perceptions and judgement

Gwen had a great time at the baseball game on Sunday. But the extra inning, was about one inning too many. It was partially my fault, I didn't even realize what time it had gotten to be. I didn't realize that by staying for that inning we would be leaving just before our normal dinner time and not getting home until just after our normal bedtime. I wish I had, we would have left after the regular game play, and maybe we could have avoided some of the tired, overly sunned crying that occurred. I wish that Trav hadn't thrown out her, not touched for an hour or so, uneaten french fries. Parents know that the 2 year old will remember those 5 fries and want them when its time to leave.

As we were leaving the park, with a sobbing, then tearfully yelling toddler in my arms, I was thinking a lot about the thousands of observations, and flash assessments we make everyday. We make them about everyone we see. Its part of human nature to want to understand what someone is doing and why, so our brain fills in the gaps between was we see and what we assume is there. Most of the time, its benign enough, but plenty of times (and seemingly especially when it comes to parenting moments), its rather harsher.

Seeing Gwen at that moment one might have judged me for bringing a child to a game she clearly didn't enjoy (she actually loved it until about 5 seconds before we left), for denying her a balloon... I mean, just give her a balloon (we did, she didn't want it, then she did, then she didn't... then I'd had enough and we were out of the stadium, and unfortunately she did again), for not seeming to care that her daughter was yelling (I was remaining calm for both our sakes, but knew talking to her right then would only aggravate the situation), or for not just shutting her up (really?!). Here's the thing, I'm guilty of judging other parents too. I don't think you can ever completely turn it off, though I've always tried my best to. The further I get into toddlerhood, the more I have those humbling moments, the more I realize that those parents are surely also just doing the best they can.

As I sit here sweating through this triple digit first day of summer (well that did come in with a bang, huh!), I anticipate many more over-sunned, tired from so much fun days. I hope I can meet them with grace. And I hope those watching won't judge me or my daughter too harshly. I promise my gaze will be sympathetic from now on.

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