Imagine this: You are walking in a grocery store, minding your own business, looking for Dijon Mustard. It isn't your normal grocer so it is a little confusing and takes longer than normal. During your search from isle to isle, suddenly a screech makes you stop in your tracks...what the hell was that? You look down to your side where the sound came from and there you see a child, mouth wide open screeching his heart out. In between each loud staccato, ear peircing sound, are giggles. You start to look around for this child's parent when you realize, this is your child. Another screech. More giggles. But not those cute giggles from the small infant years before, but evil giggles. Like a plan has been executed seemlessly, the mission of sheer embarrassment of Mommy has been a success. (Secretly you want to ask where his Mommy is)
I remember the embarrassment of a crying baby at the store or the toddler who has a fit because they just don't quite understand the amount of patience that is expected of them, but the big kid, young child, whatever title you would give a 5 year old, and the out bursts he has now creates real embarrassment and anger. I don't want to be mad, I want to shake it off like I did when he was younger, when other moms or grandparents or aunts and uncles (anyone that had been through infancy to a growing child), when they all gave me looks of empathy and it was all going to be okay. I miss those looks. I long for those looks. The look of "Hey, we know. We have been there too. Don't worry, he is just a _______." Those were the days. Now, though, those looks are gone. When your 5 year old looks more like 7 year old and is having a screeching fit or won't hold hands in the parking lot, or won't lower his voice, or won't stop trying to pull stuff off the shelve or tells you (very loudly) "I don't want to hear it, whatever Mom," it is no long that look. It is the "Hey, quiet your kid down. Did you forget to teach him manners?" look. I hate that look. Then you just want to explain everything to the stranger wondering what is wrong with you and your child. There is a thin line when kids are growing up where their behavior isn't just of their age but a reflection of your parenting. That is a hard line to accept their crossing.
Word of the wise to all new Moms out there. Revel in the empathy look when you are out with the bebe and nothing in the world will calm him or her down. Soak it in. Don't sweat about the toddler having a small fuss about something too big for them to understand or if they have ants in their pants at the store.....just enjoy that look. It may piss off some people about a crying baby, but not like a screeching 5 year old!