Turn the other cheek?


As a parent it’s pretty inevitable that one day your child will try to hit you. You can try to teach them hitting is wrong and control their exposure to other kids hitting. Hell, you can keep them locked in a room watching Sesame Street their whole lives and still somehow it will happen. You can only pray it doesn’t happen in a crowded restaurant full of your friends …


            Last Saturday night we went to the local Beer Garden. We had heard it was kid friendly as were happily surprised when we got there and saw a wide-open room with kids running around. For most people that sounds like a nightmare but to us it sounded like a pretty relaxing night out at dinner. The place was very casual with long tables that anyone could sit at, think chic cafeteria.
            We met up with a group of friends there are were having a great time. Ali was playing with other kids and we were actually able to eat for a change. Towards the end of the evening Ali started to get cranky. I decided we should order her some dessert and then head out. Ali was eating her ice cream when she started to get angry that she couldn’t get the whole scoop onto the spoon. I knew this was a bad sign, when a baby is mad at ice cream it’s time to go. So I picked her up and she started a tantrum. In her squeals and flails it happened … she smacked me right across the face in the middle of the cafeteria. Everyone at my table gasped. My jaw dropped. I was mortified, not only was my child acting embarrassing but also now she assaulted me in public.
            Normally when someone gets smacked across the face their first reaction may be to cock the arm and smack right back, maybe even kick them in the shins or perhaps hang them upside down by their ankles an throw them on the table. This wasn’t just another person this was my darling two year old who just bitch slapped me in public. I just stood in shock. I knew I couldn’t hit her back that would just teach her that hitting is an acceptable form of communication, which would have exacerbated the situation. Everyone was still starting at me, she was still crying and I probably could have shed a few tears since she hit me pretty hard. I decided to remove her from the room. I took her aside, grabbed her by the face and sternly (and extremely angrily) explained that you can’t hit and she must apologize to mommy right now. In between her sobs she said “sorry mommy … Ice Cream?” No Ali there will not be ice cream!
            Maybe I should have hit her back, but I'm comfortable with how I handled the situation. I’m pretty sure she didn’t hit me on purpose; she usually has this side-to-side flail when she has a tantrum. I think my face was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It’s safe to say Ali won’t be going out to eat with the group for a while.