Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Tortilla Incident: They Can Speak For Themselves, ya know?

Don't you just hate it when you're out somewhere and some random adult talks to you instead of your child? You know, your child who is perfectly old enough to speak for him or herself? I'm not talking about your toddler who only shouts out key words here and there like something akin to Garrett Morris's Closed Caption for the Hearing Impaired. I'm talking about your well-spoken 5 year old or your perfectly intelligent 7 year old. The ones that have been talking in full sentences and trying to avoid your annoying questions for at least 3 years. You know the ones. Those kids. The ones who can TALK.
I know that people mean well, but I truly don't understand why a person would look right over an alert, bright eyed child and ask a question about them, in front of them, to their parent.

This evening I was zonked and on dinner strike from my very very long day. We had to be out this evening so we decided to use some coupons that some friends had given us for a local establishment to help with crazy days that happen when you have a kid with leukemia. Now, this is a place that we've been to several times before. Hunter knows exactly what he wants to order. It's the same thing he orders any time we go to a "stand at the counter and order something sorta like Mexican food but not exactly" place... a chicken quesadilla with rice and tomatoes.

I had to use the restroom. While I was gone either Hunter or his dad told the guy what he would like to have. But I have a feeling that it was Hunter because his dad had walked off and the guy making the food later said to Hunter, "did you say that you'd like... blah blah blah." Anyway, the point was that I didn't place the order. I was peeing. Well, I come back to the counter and I stand behind Hunter. The guy looks at ME and says, "What kind of tortilla would he like?" I'm like, whoa! I am not involved with this. So I gestured with my eyes, chin, and hand to ask him. And he does. But he looks annoyed when he asks Hunter. Like I should have answered him.

What?
Why did I need to be the one to answer that question? Hunter, the one who is going to be eating the quesadilla, was standing right there. What's the deal?

I'm sure I have been guilty of this in my more ignorant past... BC. Before Children. I am sure that I have looked at a mom and asked her, "What grade is Billy in this year?" when Billy is standing there thinking, "You moron, I graduated from high school two years ago" or whatever. But it's just NOW... NOW that I have kids who are old enough to answer what kind of tortilla that they would like to have that I have come to realize how... well... disrespectful adults are being to children when they do this.

As I'm standing there waiting... and waiting... and waiting... (NEVER order the fish tacos when you are in a hurry... I'm just sayin'), I started to think about what we shall now refer to as the tortilla incident and I was suddenly struck with a bit of guilt.

I remembered another incident that happened to us on Saturday. We were at a "function" (and if you know us and you read my blog closely you will know what function because we've only been to one lately). The function was a type of pot luck. As we were leaving, as kindly faced man looked down at Hunter and said, "Would you like to take a package of cookies home with you?"

Now, let me defend myself.
1. Hunter had just stuffed his face with hot dogs and nearly an entire bag of bbq potato chips. The last thing he needed was a whole package of overly processed and sugary cookies to bring home with him.
2. Hunter didn't answer.

When Hunter didn't answer, I politely said, "No, thank you." I really did wait to see if he was going to answer. But I didn't look at him. I didn't make eye contact. I didn't bother to see if there was any part of him that really wanted those cookies. I jumped on the opportunity to take control of the situation and prevent my home from cookie invasion.

The man said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I should have asked you."
My first thought was, "Hell yes, you should have asked me."

So why was that man wrong and then the young man at the restaurant also wrong?
What is wrong with me?
What is wrong with society?

Why was a tortilla something that Hunter could decide about but cookies were not?

Don't get me wrong, hypothetically, had Hunter accepted the cookies, I am pretty sure I would have "allowed" it. I would have probably needed to take a few deep breaths. And I might have even given him my best Liz Lemon Judgmental Badger Face but I probably would have let him bring them home (and then asked his dad to "dispose" of the majority of them).
Is there really a difference here between the tortilla incident and the cookie confrontation? Or am I just a total hypocritical nut job?

How do you feel when people talk to you instead of your children? Are there certain situations where it's necessary (like the cookies) and ones where it's not (like the tortilla incident).

I want to know.