I was walking down 81st Street when I watched a little boy, no more than 2, take a spill on the sidewalk. Instead of crying like I expected, he pulled himself up, regained his balance and pressed on.
When he and his mother made it alongside me I said to her, “How amazing he got right up…no fuss, no tears…such a sweet thing to see.”
She looked at me coldly and said, “We don’t teach our kids to cry.”
I don’t have to tell you how taken aback I was since it was the last thing I thought she’d say. A woman all of 30 dressed like an Ann Taylor ad, I figured if anyone would be as charmed as me it would be her. To be honest, that gush of surliness made me want to grab her by her Elsa Peretti pendant and twirl her around a bit.
The kid deserved the credit, not his arrogant, pompous parent.
Modern child rearing, particularly on the Upper East Side, eludes me. I’ve witnessed such travesties by permissive not to mention peculiar parents that puts them in a tribe all their own.
The mother in question also made me wonder, if she really was teaching her son not to give in to his emotions, how is she doing it? Is that little guy punished or admonished for having natural feelings? Do they toss him in his crib till he stops crying? My heart rushed out to him.
I remember my own mother laughing at me because she said I was too touchy, something that stings even today. It took years of therapy and 12 Step rooms to gently convince me sensitivity is nothing to be ashamed of. If anything, it makes you more of a loving and compassion human being.
I thought about that little boy throughout the afternoon. Will he grow up to be cold and unfeeling…the kind of man who’s insensitive to the world around him? What type of husband will he make being tutored to shut down whenever something troubles him.
Did I mention he wore a navy blazer with mini gold buttons? She even dresses him like a chilled adult.
I wonder when he’ll start his therapy. Hope it’s early so he gets to the other side way before I did.
Mom, on the other hand, needs a good talking to.
A slap wouldn’t hurt either.
I’m just saying.