At the grocery (AGAIN) yesterday with my daughter, age 8. This time it wasn't in the holiday baking aisle, at least. I was in the dairy aisle and passed a woman with two small children. The kids were obviously excited about Christmas and were singing and talking about Santa and presents and maybe getting snow. They were speaking at an average conversational volume level, not obnoxious or painfully loud to be around. I passed them, DD wished them Merry Christmas. All was good. A lady came around the corner of the aisle and searched for items near the kids. They started singing again and she turned on them with this angry, irritated expression and said, "SHHHHHH." The shushing was just as loud, if not louder, as the singing and done in this really hostile, hissing sort of way.
My jaw dropped. She clearly didn't know this family and she was angrily shushing the kids! The mother said, "Ma'am. Please don't do that."
The woman snapped, "I HAVE A HEADACHE. I don't need all that extra noise! Tell them to shut up!"
The mother opened her mouth to respond, but glanced at her children and pushed the cart away from Headache Lady. On the next aisle, I ran into the mom again. The kids were much quieter and all their happy spirit seemed to be sucked out of them. The mom and I shared this incredulous, "What the heck?" look. DD told the kids she really liked their singing, which made them smile a little.
I didn't run into the family again, but a few aisles later I crossed paths with Headache Lady. DD was telling me a funny story from school in a completely normal, not-loud conversational tone. Headache Lady saw her and very clearly narrowed her eyes at my daughter. I watched her face change to that angry, irritated expression she wore earlier when she shushed the kids. DD saw it too and stopped speaking. Headache Lady seemed frustrated and that she no longer had a target and huffed off, muttering to herself about loud kids everywhere. DD continued her story, relatively unfazed.
It was like she was actively seeking out children to "upset her" so she could fuss at them. If you have a headache, I sympathize, but perhaps you should stay away from a very busy, noisy grocery store until you feel better.
Normally, I'm not a "but they're just being chiiiiiiildreeeeeen" person, but this seems petty and mean spirited and very very speshul.
Reminds me of a time I was on a city bus that did a regular commuter route (meaning that you are stuck with the same people for about half an hour between the suburb and the main city.) A woman got on with two kids. One was probably early school aged and the other was a toddler. They were not angels, but they weren't doing anything wrong. Just chatting, chatting, chatting, chatting. They were using inside voices. One of the other regulars on the bus tried to engage me in a PA under-my-breath-but-hoping-she-hears grumble about "rude people who breed like rabbits."
I was a little taken aback because if someone wants to have ten kids in ten years, I might call them crazy, I might call them irresponsible, I might wonder why the heck they would do that, but when it comes down to it, it's not my business! I'm not one to make it mine either.
Besides, she didn't have ten kids. She had two and they looked to be about 2-4 years apart. That seems pretty reasonable to me and would be to even many of my friends who do not tolerate children very well.
Because this man was a regular, I knew he had two kids of his own (teen-aged.) Does he really go home and tell his wife to keep them dead silent (you irresponsible irresponsible parent of the human variety, you!)? I had also seen him and others engage in much louder, spirited discussions about current events.
I just kept reading and gave him a look that I hoped conveyed that I found his griping much more disturbing than background chatter of the children.