Saturday, December 25, 2010

Silent night

We're at a hotel in Vermont for the holiday break; yesterday evening we went to storytime in the lobby area. A bunch of kids and adults piled onto a couple of couches and cushy chairs by the fireplace, and girls from a local school read books like The Polar Express and The Night Before Christmas.

Max sat quietly and paid attention, which thrilled me. He listened the entire time. The girl seated next to him, who was about 5, stared at him the entire time. Literally. Blatantly. Max has been drooling a lot lately, and it seemed to fascinate or puzzle her or trouble her, one of those. She was sitting on the mom's lap; at one point, the mom looked over to see what was distracting her little girl. Then the mom turned back to the book reading.

I was kind of stumped. How could this mother not have said anything to her kid? A whispered "It's not polite to stare" would have been adequate. Better: "Honey, he's a kid like you, he's just drooling" would have been better, though maybe too much to expect. But staying silent? Not OK.

This happens from time to time: kids stare, parents don't say a peep. I realize some of them may not know what to say, but I don't find that acceptable. If the girls hadn't been reading the books, I might have leaned over to say, "This is Max, he's eight!" Sometimes just breaking the ice helps.

These parents who don't speak up, though: They perplex me.



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