Monday, April 06, 2009

My Baby

Some loser on a train this weekend asked me if my son had "cleft palate."

"No," I said.

"Oh, well my mom has cleft palate and she has a lisp like him," he offered.

"He just has a lisp," I said.

We were on our way to the door. Jonah had been talking my ear off for most of our two-hour ride into Seattle. Because he's six, he talks loud enough for everyone to hear. And because he's...eccentric and totally adorable, folks respond to him. Usually people say nice things like, "My, what an inquisitive mind he has!" or, "He has so much to say!" or, "You've got a very special little boy." Most of the time my heart swells with warmth at how he draws people in.

No one's ever offered the observation that he sounds like the bones in his face didn't grow together. Even though the guy didn't say, "Gosh, your kid seems kinda retarded," I flinched at the insinuation that sometime, somewhere, something had gone awry.

It must be said that our friend with the cleft-palate mom had been offending me for the past hour by drinking and making his nine-year-old daughter give him kisses. Around men like that, my victimized inner child rises up with breath of fire and weapons of mass destruction. I truly felt if I'd had the chance I would've shoved this fellow off the moving train and the world would've been the better for it.

Unfortunately, he was seated comfortably nowhere near the door. I kept walking.

It's hard to say of this situation what hooked me more: the way the man behaved towards his daughter, or his thoughtless comment about Jonah - seeing that Jonah does have some kind of developmental issue and I'm trying to get used to that fact.

Maybe I've just had a bad month.

Has anyone ever said something about your kid that made you grow horns?


robinwehl said...

Jonah is a sweet, sweet boy.
He is kind, funny and engaging.
Screw that guy on the train.
I hope he gets hit in the head by a loaf of bread falling from the sky.

Anonymous said...

Well that settles it...not trains for me!!!
Do you remember my child the first 3 years of her life? Yeah I have gotten lots of comments about her bahavior back in those days...I would kick any horned animals ass with the horns I grew!
That guys was/is an idiot..and yes gross that he kept making his daughter kiss him...what is up with that??????????
My latest one was Lily's teacher wondered if maybe Lily's love tank wasn't full enough!

susie said...

She did not say that! Wow. How did you respond?

Anonymous said...

I told her that we do everything we can to fill her fucking tank! We happen to have 3 kids that need their tanks filled and we do our best! I was pretty shocked though!i was pretty pissed for a few days but I am over it...I actually think she needs to be filling Lily's tank a little. Lily has a lot to say every day and her teacher finds that annoying...which is really annoying considering she is in Kindergarten! I think a lot of kids like to talk alot at that age..doesn't mean we don't listen to them...whatever

susie said...

Actually I don't listen sometimes. I go through periods where I JUST...CANNOT...RESPOND to all the talking. No matter how much I know it nourishes their soul and sense of being loved.

The train, by the way, was pretty cool with one kid. He loves trains, and there's so much to do and see. You go get snacks, you tour the other cars, you watch a's good stuff.

Bha Dass said...

I don't have kids, but I understand your reaction perfectly. Especially the bit about the drinking and making the poor nine year old kiss him. GROSS. I once saw a guy at a party who was lubricated and trying to engage a four-year old by talking too loud, pushing the boy to play, and dragging him around pointing to things the kid had no interest in. It was not my kid, not my party, so I didn't say anything at the time, but holy SHIT did I get angry about it. My man didn't understand why I reacted so vehemently, but then, he never had a drunk accost him at a young age. The scary, loud voice. The smell. ((shiver))

Don't let this dipshit get to you. He was obviously trying to connect in some weird way. No reflection on your sprout, really. Just another sad, sad man making an ass out of himself on a train.

Anonymous said...

One of the schools we applied to commented on K that, "We noticed he likes to think of himself as a girl. Not that anything is wrong with that. There is room for everyone here." I was angry that they gave my son a label. Pink is his favorite color so he was wearing pink sweats and he played with the girls instead of the rowdy loud boys. Gee, do you blame him? It took a lot of my self control to let her finish saying her little accepting speech for me to gently tell her that no, he doesn't think of himself as a girl, he just loves all things beautiful and appreciates the gentle quiet imaginative play that girls engage in rather than the loud raucous star wars play that some boys love. I didn't appreciate someone putting their label or judgment on my kid. How about we just stick with non-judgmental sharing like, "I noticed blah blah blah. Could you tell me more about it?"

So sorry that you had to deal with such an asshole on the train. Otherwise, sounds like a lovely trip to take together! :) -V