Home > City mama, motherhood > Snot-nosed brat

Snot-nosed brat

Not mine, for once.

I was having lunch today in Harvard Sq. with The Husband and The Child. We were well dressed and eating at a v. casual cafe with outdoor seating and plastic tables. The Child was quiet and happy and sat fairly still. The Husband and I talked about various topics but they were all largely benign — the fact that biotech is outstripping ethics, what route we were going to take to my mother’s house tomorrow, whether The Child prefers turkey or cheese.

There was a trio of sisters sitting near us. One in her mid-20s (i’d guess) and one in her early teens and one in her v. early teens/tweens. The middle one — 14 or 15 years old I’d guess, and wearing shorts that covered less than my husband’s boxers — seemed annoyed by us. She kept turning around in her chair to shoot looks at us/me. Often she would whisper something to one of her sisters (ostentatiously whisper, with her hand cupped around her mouth) and then shoot a look back over her shoulder.

At one point, her father arrived and she made very agitated gestures towards us, hissed frantically at him, and then, when he made “calm down” noises, she got up abruptly and left the tables.

Now, mostly I ignored her. I did offer my most brilliant smile to her, several times, which I often find to be disarming to people. But she persisted right up until her whole party left, at which time she stopped, turned, gave us a look, and marched out with all the high dudgeon that only a 14 year old can muster.

I don’t particularly care. That’s a lie — I’m taking the time to blog about it — clearly it bugged me. But it bugged me because I can’t figure out why she was so dead set against us. I did nurse The Child, once, briefly, and discretely, when we first arrived, but after that she simply sat in a chair and ate her sandwich — albeit in a messy, todderly way. She was quiet and didn’t fuss or cry. We talked to her (which often coincided with a glare) but it was really normal stuff. “Did you want more turkey, sweetie? Or cheese?” “Please don’t take your shoes off at the table.” “Look at the birdie! It’s a sparrow! Can you say sparrow?” (She can!)

It’s also entirely possible that I’m making this all up in my head. That’s what really bugs me — that I’m so defensive about everything that I could be interpreting it totally wrong. She could just have been a teenager in high melodrama-mode making a fuss about her sister’s wedding (I overheard them talking) and having her attention grabbed by the adorable toddler. I don’t think so, but I’m not sure. And I’m not used to being unsure.

Of course, the impolite part of my brain, the part that I would never let out, wanted to march up to her and say, “Hi! My name is J-. What’s your problem?”

Categories: City mama, motherhood
  1. PrettyMommy
    May 26, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Hmmm, interesting. I too would have assumed that she had a problem with me, I am paranoid that way!

  2. May 26, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    Man, I totally want to know what she was mad about. Silly 14 year olds. I’m SO not looking forward to that stage.

  3. Raise Hell
    May 27, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Whisper loudly. “Oh my god honey! That girls shorts cover less than your underwear!?!

    Screw the GOP, people like that 14yr old can kiss MY ass. I am SOOO into passive aggressive strategies.

  4. May 27, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    Ugh. Those kinds of experiences can really stick with me… could have been the nursing freaked her out? My son’s that age and he and his friends have a newfound outrage about modesty… bordering on puritanical.

  5. karriew
    May 28, 2007 at 11:57 am

    I’d guess it was the boob juice too, but you’re right, it could have been anything with a kid that age. Fuck her.

  6. May 29, 2007 at 3:04 am

    I’m telling you, this happens to great moms all the time! Check out my blog for PLENTY of examples!


  7. May 30, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Hi. I’m Janet. I’m here from One Weird Mother’s Site…I love the name of your blog…and this post is great. I have been there..worried that myself and my kid at a restaurant are bugging others…But then I quickly get over it and say F ’em…We have every right to be there as they do..I’m gonna go out on a limb though and assume that the girl was just a snotty brat-face. Really with nothing against you at all…Girls can really be bratty…I know..mine is getting that way fast.

    Again, nice to ‘meet’ you!

  8. bianca bean
    June 28, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    I was just dealing with this situation yesterday while at breakfast with some other mothers and babes, and it was certainly not the first time. I am a loon about it. I do often ask “do you need something?” The overt hostility leveled at mothers and children in public spaces is completly fucking enraging.

  9. bianca bean
    June 29, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    P.S. I specifically meant while breastfeeding. Oh, also when you need someone to move their chair so you can get by in a stroller, your baby is singing too loudly, etc.

  10. keaw
    July 4, 2007 at 1:11 am

    Found your blog, read what happened – after surviving the completely illogical adolescent behaviours of neurotic identical twin girls (now in university thank God!!) I can only say that there probably was not much reason for her behaviour – maybe you just look like someone she doesn’t like, or you remind her of her mother (seeing as you are a mother), a person she hates lividly at this age!
    I now believe that all girls that age have a type of age-related brain damage you hope will heal on its own, without psychoparmaceuticals – and looking back on my own youth – they will lose all memory of this disfunction by the time they’re 28. By then they will most likely only remember having been model teenagers.

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