Sunday, May 3, 2009

People on the Streets of New York

Gotta love this city. With the weather doing its best to get warm and giving us some fabulous days after the most awful winter, the people of New York have been taking to the streets and parks by the masses. If you hate crowds you would not have like Central Park last weekend when it was in the 90's. People were literally walking around half naked. A friend said she saw a lady playing duck-duck-goose topless. How's that for a visual?

I like this picture because you can't tell what I'm doing to Toby. Is it a kind and sweet, I love you little boy picture, or an if you do that one more time we're going home, do you understand? kind of picture. Or did I just throw the football at his eye and he was trying to be tough while I made sure he could see? Take a gander.

Anyway, we saw plenty of craziness there and loved every minute of it. Also had a number of celebrity sightings this week, which are always fun! Felicity Huffman (Desperate Housewives) and her husband William Macy ran by me in the park as I stood there with this awful smile, gawking at them. So lame.
And this other dude from Desperate Housewives and a number of other things, Roger Bart, I think he lives right by us cause he was just outside talking on the phone. And then some other actress at Whole Foods but I don't know her name. Like I said, always fun!

And because New York has all kinds of people living here we also had to put up with some who should just continue to stay inside year round. Like the lovely lady who felt the need to come up to me on the corner and ask me if I was the babysitter or the Mother.

When I responded, "The Mother," she rolled her eyes and said, "Oh boy!" Who does that?

When I asked her if she had something to say to me she said, "Well I just hope these children are safe with you as the Mother."

After fighting back my initial reaction which was to abandon my stroller and tackle this woman in the middle of the crosswalk, I gave her a small piece of my mind, but not enough as I was cut short by having to follow after the boys instead of go in her same path. And for the rest of the day, and even into the week, I just kept thinking of the nerve and the meanness of this woman.

You're probably thinking that my boys must have been jumping off their bunk beds in public or speeding down the hill in the park without helmets or something totally reckless that I would "never" let them do. But they weren't. They were being abnormally good and safe and even had their helmets on. They hadn't cut her off or anything so the fact that she felt the need to come warn me of my parenting skills was totally unnecessary. Maybe on another occasion she could have been justified-but not this time.

So here's the deal. It bothered me so much because I'm getting a little fed up with people judging and feeling the need to say something. And when they do say something I want to go into this long explanation of how I know my children's capabilities, we do this all the time, they're very agile, mind your business, just because you raised pansies..., yadayadayada. But I don't have the time when I'm running down the sidewalk or whatever. So I need a good one liner that I can throw out there, that doesn't make me look out of control, is not too offensive (no profanity Dad), but gets my point across. Because, I'm sorry, these people just need to be put in check. Unless my kid is about to die--mind your own business people!!!

The wound was reopened today when I read my friend Katie's blog about another unpleasant encounter of someone shushing her daughter. I need a way to shush these bad-mannered people who forget or who have never known what it's like to raise little kids without taking all the fun out of it. So give me something great to say so I don't have to go a week thinking about what I should've said to that nasty old lady.

And yes, I know, this is SO NOT WJWD.


Angi said...

First of all I love the nekid pics. And as for that lady uuugghh I totally know how you feel. After my "incident" I thought and thought about it and I decided that if it happened again I would just say "you don't know what you're talking about" in a very condescending and stuck up tone. Or something to that effect to try to make them feel as stupid as they're trying to make me feel.

Randall suggests that you should either go with your fist instinct or "look them dead in the eye and start laughing"

All of this is of course easy to say because those situations always catch you by surprise and are highly inflamatory...we just have to be prepared to combat the nosy bittys.

Kimberly said...

Okay, I've been upset about this for hours so I'm going to vent to you because I think you'll understand. Jason has been gone since Friday morning. I spent 3 miserable hours recently a tired and extremely cranky 1-year-old at church this morning. This afternoon we drove in the garage from church and Ethan asked if he could walk across the street to look at the geese. I said okay, but to come right back. I'm in the kitchen trying to get Colin some lunch so I can put him to bed, when I realize Colin has disappeared and that Ethan left the garage door open. This is probably over a 3-min period. I go outside to find Ethan chasing the geese down the MIDDLE of the street a half block from our house and Colin CRAWLING in the middle of the street in front of our house.

