We spent Saturday afternoon walking around an outdoor outlet mall about an hour’s drive from home. The sun was shining and the day was glorious, but I was completely miserable. I was stewing in guilt for having chosen to bring the whole family along to what turned out to be a crowded, hectic, frenetic place. I can’t imagine what the hell I was thinking.

The weather was beautiful, so I had liked the idea of being mostly out of doors. We needed a few things for the girls for school and I figured it might be a fun way to do some necessary shopping. You know, like um, chewing glass or walking barefoot over hot coals kind of fun. It’s not as big a disaster as you think was my dear husband’s mantra for the day. (I appreciate the sentiment, Hon. I really do. But I’m pretty sure it was epically bad.)

Squeezing ourselves through the overcrowded aisles at Burberry, (like I’m going to buy anything in Burberry? No idea why the hell we were there) Brooke and I passed a mother pushing a deliciously chunky baby in a carriage. I peeked in just in time to see his cherubic face settle into sleep, his little eyes fluttering closed.

The mom and I exchanged what would have been a lovely shared moment – until her smile flattened, her eyes narrowed and her lip curled into a sneer. Brooke had looked into the carriage, crouched down into the baby’s face and sharply yelled, “WAKE UP BABY!”

The mother looked as though she might kill me when he obliged.

Usually, I have something to say. I’m so sorry that she woke the baby, ma’am. She has autism which makes it hard for her to understand what’s appropriate. Something – anything. But this time I had nothing. I was tired. I was rattled. I was so on edge that I was over the edge. I felt like an abject failure. I mouthed I’m sorry and slunk pathetically around the corner without another word.

Sometimes I have my soapbox at the ready. Sometimes I can explain it all. Sometimes I can educate and help create awareness and foster sensitivity. Sometimes I can build bridges.

And then sometimes I’m just sorry.

29 thoughts on “sorry

  1. What’s wrong with waking up the baby? The mom put the kid out there on display; all your kid did was respond to the offering. If she didn’t want people responding to the baby she should have left it home.

  2. And, sometimes, you don’t have to explain to anyone. What Brooke did could just as easily have been done by any child in a moment when a parent let their guard down. I’m fairly confident that both the mother and the baby survived no emotional scarring or psychological trauma. Well, maybe the mother… KIDDING!

    I hope you can find a smidge of forgiveness for yourself, too.
    Sorry it was such a challenging outing. Sending love.

  3. I agree with the majority!!! What are you sorry for? Don’t make me haul my chubby pregnant butt up there to give you what for!!!

    If I want Lucifer oops I mean Lila to sleep we stay home! Typical kids do things like that as well. Example two Christmas’ ago Devin decides nap time is during dinner in the middle of the living room floor. His cousin walks over gives him a sweet kiss on the cheek and then screams directly in his ear, “WAKE UP COUSIN! NO MORE OF DIS SLEEPING!” So really you’re sorry for????

  4. I agree with everyone here. She didn’t do anything that a typical child might’ve done. We don’t always need to apologize for our kids, but Ive BTDT and understand. LMAO at M. Great response!

  5. Jess, I wholeheartedly agree. As the mother of an infant, if I want her to sleep, I don’t bring her out to a crowded, hectic, frenetic, I’m sure noisy place. I understand feeling bad in the moment, but it was certainly not entirely your (or Brooke’s) fault. xoxo

  6. some parents work on keeping their kids up during the day so that they’ll sleep more during the night. you should hire brooke out, make it a side-gig for her. start putting ads in the paper, on flyers.


    professional baby-waker.

    operators are standing by.

  7. Mouthing “I’m sorry” is enough. Next time allow yourself a hearty-har-har after you round the corner.

    Whoever told you need to be perfect deserves a talking-to.

