Sometimes it feels strange to insert yourself into someone else's world but the child is the better for it. Way to go!

  7. I think it's great that you stood up for that poor little one! Tinker is quite precocious!

  8. This playground story is good. It made me belly laugh.

  9. You did the right thing. Someone has to stand up for that little child and unfortunately it won't be either of her parents. Verbal abuse often escalates to physical abuse and while the chances are slim, hopefully you'll make the dad take a close look in the mirror.

  10. Love it!

    Is this North Sydney Playgroup near the Library, with the big playset?

    If so, that's my favourite playgroup. :)

  11. Hm it might have been better to talk to him directly instead of via Tinker however you're nowhere near as bad as that bogan. That man was being verbally abusive towards his child whereas you were just trying to keep Tinker safe.
    Incidentally Macquarie Centre is my local shopping centre - I thought Chatswood would be closer to you? Macquarie Centre does have a lot more available parking spaces though :o)

  12. Danielle you are right it is nowhere near me but you know why I ventured out there? Another mop mission. We don't have Big W near here and they are meant to have more mops than KMart.

  13. Go Tinker! Perfect, never ceases to amaze me what comes our of their mouths. They really do learn the lessons we teach them! Their reactions are so simple and true. I think your response was perfect :)

  14. Haha the eternal search for the perfect mop!

  15. haha - I thought you were very tactful with your response!

  16. Your tinker is one smart cookie! She put that man in his place didn't she!? Too too funny! Don't mess with the Tinker!

  17. I tagged you on my blog:

  18. You need to teach Miss T this cute tune : Inside voice ... quiet..inside voice.. shhhh.. OUTSIDE VOICE BIG AND LOUD, OUTSIDE VOICE, YEEEAH. And maybe teach Papa Jerk next week too!! (yes its a Yo Gabba Gabba song, I always seem to be banging on about them in here huh LOL)

  19. You just made my morning! This article made me laugh so hard! Good for Tinker!

    I usually do something very similar to what you did, but I don't have the guilt. I don't like it when someone comments on my parenting skills either, but you know what...

    That Naughty Dog needed to shut up!
    Thanks for the smiles today!

  20. That is hilarious!! I love that she called him a dog.

  21. ahhhhh playgroup! I go to a nice church one and we'd never have a man like that in our group buuuuut in melbourne I went to a baptist playgroup and they were pushing their parenting program on us poor unsuspecting playgroup mums. The two mums who would be presenting the course had given us a talk on it and how we should all go along and pay our money to do it. It was all about discipline, toddlers etc. One of those mums then gave her toddler the biggest smack and yell at the end of playgroup. Yep, no prizes for guessing that I was definitely not going to the parenting program led by her!!!! So many parenting stories so little time but man I love playgroup!!

    I'm just annoyed he called your little girl a boy, duh!!!!

    oh and be sure to get a copy of family circle..and are you watching 60 minutes this sunday?????