The worst part is, this young guy has parked his car by Ethan and is out walking towards my kids. He yells, "Are these your kids???" I said, "Yes." And he says in this totally disgusted voice, "Running down the middle of the street?" I just said, "Apparently," and picked Colin up and called Ethan back. So Ethan yells, "Look at the stick I found, Mom!" (It's as tall as he is and he's very excited.) And the guy says, "Here, I'll take that." And takes is away from him and throws it in the pond in disgust. What a JERK.

Should my kids have been doing that? No. Ethan knows better and NEVER has done anything so reckless before. Colin shouldn't be outside by himself, obviously, because he's always reckless. Does this happen on a regular basis? No. Does it help to make me feel like the world's most neglectful mother? No. It just ruined my day. I've been stewing about the fact that I couldn't even defend myself, when in reality there are some actually horrible mothers out there, and I'm not one of them!!

Why do people feel the need to be so vocal about their judgment? Seriously???

Kimberly said...

P.S. Sorry about the longest comment I've ever left on any blog ever. Obviously I'm worked up about this topic.

P.P.S. You look great!!!

Brooke said...

I'm going with... you hit Toby in the face with the football:) Good thing he's so tough!

For mean people- just throw back... they're still here and happy, aren't they. I also like the idea of laughing at them... jerks... what do they know.

adamdickson said...

How about simply, "Please get a life so that you will kindly stay out of mine".

Come back to Cali they can have New York.

Janelle said...

How about "I'm a better mother than you had. At least I've taught my children manners."

Or you could just punch her in the nose.

I'm pulling for the second option.

Alan Dickson said...

Reminds me of the time a woman in a store overheard that I was buying a gift for my newborn child and asked if it was our first. When I said it was our fifth, she became quite upset and asked me if I didn't know about birth control. I assured her I did and that it was too bad her parents didn't.

I liked Janelle's comment, but I think I would go with "If I want your opinion, I'll slap it out of you."

Burnett Family said...

What total jerks! Outrageous. I don't know what I would say. I like the "Get a life so you can stay out of mine." But I think something sweet and pleasant would just throw them for a loop. Maybe a nice little wave and a "Have a nice day!"
I agree that you should just leave NY to those people and come back home:)

Andi said...

I refused to have kids while we still lived in NY. People were so mean and judging when I didn't have any. I don't think my self confidence could handle it. You're a fantastic mama! Your kids will always love you and think you're the coolest, most fun mother ever. These other ladies probably had sticks in the mud for moms. I'm dying over some of the other comments, they're awesome! I wish I was so quick-witted!

Davis said...

"I was just sitting here hoping a complete stranger would come and offer me her unsolicited opinion on a matter as personal as child-rearing."

kate said...

You and I are in the together Ash. Loved what you wrote on my blog about the whole situation and telling that Elizabeth chick where to shove it. By the way your hot. I think you need to keep the platnum look going. Let's talk about memorial weekend.

Casey said...

Wow Ash, good for you. Most of the comments I get are about my choice to be a stay at home Mom. I can't believe that people think it's ok to comment on other people lives so much! I mean, do they really think it will change what we do? It just makes me shake my head at them...

Casey said...

Ok, so I do have a few one liners for you. Use at will.

'Are you going for the rudest person in New York? There is no award for that you know'

or just simply ask 'Why are you talking to me? No really...why?'

The Potter Family said...

