So, being that I'm not a mom, you might think I have zero tolerance for screaming babies and runny-nosed children. While they both freak me out from time to time, that's not the case. I love children and babies. No doubt part of that love comes from the fact that I can walk away as soon as I spot rough waters. Smelly diaper? Back to mom. Giving your sister a beat down with a wiffle ball bat? I'll go get your dad. And when I see a kid that I'm not acquainted with doing something slightly (or seriously) inappropriate, I mostly shrug it off thinking (and truly believing) that kids will be kids.
Recently I had a surprising need to severely reprimand a tweenage girl. I'm strolling down the sidewalk, minding my own non-mother business, and I notice three girls (probably 12-13 years old) in a storm of giggles walking about 20 feet ahead. One of the pack stops in front of a brownstone, reaches over the iron gate that separates a private patio from the sidewalk and snaps off the bloom of a large sunflower. I watch as she shows the other two, twirls it between her fingers and they all saunter away.
|Pretty non-snatched sunflowers.|
I saw red. I literally (read: not literally, just in my head) stopped in my tracks, folded my arms across my chest, and yelled, "Young lady, get back here this instant." What I know about sunflowers is that they are rare in my Brooklyn neighborhood, take a long time to grow, and sell for about $9.99 each at the bodega on the corner. This little brat had just committed petit larceny. She was completely unashamed of the fiscal (ten dollars) and personal (a serious green thumb) value that she had ripped off from a complete stranger. Did I mention that the sunflower she stole was the only one of a long row that had bloomed? Yeah.
Don't worry, the story doesn't end with me bum rushing the girl, tackling her skinny ass and returning the sunflower to its rightful owner. I think that would have qualified as menacing, assaultive and crazy on my part. The story does end with me coming to my senses and realizing that the girl was not a hardened criminal, but more likely just thoughtless...like most tweenagers.
As I continued walking, I said a little prayer that my future mothering style includes more moments of sensible analysis and less moments of bum rushing crazy.