  8. Dear Drama Mama,
    I appreciate your comment and request but, Jessica has been more than any 6 fathers could deal with and I am just used up.
    You are very sweet however.
    Best to you and yours,
    “Jessica’s” dad

  9. Just think about it, would Brooke have looked into anyones face, child or adult, on her own just a year or two ago? In addition, she was comfortable enough to talk (shout) to the baby “wake-up”. Good for her,as she has come a long long way, now hasn’t she?
    Sometimes we focus on the wrong thing. In my world it’s Brooke in this story that is the real story.
    Love you,

  10. Jess, your outing brought out the sweetest comments that I have read in a long time. That is a wonderful thing.

    PS. I try not to begin any sentence around my house with – Wouldn’t it be fun to… because it usually isn’t. 😦

  11. We went to a wildlife sanctuary last week on a rainy day. There was a gorgeous, totally done up mom there hosting her daughter’s birthday party. (I think she was wearing burberry from head to toe).
    Well, the group stopped in front of the arctic fox cage and huddled under the eave to stay dry…right next to the muddiest, scuzziest, most delicious splashing puddle you ever saw. My son, Wyatt, zoned in on this puddle and before I could get my hands to react, he jumped full force, with 2 feet. The entire birthday party was covered in puddle goop from head to toe. I swear it was like a Mac truck had just driven through that puddle.

    All I could figure out to say was “he he oops. sorry about that”

    Wyatt’s older brother, ever our family’s cheerleader, just beamed at Wyatt “that was your best jump ever”

  12. Take a breath, and cut yourself some slack. We live and we learn, right?

    We are all here for you. As my friend always says, “Big hugs”


  13. i get you. so often we have to be o.k. with not explaining ‘why’ – when our kids do something that may seem inappropriate in public. (sometimes the situation is just too hectic). i’m sure your “i’m sorry” went a long way.

    love M’s comment!

  14. Don’t be so hard on yourself. As always, you had the best of intentions. So the day didn’t go totally as planned. When does it, really, with kids involved?

    And little kids (all of them) can be loud and completely unpredictable. My almost five year old has done the exact same thing to his younger brother who was sleeping in the stroller (ironically enough, it was the “normal” child accosting the one with autism in our case).

    You don’t always have to explain, and the simple “I’m sorry!” was more than many people would even offer.


  15. I still stand by my original comment. If the mom was that sensitive, or the baby that fragile, they should not have been in a public place, or they should have prepared themselves for what happened.

    Just this afternoon, I went outside and found a bum sleeping on the sidewalk by the fence near work. I kicked him and said, “Hey, wake up!” He complained some, but he got up and moved. Now, maybe I yelled because I’m autistic, but it’s too bad. If he wanted to sleep unmolested he should not have been on the sidewalk.

    Your situation is no different. Teh bum could have slept in rehab or jail. The kid you encountered could have slept at grandma’s.

  16. Oh I’ve been there, where you were, when I’m sorry just doesn’t feel like enough. We sometimes put an extra burden on ourselves before we step back and realize that we don’t ALWAYS have to explain our children away. The Roc sometimes (okay, many times) acts inappropriately in public and I find myself feeling bad that I’ve apologized for him…when any child could have done what he did, and I’ve told someone “I’m sorry, he has Autism” As those before me have stated – cut yourself a break! (and think about how far she has come!)

  17. Oh hey, that happens every morning in my house. We invite Noel into our bed, where Holland is sleeping happily, urging him to shhhh and be gentle.

    So he climbs up into the bed, and promptly headbutts her.

    Nothing at all to be sorry for. It builds strong reflexes. Or something.

  18. I’m a true introvert. My kid is an extrovert. Not sure what God was thinking when he put the two of us together. When she was little, I was a nervous wreck every time we went out. Being the one with AS, I’m content being a wallflower. Blending in is good. Please nobody look at me when I’m shopping. I’ll break out into a profuse sweat.

    It was impossible to blend in with my little live wire. I don’t remember(too rattled and too much sweat in my eyes to see well), but I’m SURE my kid yelled at a baby or three. She yelled all the time…and I didn’t just perceive that she yelled due to my auditory problems. The looks we got told the story! It’s really not just Kendall.

    Ever thought about having some blog business cards printed up? You could just whip one out and hand it to folks on days you don’t feel like talking.

    Sorry you had a bad day. You didn’t deserve the snear. Her time is coming. Nobody escapes the terrible twos. hehe

  19. kat – this ..

    Ever thought about having some blog business cards printed up? You could just whip one out and hand it to folks on days you don’t feel like talking.

    utterly, fabulously, brilliant.

    thanks for the smile!

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