Oh my gosh these comments are so funny. It's such a good subject b/c I think every mom has run into it. And you stumble out some lame retort and spend the rest of the day stewing over what you should have said. When Aubree was a baby she was throwing a tantrum in her stroller at the mall and I thought I was being a great mom not getting mad and telling her I wouldn't let her out until she stopped crying. Some lady comes up to me and says,"Ya, well now the rest of us have to deal with it" I just looked at her and shook my head and made a shooing away gesture at her and that really pissed her off! She walked away muttering about how selfish our generation was. I thought (and wished I'd said), "selfish?? You're the one so worried about your ears being inconvenienced you try to make a young mom feel inadequete!" However another time recently I was pushing my son in a stroller outside the mall and some young girl is walking down the same sidewalk. She didn't have to move over or anything but the stroller got kind of close. Mind you I'm pregnant, ladened with bags and pushing a kid and she's walking by herself. I hear this "geez lady I'm WALKING here!" First of all I was pissed cause she called me lady and second of all I have to admit all that came out was an angry expletive. I couldn't help it, I'm pregnant. I'm going to practice some of these tips and unleash one the next time...and there WILL be a next time...

PapaRandy said...

I did some research for you and here is my offering:

“Are you on medication for your condition?” Shake your head sadly.

Pat the person on the shoulder and say: “It's obvious you are under stress. Is there anything I can do for you?”

Thank the person profusely for pointing out what's wrong with you and lay it on so thick until they get uncomfortable.

Smile and say: "Oh this is so great! You know I'm writing a book about rude people in NYC and would like to feature you on my cover! Can I get your contact information?

Rhonda Riley said...

Ann told me about this encounter but it was even more fun to read what you wrote...I'm betting this woman is a native. Whether she is a native New Yorker or just a 'native' looking for someone to devour is the pending question. I will leave for you to determine. Don't let the sorry little woman damper your 'Harris' mothering skills Ashley. Have a Happy Mother's Day ~ scooters rule (with helmets of course)...

The Riesenberg Family said...

Okay, so as a young mom here in San Diego, I here it a lot too. My opinion is that these people either resent the fact that they probably had bad parents, or are jealous that they are not parents themselves or wish that they had kids earlier too. They are angry about something that they want to make us angry too! I just think to myself "What a hag!" And think about all the reason that they are probably miserable and I feel a whole lot better!

Jade Dickson said...

haha I do the same thing. I never say anything and then continue thinking about what i should have said forever! thats what happened when my and my roommate forever ago got into a fight. It took me 2 months to stop thinking about all the mean comebacks i could have said!

Meagan said...

Ashley I'm so sorry I wish I would have been there with you :) You are an awesome mom the best! Next time just say "your a very mean old lady" :) Anyways people are always going to have an opinion but at least we can focus on what really matters and it's not in this world.... Hope you had a good mother's day! I miss ya and your cute boys. Tear it up in New York as long as those boys are happy and have good memories that's all that counts.

Cameron said...

Just ask her something offensive right back like how much she weighs. Then when she gets offended you say, "oh, I'm sorry. I guess it's none of my business."

Anna and Ryan said...

Hey there. I don't actually know you but I just had to post a comment because I think your blog is so funny!! (Actually I'm friends with Kim Harris and Saydi Shumway, so I'm not a total internet stalker)
Anyway, I'm a "native" New Yorker and honestly didn't understand what people meant when they said New Yorkers were rude until I went back with children. I think it's kids that bring out the crazy. I had a woman stop me on the street, literally tap me on the shoulder and pull me aside, to tell me that I was making her very nervous. Um...I'm sorry, how am I making you nervous??? I'm worried that your baby is going to fall out of that thing (my sling). What do you say to that? Well, OK, then look away, lady. He's not going to fall out but in any case it's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS!!! Sheesh. Anyway, I'm glad that all your weird encounters are so hilariously recounted here. It's pretty entertaining!

WinnFamily said...

I really wanted to visit you when we were in NY, but since we were there with a group of 15 and were there for like 2 1/2 days, I knew we wouldn't get time. It would've been so fun to hang out though, especially if I'd had my little boys with me.

Joe said...

How about:

"I think I am doing a great job raising them. In fact the oldest one just invented time travel and we are going back in time to give your mother an abortion."
"You better watch what you say lady, that one carries a gun."
"If I had any idea who the father was, I'd give them to him."
"Your face looks fat, you should do something about that."
"My mother taught me not to respond to obnoxious jerks and you..." then walk away.
Yell "Sick 'em!" and have your boys start tackling/biting whoever it is.

p.s. Your boys are flippin awesome.