I love my neighborhood. There's such a nice mix of folks. Folks who are conservative, folks who are liberal. Folks who are religious, folks who are not. Some care a lot about the environment, some, not so much. And now that I have a child enrolled in the local elementary school I get mixed in with all the other folks too. It's kind of great. Every once in a while, however, one person's habits get starkly compared to your own in front of every one and you don't come out on top.
Take the other day at Stomper's soccer practice. What a great team. We don't fare especially well at games - we're excited when we get a goal at all. But the boys enjoy being together and kicking the ball around (or pulling their jerseys up over their heads in order to more better imitate a flesh-eating monster of some kind...) I feel that this positive attitude alone is an accomplishment. And the other parents are so nice. I'm very fond of all of them and am growing quite close to many of them. There is this one sweet mom with two kids - the boy plays soccer on the team, and the big sister is darling with both of my girls during games and practices - and we have done a lot of chatting over the past year. She is so awesome in sticking to her personal convictions about parenting. For example, she let us know the other day that her kids have never seen a commercial on t.v. They just don't do t.v. at their house. She didn't say it in any sort of uppity way in the slightest, she was more laughing at herself a little bit. But when she said it.....the other moms got quiet....crickets chirping.... Huh, I thought to myself. That's not what it's like at my house. At first I started to feel bad but quickly moved to, "Oh well!" There are other battles I pick. I think. I have some parental integrity, right? I'm sure I do.
Well. Another such comment from this mom, as I was pulling out yet another crappy Happy Meal toy for Bundle to play with during practice, was that her kids had never been to McDonald's. Again, good for her. McDonald's is pretty much the devil, right? And yet I still find myself using its mysterious little deep fried nuggets and craptastic plastic toys as bait for my kids from time to time. I hang my head in shame. So you can imagine what was going through my head as I was sitting with this very kind mommy, watching the practice, when Bundle started screaming and throwing an absolute fit. I quickly pawed through my purse, fingers desperately searching for a binki or stray cracker. I came up empty-handed. So then I really dug down, and to my simultaneous relief, delight and horror, I found several old french fries. Bundle loves french fries, and she immediately grabbed for them and suckled them down to little nubs the moment she saw them. Don't worry, they were no more than three days old. Or four. Sick. I can't believe I'm telling this story. I'm still laughing at the look on the face of my friend. Yes! I went to McDonald's! No, I never clean out my purse! Yes! French fries actually spilled into my bag and I am now feeding them to my child! Frankly, Bundle was content for the remainder of the practice and now I think I shall keep a few stray fries at the bottom of my purse from now on.