When Old Men Are Beyond Grumpy

Kevin and I try to have lunch with each other once a week.

Today, we decided to go to our local HyVee store, where they have a fantastic salad bar.

Unfortunately, we weren’t expecting to have a crab ass sharing the same vicinity as us.

I understand. I get it. Nolan can be loud at times. He is a little chatterbox. He’s 17 months old. You can’t expect a 17 month old toddler to sit still and not make a peep during lunch. It’s just not going to happen, I don’t care how well behaved your children are. As far as 17 month old’s go, I think Nolan does pretty well. He doesn’t screech and holler. He chatters. He is attempting to use real words.

While he sat, happily entertaining himself in a high chair while stuffing his face full of watermelon and strawberry, Kevin and I were able to have a nice conversation. We are used to Nolan’s chatter. I know his voice was loud. I looked around the cafeteria and noticed there was one other person in the room with us, and older gentlemen. Usually, the senior citizens LOVE Nolan. I know the staff at the store did. They’d come by the say how adorable he was. They said they loved to hear him chatter.

But not this older gentleman. He was practically scowling at us. When Kevin went to grab some more food from the salad bar, Nolan called after him. “Daddy!” It wasn’t a whine. He wasn’t fussy. He was cutely calling his dad, and Kevin would wave back to Nolan. By this time, there were other patrons sitting in the cafeteria with us, and would smile at us, and wave to Nolan.

The older gentlemen got up from his booth, and as he passed us, he said under his breath, “My God.” And he glared at me. GLARED. As he walked away, I asked Kevin what the deal was. He said he’d noticed the man give us some angry glances a few times. I know that other people won’t find my child as delectable as I do. Some days I am also annoyed by him, but come on.

I let Nolan out of his seat as we ended our lunch, and he started to toddle off. “He’s so cute!” “Oh, look at him”. And then…


Not said very loudly, but said nonetheless. This of course came from the older gentlemen. He was standing at the deli counter, and said this to me but not really looking at me. He was looking disgustedly at my child. My blood was burning. I could feel the heat rush to my chest and face.

“You have no right to be so rude to me, or my child.”

I said this matter-of-factly, and I know he heard me. I know because I saw the back of his neck twitch a little as he pretended NOT to hear me, checking out the items in the deli case. I scooped Nolan up and walked back to the cafeteria area, fuming. I filled Kevin in, and told him, “We need to get out of here, before I have an altercation with an old guy.”

I was prepared for it. I knew if he looked at me a certain way, said another disparaging comment under his breath, I’d have to set him straight. First off, we are in a public place. My toddler has just as much right to be there as he does. He wasn’t screaming. He wasn’t crawling around the floors like some rabid animal. He was seated appropriately in his high chair, eating and talking. Granted, his voice might have been loud, but I never would have thought to say, “Turn down your hearing aide” to the man. That would have been rude, and uncalled for. Just like his scowling, and his glares, and his rude comments under his breath were. My son can’t help that he’s a toddler. Children have a hard time talking in a whisper, when they have no clue what a whisper is. We certainly took every measure to ensure he was behaving himself as well as he was able to. But the man either didn’t notice, didn’t care, or both.

I never had words with the man. As we left, he walked at the opposite end of the produce area, but was watching us with wary eyes.

Do people forget that they were children once? I just don’t get it. We weren’t born with manners and correct behaviors. We were taught them. Good parenting is teaching your children. Allow me the chance to do that, but please, understand that they won’t be perfect little patrons at such a young age. They have their good days and bad days, just like the rest of us. I hadn’t brought my son to some fancy place where children are frowned upon; I brought my son to a family friendly grocery store, for pete’s sake!

Give me a break!


During my Tone Zone class this morning (which always pushes me to my limits) we did a lot of various moves with a fitness ball. One of the moves works the lower back/hips. Something the instructor pointed out was that so many of us focus a bunch on our abdominals, and end up neglecting the lower back area. So, you don’t look even all the way around. Something we did that was a little nutty (but a lot of fun) was:

So, you do the move very similar to this, only instead of lifting one leg, you lift both off the floor. The higher up you go, the more you feel a little like a frog leaping around! Only go as high as you safely can. And, if you’d like to modify, do one leg at a time. Happy flying!


2 thoughts on “When Old Men Are Beyond Grumpy”

  1. sorry you had to deal with that. when i was in shul with m when he was a baby, i was trying to keep him from being too loud. this one woman was rude about it anyway and i pretty much never wanted to talk to her again after that. nowadays, i don’t keep my daughter in services for long because she is very chatty. some people are nice about it, but i’ve also received rude looks. she’s a baby and she’s learning how to talk! if someone would set up the play area for babies again instead of banning them from the 2-3 year old room, i wouldn’t have such problems to begin with.

    1. I completely agree with you. I think people need to understand that it’s not only adults that live in this world. We all had to start from somewhere! We weren’t born adults! LOL!

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