Sunday, July 27, 2008

Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

…So I’m in the café line at IKEA after paying for my crappy new Billy bookcase. I’m already having a tough time deciding whether I should order the hotdog that I know tastes like rubber, or the sugar covered donuts which are always partially frozen, when I hear this kid start screaming in back of me. In pushy French fashion Mother and child arestanding barely 20 centimeters away from me so that the child’s wails of agony are goin directly into my left ear.

Just as I am about to convince myself to completely throw caution to the wind and order the new creepy-looking chicken sandwich thing on the brightly lit fluorescent menu, the kid lets out yet another long earth shatteringly loud scream that sounds something like it may in fact be dying.

And since at this point my bloodsugar is so low that I’m actually physically incapable of caring whether or not the kid is in fact dying. I don’t turn to look. Instead, I say to myself “If that F@cking baby screams in my goddamned ear one more time I swear to god I’m gonna turn round and smack it!”

Almost instantaneously, I hear this un-Godly noise that sounds something like:


And with that, I feel a weak, yet surprisingly firm thwack on the back of my neck.

Yep. You guessed it.

A bitchy little French baby just sucker punched me on the back of the neck!

Now, It took me a few seconds to realize what had happened. In fact, I was in a bit of a daze untill I heard the baby’s mother say “arrête!” (“stop”). Instinctively I turned around to face the mother and child. And here my friends, is where it gets that much funnier.

When I turn around, the French mom is desperately avoiding my gaze by looking up at the IKEA menu as if the answer to all the mysteries of the Universe were somehow embedded in that f@cker. Meanwhile L´enfant terrible that sucker punched me is glaring at me like I just stole candy from her or something!

I don't know exactly what to say about this experience beyond that. A baby punched me. A baby punched me and got away with it. I mean it's not like I could punch her back or call the police. I mean, what do ya do?

So, lesson learned. Be mindful of even your private thoughts because apparently some bitchy French babies can read minds.

And they will punch you...

and get away with it.


Megan said...

Oh my goodness. I am surprised she didn't at least say "I'm sorry my kid whacked you." Well, no maybe not. I was riding the subway once, and there was a grandmother? I am guessing with two young boys, around 5 and 3 perhaps. The boys stepped on my feet several times. By way of apology she said "Well, they are young." No shi! but at some point you need to start teaching them manners lady!

screamish said...

Ha! punched by a baby!

Personally...I have some issues with private space in's way too small for my Australian body to deal with....why does everyone have to stand soo close (now that makes me sound REALLY insane doesnt it)

Travel said...

I have always been surprised how good my French can be at a moment like that (or Italian.) You are a saint for not telling mom what you were thinking.


Camille Acey said...

My years as a New Yorker require that I a always say something. You should have seen me on the train when these kids were there yelling and making noise just to be a nuisance. I glared at the grandpa who was with em and then the dad, it was clear they wasn't going to nothing. SO I turned and yelled (in Slovene) "IT'S ENOUGH!" and for some reason this lit a fire under the parents who shut them kids up quick fast and in a hurry.

I grew up in an "It Takes A Village" environment and I still believe in it.

Cherise said...

WOW! I can't believe it. If I were that mom I'd be on the floor begging you forgiveness and at the very least buying you lunch and just about everything you wanted....and dying from embarassment. But I hope I would have stopped it from happening in the first place.

However I happen to like the idea of the baby reading your mind. She was probably thinking "I want to get the hell out of this place, how much do I have to scream til Maman takes me out?!"

raynaae said...

hmmm....yes, note to self: start practicing phrases to say to unruly kids. I thought France didn't have that problem, but I see it often. Last month a kid hit me in Leader Price when I walked by. I turned and was heated, but the kid was special-needs. So we played a lil number game and I kept it moving.

So how do you say "Madame, please control your child"? My problem at this moment is starting conversations that ultimately i cannot finish.

Anonymous said...

i had a situation similar to camille's on a flight back to philadelphia via london a few years ago.

a german couple got on the flight with 2 small children. the mother sat in the double seat near the window with the baby, and the father sat at the end my (middle) row with the son, who must have been almost 3. it wasn't long before the little boy was cranky and being a general pain in the *ss. the father tried to get him to lie down for a nap (thanks, guy, i would have liked to use one of those extra seats, too), but the little bugger kept fidgeting more and more, and kicked me several times in the process.

i tried to concentrate on my book and/or take a nap myself. hey, being a mom, too, i remember how my kids could get on those long flights when they were that age. but dad was apparently glad that the kid was bugging someone else for once. i got not so much as a glance from him, let alone an apology, while his kid continued to bruise my thigh and pummel my last nerve.

finally, i'd had enough. i looked the kid straight in the eye, and in clear and rather loud german told him that he was passed getting on my nerves and should finally settle himself down.

the look on dad's face was priceless.

i guess he didn't realize i spoke german, and had sussed out his woosy parental style long ago. after that dad a least made sure their little schatzi left me alone.

sometimes it's hard to remember that - at that age, at least - bad behavior is the parent's fault.

(cause i really did want to wallop that kid.)

Leesa said...

Some parents are just soooo good at ignoring their kids bad behaviour... I'm thinking this woman will have a TON of trouble from this "baby" as she/he gets older if mom doesn't put a bit more effort into parenting!! Funny story telling, sorry you got punched by the baby, though!!!

Madame K said...

p.s. I loved reading all your replies to this. Nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks the whole thing was just unacceptable....and bizarre.