Saturday, March 12, 2016

Have you ever slapped your child in public?



A nice sunny afternoon walking down Barrio Italia (Santiago), a quaint street full of lazy cafes, art, clothes & furniture shops. We wanted pizza (cuz that’s the first thing that pops into our minds when we think of the world “Italian”) but we walked into a brew resto-bar. I loved the place and loved our waitress- who was both nice & prompt- a combination pretty unusual in Santiago. We ordered our ales after tasting some and ordered a Cruda- a first time for us.


A Cruda is a german-chilean dish, Cruda Mossto was an adaptation of the traditional Crudo recipe accompanied by blue cheese, green apple, walnuts and mustard based mossto cream. It would've been delicious had it not been doused in lemon. The aversion to anything too lemony is a very personal prerogative actually. The very reason I’m not fond of ceviche: it’s cured in lemon!


Anyways, we thought “hey there are so many restaurants out there, let’s wrap this and go get some pizza”


Not a wise decision. 


While we loved the pizza in La Serena, it wasn’t quite there yet in this busy restaurant we walked into. The waiter had this air about him. First he sent us to a table that no one would want, then he waited on this other family that clearly walked in after us. He brought in the menus late…served us late… even the coffee & the beer (c’mon!). There wasn’t even any complimentary bread to calm the tummy, which is usually the norm in Chile.


Then it happened.


While we waited for our orders, I heard my tummy grumble and my energy levels sink lower and lower. This probably happened to all three of us when suddenly my 4 year old turned into a nag and started bouncing around. 


Our waiter had just brought in my coffee and I was wondering where the milk was (I usually had ‘cafe doble' with milk!) when suddenly out of the blue my 4 year old’s head banged  hard against mine and my right hand went flying. Right to his soft little cheek!


*slap!*


Yes that happened. An impulse reaction. Someone hits you, you hit back. That fraction of a second when your brain doesn’t make an assessment. It’s just fight or flight. He started crying obviously. I put my arm around him and said “that hurt! my sun glasses got knocked off and they would’ve broken too!” and pulled him close to me, consoling him. 

And suddenly I realised the waiter was yelling at us. At my husband specifically. 


“SOMETHING SOMETHING SOMETHING POR FAVOR!!” 


I had no idea what was going on. My head was still reeling from the head butt, my child was still sobbing. He was on my lap holding me and this waiter was screaming. 


By the time I realised he probably meant something like “we don’t hit children in our restaurant please!” he was gone.


I’d officially slapped our child in public! *And* had been publicly shamed by a stranger! I’ll make no claims of never slapping him, probably cuz it’s perfectly reasonable in the culture where I come from.  But for disciplining, we usually have clearly laid out rules, a stern voice & time outs that work, so slapping is not what I usually do!


I know I shouldn't have done it, but do I feel guilty about what happened? Not really. Since it wasn’t an informed decision, just an impulse reaction. Don’t judicial courts in the United States let go of even murders done on account of temporary insanity? (And in my defence, as innocent as my sweet little boy looks, his head is one giant hammer! I had to pop a pill to calm my subsequent headache!)  


Was the waiter justified? Who knows! Although I cannot be mad at him knowing that he was protecting my son. That's the bias I didn't know I had till he was born. (The same bias that makes me instantly dislike the people who dismiss the conversation my son is trying to have by not bothering to answer his questions). Another waiter came to clear the bill and we felt so much better, cuz at least this one smiled!


We just learnt something important that day. To never walk into a busy restaurant in Santiago! From our past experiences we figured that the only times we’ve got prompt and warm service was when there were only a few tables occupied. 

We need to diss our instinct that draws us to busy restaurants with the notion that people must go there because the food must be fantastic. The food is the same everywhere. The service makes a difference. Cuz I know for sure that if we all had food in our tummies, at least the complimentary bread, the banging, slapping or screaming wouldn’t have happened!



(these photos are from the 'nice' restaurant with the 'nice waitress'!)






























 


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40 comments:

  1. This is horrible. I did the same thing when my daughter but my arm, leaving a bruise, when she was having a tantrum at about 18 months. Like you I didn't see the pain coming so I hadn't prepared for it and it was a reaction not a decision. It sounds like the waiter actually wasn't very good at his job, couldn't face the pressure and unloaded on you. The actions of the waiter who came to replace him speaks volumes.

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    1. Thanks Andrea! I know, if you think about it, we don't scream at waiters when they screw up!

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  2. What an awful feeling; but reactions are just that. They can't be helped. On the plus side I love all your pictures. I always feel like I get to travel and see another part of the world when I visit your blog.

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    1. Awful indeed! Thanks for the lovely compliment Joanne :)

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  3. I know the feeling. It has been something I've been afraid of since I had my daughter. I'm know to strike out when struck suddenly. #MMBH

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  4. Hum, now you have me thinking........

