Saturday, January 15, 2011

Liar, liar, pants on fire


Overheard in the parking lot at Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens; a woman to her child:


"Get out of the car. Did you hear me? I said get out of the car. Out of the car. Get your feet off the seat and step out of the car. Out. What did I say? I'm back here with baby, so you have to get out of the car on your own. Get out of the car. Why don't you want to get out of the car? I know it's hot in there. Oh, we're so cool outside. Come outside and you'll see. OK, then we're leaving now. Bye. Bye-by. See you in an hour or two. Hope you're not hungry, because we're taking the sandwiches. Get out of the car. Did I make myself clear? Move it. Where do I want you? Out of the car. Out; here; now. When Mommy says something, she only says it once. Get out of the car."

39 comments:

  1. Doesn't sound like she took Child Ed. I assume she took Drivers Ed.

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  2. That kid is going to be the one who turns out to be a drug dealer or something because his/her mother doesn't run the household, and then people will be wailing, "I don't understand! His family is good people! He's a nice boy who just got a little misguided!" Hmph.

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  3. The mom doesn't know how to get her kid out of the car, at least not this day, and he's a drug dealer?

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  4. Sounds like they're having a bad day.

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  5. I've always found the 8th time is the charm.

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  6. Overheard at Hi-Life Burger about 30 minutes ago. The speaker is a 30-something male, the counter girl is in her early 20s: "Alcohol. You don't have alcohol? It was my objective to get hammered tonight."

    Flashback 30 years: "Get out of the car. Why won't you get out of the car?"

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  7. It wonder how many directives she had to give that day. We aren't supposed to be raising our kids solo but in work groups, etc. Days like that were so frustrating to me, especially in stores. Now he can drive and I can ride.

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  8. I'm a pet parent and this sounds eerily similar to my futile dialogues with my poochie girl, Hana, regarding her Freudian issues with the UPS/Fedex/postal carrier persons. Sigh.

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  9. Next thing you know, we'll find out they got our races and religions wrong too! Not to mention our heights.

    What if we woke up one morning and the standards of beauty had changed?

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  10. Mr E, I dream of waking up to find I'm the new standard of beauty! This actually happened to my mother when we moved to Malaya - the men there just adored her big nose. She loved it.

    But this is getting us off message. Let's return to parenting skills. Have you all read Amy Chua's article in the Wall Street Journal by now? http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html

    I trust this Mum wasn't a Chinese mother, Karin?

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  11. Oops. I thought I was commenting on the astrological change post!

    Barbara - S.F. Gate had a followup article about Ms. Chua, and apparently the WSJ article is a very big distortion of the book.

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  12. The potential loss of sandwiches would mobilise me.

    Thank you so much for all your support, KB. You're a sweetheart. {But I already knew that.}

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  13. FANTASTIC! And terrible. Especially capped by that last line or two.

    Was it here that I mentioned I recently went through a few days of witnessing this negotiating biz, but the kids were late teens (and the parents both attorneys, which somehow seems relevant).

    It was not pretty. Of course, the parents lost every match, but didn't seem to regret it, or even realize they'd lost, surrendered . . . pleadingly.

    As always, it seems, we love black and white; some want parental dictatorship, others endless, dangling negotiation with a tot, which can be a lot like bargaining with a field mouse.

    Why not simply some rules, for which Parent is willing to explain rationales once or twice and even modify once in awhile. But at a fairly early point, No means No, Yes means Yes. Not "because I said so," but because I just made clear the rule AND the reason for it.

    I know nothing is foolproof in these situations, but there's so much that seems simpler and BETTER than what we witness fairly often IN PUBLIC.

    Your over-hearings are terrifically revealing and provocative. Shows why some of us love dialogue in fiction.

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  14. Why not interventions? We'll get little groups together and patrol parking lots and malls. Which approach shall we use, Chinese Mother?

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  15. A comic once said when her mom said, "I'm not going to tell you again!" she would think, "Great!" But then her mother would always tell her again.

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  16. I think Amy Chua is just doing an Ann Coulter -- saying something outrageous so the media can't ignore her.

    My parents talked softly and carried a big stick.

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  17. I don't have children. I find it prudent to stay out of these conversations

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  18. Poor mom. Poor mom. Poor mom. Wait: I only meant to say that once.

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  19. Thanks for the link, KB. They definitely need a lot of donations to recover AND take care of their ark-load.

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  20. I've read this to about 1/2 dozen friends...I'm practically crying I'm laughing so hard.

    Reminds me of the old Bill Cosby routine "Come here, come here, come here, come here, come heeeeeeere!".

    As with animals, kids will push you to your limit. If you always ask a dog six times to "come", it'll learn that the first 5 times are just a warning shot.

    "Come here, now". period. No discussion. What Mom says, goes. period.

    @Cafe---odd isn't it? They REQUIRE you to take driver's education before you can legally get behind a wheel, and yet, any idiot can have children with no training!

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  21. Oh you pushed a big ole button with me. I'll bet the idiot started counting too: "One, one in half, two, don't make me get to three, two in a half, ..........ad nauseum."

    BTW, I recognized the babe in the photo! :)
    V

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  22. Bill Cosby is the best. I love this line, "I brought you into this world......I can take you out! "

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  23. I know someone like that. She's oblivious to what's so obvious to everyone else.

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  24. I hope this was just a bad day for the mom. Otherwise, every day must kind of suck. This must be the hardest part about parenting --finding a reasonable place to draw the line. And then making the line significant enough to mean something.

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  25. we have a friend, who constantly posts to FB about her out of control twins, or the teenager who actually hit mom when mom said something the teen didn't like. Am sure she's been hanging out, counting, for years...doesn't see what's happening at all.

    don't guess it was "just a bad day" for mom at The Huntington...not with that kind of repertoire! waaaay too good at it.

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  26. Speaking of dogs v kids, when I ask my shep: What part of xxxx xxxx don't you understand? I realize his answer is "None of it, really."

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  27. Thank goodness she only says it once!

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  28. I heard a conversation much like this today. I imagined the mother wondering why her child doesn't obey her. Why should he, when there are no consequences to disobeying?

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  29. Ah... you said it quite a few time. Unless the kid's an idiot, they GOT it.

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  30. Such a serene photo along with angst-ridden text. I've heard my sisters have these types of conversations with their kids way too many times. I used to call it natural birth control.

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  31. "When Mommy says something she only says it once." Ha! That cracked me up.

    ...this wasn't some latent memory of your own childhood, by any chance, was it....?

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  32. No, Carolynn. As I recall, negotiations of any sort never occurred at my house. But I do remember refusing this and that, damn the consequences.

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  33. So funny. The "well, alright, you can play but I'm leaving you..." ploy always worked with my little brother, but then our baby sister came along and we could walk away for miles and she wouldn't come after us. She'd just wander around on her own and we would end up being the ones scurrying around looking for her! She totally knew what we were up to ;-D

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  34. Motherhood has taken away my capacity to judge other moms. There is no accounting for what lack of sleep, finicky eaters, disrespect, drudgery, endless smile-and-nod playdates and complete loss of self will do to a person. At some point you just want to take the latest hardcover parenting book by the latest child expert and smash yourself about the head until you are unconcious.

    I shudder to think what people have overheard from me. Something like this post, only it was more like "GET OUT OF THE FUCKING CAR NOW!!!"

    It's not moms like this who scare me. It's the calm ones. I always wonder what they're going to be like when they finally snap.

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