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?