Hurdy-gurdy Kid Herding

When fed, watered, and well-rested my children are well-behaved. And compared to some children, even when not all of the above, they don't do too badly.

This morning I took them both to a children's musical event where a local public radio personality (emphasis on "personality") was showcasing many different instruments, from a clarinet to a hurdy-gurdy, which drones like a bagpipe and, with George Sand's likeness carved in its neck, looks like more like a ship than a instrument. Little Lady sat there like, well, a little lady, taking it all in. Tator Tot also stayed in his chair, clapping to the beat, until...

About 20 minutes into the presentation, the door opened and in bounced a small boy of about four, maybe five. He ran straight up to the front, inches from the musicians and began clapping, jumping, talking, even burping. Tator, who, although much younger than this newcomer, was of equal height and saw him as a playmate. Up gets Tator and the two of them begin jumping around. Being the conscientious parent that I am I urged Tator to sit on the floor and stay quiet so he could listen to the music.

Before you judge me as an over-bearing, fun-squelching mother, let me explain that, although this was a "children's program," it wasn't structured for the youngest audience; at one point the co-presenter even asked both boys to sit and "make your body still." Tator did comply, that is until the other boy resumed his overly-excited behavior. Again I had to remind him to sit and look at the instruments. I was hoping the other mother would also manage her child, or at least ask him to stop burping so loudly, for gawd's sake! I thought she must see my discomfort and the influence her child was having on mine. But she didn't move a muscle or even hiss a shhh.

When I had to tell Tator to sit still again my smart little guy pointed out that "his friend" was jumping. Errrr, well... I whispered that we don't run around in public places and, oh look, that instrument looks like a boat! Trying to corral a two-year old is hard enough, I don't need some other child (an older child, no less) leading him astray.

What is wrong with some parents? Are these the same parents who allow their children as much free reign in a restaurant as in a playground? The ones who never teach the appropriate times for silence or stillness? Please, thank you, excuse me? Where is the personal responsibility, the respect for others?

I hold very high standards for my children when it comes to respect and manners; Little Lady did me proud today, and truth be told, Tator did too. He didn't throw a fit when I asked him to sit or even when I pulled him onto my lap. He listened, he clapped (and jumped) in time to the music, and never raised his voice (other than to ask "time to go?" after every song for the last 15 minutes). I just wish all children were as good as mine...

And this is where I laugh heartily and fall off my high horse. (label:kids)

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