Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Letter to the Beleaguered Mother at Dave and Buster's

I saw you today at Dave and Buster's with your little son who was delightful. Maybe you were having a bad day? Maybe this delightful little one had been too delightful for you today and yesterday and the day before? Because in the course of 10 minutes, all I heard you do was scream his name and say, "No!" "No!", when he picked up the ball and started bouncing it (He has quite a dribble! NBA take note.) "No!", when he picked up the bright red stuffed bulldog (after I did) and I saw a smile spread across his face. After seeing your interaction with him, I thought he had the right idea when he took the bulldog and ran for the door to get away. I wanted to join him.

I tried to catch your eye and wanted to engage you with how truly charming your little son was. You were having none of it and ignored me. I didn't take it personally because I figured that if you weren't engaging your own son there is no reason why you would want to engage with me.

Here's what I wished I could have said to you: I'm sure you are a good Mom, but don't forget that your child is two (or two-and-a-half, at most). He should be bouncing balls and playing with stuffed animals -- it's practically part of his genetic destiny at this age. And for God's sake -- You're at Dave and Buster's, not The White House! Lighten up! It's OK! Try to put aside your humorless mood and explore the world with your son, or at least encourage him to do that.

One other thing while I'm on the subject: You have a typically developing child. Embrace that and appreciate that your curious young son has the world at his feet and he has the instincts to explore that world and initiate contact with it. Don't take that for granted. You will probably not have to take him to a speech therapist or a sensory therapist, or teach him how to play with blocks. In other words, and I say this with tremendous respect as the mother of a young man with special needs, count your blessings and the blessings that God has given your child. Don't ever take his natural curiosity and interest in you and the world for granted. (I may have said that already.)

Smile. Take a deep breath. And let your son experience the world. He has plenty of time to be president later. Right now, he just wants to play. And he wants you to play with him.

Experienced Mom


  1. Oh, I so love this message! I hope some "disconnected mom" reads this and sees herself.
    They are small for such a short time and there are so many rules to learn and lessons that must be taught, but play time is just as valuable!
    Excellent! ♥

    1. Thanks, Jo! The time flies...goes too fast!..

  2. Lovely story, but... a badly behave kid can be a pain, your perception may not be the same as the mother's - who's to know.

    1. You're right -- and we've all had our days as parents. Me included!