15 April 2010

Parents, What Say You? Volume 3

I was at a coffeehouse that has one bathroom. I went over by the door and discovered that someone was using the bathroom and that there was a cute little serious-faced blond boy of about 8 years waiting before me.

I gave him a smile and we stood there and waited and waited. The person finally came out.

He went in and I waited and waited. He took forever.

When he came out, I feared the Stench from Hell, because I knew no boy ever takes that long to pee.

What I saw amazed me, though. The little stinker had pulled out a long, long strand of paper towels, leaving it attached to the dispenser, and had tied the rope of towels in a knot through the toilet paper dispenser, blocking the toilet.

It was bizarre. He knew I was waiting. He knew I would know who did it. And yet he made this weird barrier? art project? whatever.

I decided to bust him. I walked out, went to him - he wasn't standing near anyone - leaned over and asked quietly "Why did you do that?" He didn't answer, but his mom was nearby and she asked me "What is the problem?"

I said "You have to see this," and took her to see what he had done.

I was kind of chuckling and she was puzzled but took it well, gently leading the kid off while asking "What is up, buddy? Why did you do that?"

I never heard the answer.

So, parents, what say you?
1. Should I have busted him on his behavior at all?
2. Have your kids ever done anything like that?
3. What do you think was up?


Loralee Choate said...

1. Yup. You weren't an accusing ass but I would want to know if my kid had made a mess in the bathroom and kept someone waiting in a rude fashion.

2. Not in public (thank god)

3. He is an 8-year-old boy. It is untold the number of weirdo things they come up with.


Redneck Mommy said...

I'd have busted the punk. Creepy little little bathroom artist.

Some people's children, I tell ya.

Devra said...

1. I'm cool with anyone busting my kid for uncool behavior. I'm fine with the village model. I remember as a kid being busted by grownups, and boy did that make me sit up and fly straight.

2. Neither of my kids have done anything like that. But I can't promise they won't in the future. It could happen in college.

3. At 8 I doubt it occurred to him that you were going into the bathroom. Sure he saw you in line, but he's not going to put it all together like that. 8 year olds tend to live i the moment. And in that moment, he was roping off the imaginary crime scene where no doubt an imaginary goldfish had met his demise.

angel apologist said...

Compared to what an 8 year old boy who shares some DNA with me did today, that was nothing.

mayberry said...

1. Yes, you should have busted him, and it sounds like you handled it perfectly.

2. No, but give them time.

3. Who. the. hell. knows.

My question is, did the mom make the kid go back and clean it up? Because that's what I would have done.

Sarah, Goon Squad Sarah said...

1. Absolutely.

2. Not yet.

3. He is an 8 year old boy. They are all crazy.

barbra said...

You reacted perfectly. If it were my kid, I would totally have wanted you to do exactly what you did. I want my kids to know (and learn to be aware) that their actions affect other people in this world. Too many adults only think of themselves these days!

lagata said...

Yes, you did the right thing. I think you handled it perfectly. I'm surprised that the Mom didn't make him go clean it.

I have 2 boys - to my knowledge they never did anything like this - but then - maybe I just didn't hear about it.

Why he did it - Boys are weird - they do very odd and strange things.

Working Girl said...

I agree with Devra on one and three. And it's because I can answer yes to #2. My boys did some odd things, some of them very inconvenient for adults. There were consequences for them, but I never believed the acts to be mean spirited in any way. Just part of the growing up process -- and it's good you told his mom, so she can guide his behavior in someother direction.

Mary P (Barnmaven) said...

I think you handled it incredibly well. You made sure his mom knew what he'd done, but you injected some humor into it. My kids don't go to the bathroom alone in public places yet, but when they are older they will, and if my kid had done something like that, I'd want to know about it. And I'd really appreciate if someone handled it just the way that you did.

geegee said...

If my kid had done this, I would have wanted to know, and I would have appreciated the way that you handled it.

So far as I know, neither of my children have done anything like this.

As to #3, I completely agree with Devra. There was some sort of art installation, imaginary play, recreating something he saw on TV thing going on there.

well read hostess said...

I totally agree with what you did, and I hope that I would have handled it so well. That said, I totally cringed when I read it b/c I can imagine being the mom of the 8 year old...my eight year old is pretty good, but there's no telling what my six year old is going to come up with!

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Mr Lady said...

8 year olds don't think beyond their own nose. He so did not factor you waiting into his equation. Paper towels are freaking irresistable to an 8 year old, that's all.

However, they only learn to see past their nose by people pointing out the rest of the world to them. You did good.

He wasn't being malicious, and you were nice, but you made your point. He MIGHT think twice the next time, might not, but he'll remember the nice lady who sort of chuckled at him that one time. And maybe not block the toilet for someone else.

Mr Lady said...

Also, it probably WAS my kid. :)

Anonymous said...

School bus driver/school custodian/lunch lady checking in... You will never know what goes through the mind of a little kid. The things I see every day just make me shake my head - and laugh. I have to laugh because if not the poop fingerpainting and the booger art will haunt my dreams. Little monsters! FYI...wouldn't trade my job for any other in the world... LOVE IT.

Anonymous said...

I used to run school-age care programs, and we would come across things like this on a regular basis. One time a substitute teacher busted two 8 year-old boys in the bathroom who were dumping legos in the toilet & trying to flush it. That substitute teacher just so happened to also be the mom of one of those boys, and as she said she wouldn't have believed her son would be involved with something like that if she didn't see it herself. It is true, 8 year-old boys are all crazy.

Kizz said...

I think posing your busting as a question like that was brilliant. It brought attention to the action without making anyone defensive. Too bad you didn't hear the answer, though.

Erika Jurney said...

My oldest boy is 8, and they're just weird. Who the hell knows why they do anything. The mom should have had him clean it up, though.

Jessica said...

Little boys are from another planet entirely. My step-son is only 4, so he hasn't done anything like this - yet. I am positive he will. I think anything at all bathroom and or "weiner" related is simply crack to a boy - or a grown man, for that matter. The other day I was getting him dressed after his bath and he looked down, bent forward, and yelled, "I can see my balls!" And I thought: "You are your father's son."

Sounds like you handled it great. And I would love to know his rationale - must have been good!

Suzanne said...

Once again I am forced to ask why more people aren't like you. If they were, I would like the world a lot more. Just sayin'...

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