    I don't remember slapping anyone, but I think I remember pushing away. I have yelled out in horror at a few boob bites with nursing infants.

    Does that count?

    Our reactions are our reactions. Hugs to you mama!

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    1. Yelling is finnne! so it doesn't count!

      Thanks for stopping by Lisa !

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  5. We all have parenting moments we'd like to bury away forever. One of yours just had the misfortune to be in public. We can't help our instinctive reactions; we can only try to do better in the future. I appreciate your honesty on this post!

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  6. Mine got a reactionary smack across the ass once for biting me. First and only time and I'm still not even sure how it happened. I was pretty glad we were home alone. Don't beat yourself up over it.

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  7. I haven't slapped yet but I have done some shouting that I'm not proud of. I think we're all human and do things we're not proud of. Learn and move on is my motto.

    #fartglitter

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    1. Back again hoping you're not still beating yourself up on this one. Brave post!

      #fartglitter

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  8. Def shouting but not slapping here. It's tough though sometimes. #coolmumclub

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  9. The answer to the question is no, but I certainly can see how and why this happenned. I have given our daughter a controlled telling off smack before, and all I know is it made me feel DREADFUL afterwards! parenting is hard!
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

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  10. I think like you say, it was more of a reactionary impulse rather than a conscious action. I have never slapped my children but yes, lots of screaming and yelling and yes, lots of threats too. It is tough when all your buttons are pushed, isn't it? I avoid many places and situations if I can help it. Thanks for sharing with #abitofeverything

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  11. I'd like to say that all my children were always well behaved when in public, but in reality, I know that it isn't always true. I know I've swatted a time or two when needed. Thanks for sharing your posts with us at Snickerdoodle Sunday!

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    1. Haha, there is never any guarantee for good behaviour ! Mine was behaving pretty well till just a few moments before it happened! Thanks Laurie:)

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  12. What an honest post, sorry you felt this way. These things happen, and we just have to take what happens on the day Thanks for linking #abitofeverything xx

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  13. We are all humans and sometimes we do stupid things. One of them is to hit and to yell at children. It happens if we reach our limits. Not an excuse but a hint that we should take it more easy. Maybe we'd like to be super-mom, but most likely we are not. Just a human being, a loving mum, improving patients every year as the kids grow up. (Mom of 4 adult kids) www.travelbug.co. #greyworldnomads

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  14. Parenting is hard. I have had my fair share of children melt-downs in restaurants and getting judged by waiters and waitresses. But really, whatever. We know we are trying our best and doing what we can for our children.

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  15. Oh no - what a combination of everything you don't want to happen. It's so instinctive to protect ourselves if you're hit on the head as well, I think, but it sounds like the waiter just added to the situation! A good lesson for other people not to be quite so quick to judge (and yell) - as well as what to do about busy restaurants in Santiago! Thanks for linking to #citytripping

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  16. When I started being a parent there are so many things that I am doing that I promised that I wont do before. Now I no longer judge. Parenting is hard and well you were in a position that you just reacted to something! This is such a bad experience. I would want to say that the photos are nice and I hope everything went well in spite of this one bad moment. #MyFavouriteTrip

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  17. Sometimes you just react, it's instinct. I don't think the waiter should have interfered at all! It was none of his business! It certainly doesn't make you a bad parent! I hope you have other better memories of Santiago Thanks for linking up with #MOndayEscapes

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  18. Your photos from the nice restaurant looks so so nice! I think everybody has slap their child in public - if they didn't I think they will be lying. But we learn from our mistakes and trying so hard not to do it again. You are normal my friend. Don't worry about the bad waiter - he is just an idot with no kids. xx #MyFavouriteTrip

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  19. Ooo the collision sounds painful! I've never hit my child but I'm sure my teeth have been ground down since he was born as a result of fighting against those impulsive reactions! Parenting is tough and I've had my fair share of toddler meltdowns in public. We also try to avoid crowded places where possible. Lovely photos. Thanks for joining in with #MyFavouriteTrip Polly x

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  20. I've never slapped them but I've definitely had to restrain myself heavily on some occasions. It can be hard to cool down when they push you to your limits but especially when they really hurt you! Thanks for being a #bigpinklinker

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  21. Interesting. I have to admit that I don't personally agree with smacking children, and I don't use physical discipline in private or public. I think the fact that it is something I don't do means that it is also not an impulse reaction for me. I DO hate those headbutts though. Mine do that to me often when they are over excited & jumping around. I have occasionally shouted very loudly at them for it, especially when they've got my nose, & then felt guilty for upsetting them. That's my impulse reaction - if it really hurts, I shout, even though I know they didn't really mean to do it. #fartglitter

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