Friday, August 31, 2012

Call Me Mr. Entitled, Maybe

According to the Free Online Dictionary, entitled is defined as: "qualified for or allowed or worthy of being chosen". I define it as: I've got two kids, you've got none, so get out of my way. That's right, I said it.

Some folks refer to the Big Guy and Taz as "precious cargo", I just think they are more important in the grand scheme of things than your pug or your conversation on the phone with your bro's or your girls. Maybe that makes you hate me a little bit. Maybe it makes you like me just a little bit more. But this disposition metamorphosis was not my own doing well...maybe just a little bit).  The general publics lack of manners is what forced my hand to want to run your stupid Toms over with my stroller as you decide to give me the least amount of room possible to pass on the sidewalk.  It is the same reason I choose to bump you with my camera bag, as you try to force yourself by me on the airplane, as I am trying to get my kids into their seats.  And it is the reason I cuss you out as you speed by me and my kids in the grocery store parking lot (hope you got home and choked on that box of Twinkies...and FYI Mustangs are for old men and strippers, you dope).

But like Tupac said: "I ain't mad atcha".

I used to be you.  I used to be a selfish, arrogant and ignorant d-bag.  I can hear a few people out there saying "used to be?". 

Five years ago, on the flight back from a vacation with the Mrs to New Zealand, there was the loudest and most inconsolable screaming infant I had ever heard.  I don't know how old he was, I am guessing somewhere around a year, but I do know how irritated I was to have have to listen to it.  To the dad's credit, he was walking his son up and down the aisles of the plane like he was lapping a track.  The result was like someone turning the volume up and down as if fading in or out a song, a really horrible, terrible, no good, very bad song.  While I felt bad for the guy, I felt worse for me.  The flight from Auckland to LA is 14 hours.  Keeping yourself entertained during this time is hard enough let alone blocking out the roving blow horn.  To make matters worse, I had brought 2 Ambiens on the trip thinking I would take one on the way out (and I did, and it was awesome), but I hadn't counted on the Mrs wanting the other one for the flight out as well.  So I was left to my own devices for the trip home.  I thought to myself, and even shared with the Mrs, what a schmuck this guy was for bringing his kid half way across the world at that age.  Almost as if to say he had no right to do so.  Like I said, I was a d-bag. 

But now I have kids.  I'm sorry. To say the least, I get it now.  

Just a few days ago, I flew solo with the Big Guy and Taz from San Diego to Charleston to visit my mom and begin our official move back to being east coasters.  The Taz was a complete nightmare for the flight from San Diego to Atlanta.  We had ten minute periods of fun or silence mixed with 30 minute slots of intolerable screaming and crying.  I have no idea if he was having ear issues, if he was over tired or if he simply wanted off that airplane...or perhaps all three.

My bag of diversionary tactics and tricks has certainly increased in the past three years.  Yet the Taz left me out of ideas within the first hour and a half.  The Big Guy was immersed in episodes of Handy Manny on the iPad, he was fine...almost comatose even.  From games of peek-a-boo, to reading, to playing with the snack menu, to walking him around, to letting him crawl in front of me and eat food off the ground (which he had dropped, this was not random debris from previous passengers - though if eating other peoples snack droppings calmed him down, then I was all for it) and feeding bottles of formula to him; the Taz simply wasn't having it.

Some would call this karma.

I had reached my stress threshold.  I got to the point of simply letting him cry.  I no longer cared.  I saw other people looking at me and frankly was just waiting for someone to make a comment so I could unleash a little pent up frustration on someones snarky remarks.  It never happened.  As a matter of fact, the folks around me gave me a small round of applause upon landing, telling what an amazing job I had done.  Who?  Me?  We made it to our destination and I didn't leave either of my kids stranded in Atlanta alone, no matter how much I thought about it.

So I've reached this point in my life as a father, particularly as a stay at home Dad.  It is a feeling of entitlement.  That I deserve a little more space, time or understanding.  That when I am walking with my boys, that I have the right away.  That when I am pushing my stroller (either the duallie or the single), that you should give me some room and not the two inches next to the street curb (let's not pretend that you don't see me, I have two kids and a bright red or orange see me just fine).  That when I am buckling my kids into their seats on the plane, that you give me a little more time to do so without the unnecessary huffing or shoving just so that you can hurry up and wait.  That when you park next to a car, particularly mine, you park like a human being and give me room (and six inches of door space is not room).  That when we are at a restaurant and my kids are laughing and talking, that you don't passively-aggressively and cowardly yell out "kids should be seen, not heard" then ducking undercover so no one see it was you.  And when I am running down the road with my kids in the duallie, because there is no sidewalk, drive a little slower and give me some room (wherever it is you have to be, you don't have to be there now and if you do, then you're already late so what's three more seconds?).

What I'm saying is give me a break and give me some space, because I'm working here.  Don't be a d-bag.  And someday when you have your own kids or nephews or nieces, then you'll understand too.  You'll feel entitled to a little more than average and I hope you get it.           


  1. Please stay on this page. This is a lovely post. I am glad to read your post.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.