Dear Sir, Please Do Not "Shush" My Child
Hi. I’d like to introduce you to my son. His name is Charlie. He’s two-and-a-half. He’s just sat through a wedding ceremony, about 30 minutes of adult mingling time, and an entire room full of people finishing a nice meal. He only cried a couple of times, and he’s gone all day without a nap. It is now 7:30 PM, and there is a big, open dance floor waiting to get danced on.
He’s the kid you just said “Ssshh, ssssshhhhhh, SSSSSHHHHHH!” to.
True. Yes, you are correct. The bride and groom are giving their speeches right now, and it’s a very important moment for everyone involved. It’s the couple’s chance to thank everyone who has contributed to the most important day in their relationship. I’m sure that you want to hear what they’re saying.
I understand all that, but let me ask you something.
What would you rather listen to? Every other word of the bride’s speech, punctuated by screaming and crying? It would go a little something like this:
“I’d like to thank (NO LIKE THIS! NOOO LIIIIIKE IT!) we’re so happy to have (RUN CIRCLES CHARLIE RUN CIIIIRCLES!) we couldn’t have done this (CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAKEEEE!!!!!!!) Enjoy the rest of the evening.”
You could listen to the entirety of the bride’s speech, with the muted thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump of a toddler’s blue plaid boat shoes running circles on the dance floor in the background. Sure, it’s not ideal, but you’d still hear the speeches, and no one would have to listen to any screaming and I wouldn’t have to stuff my kid full of more cake to get him to be quiet.
Which one sounds better?
Here’s the deal: I have a toddler. I love the bride. I’m here to celebrate with them, and my toddler is coming with me. He has a lot of energy, and if he’s semi-quietly running around in circles instead of screaming after a full day with no nap, we’re just going to call it a win. Could we have just left? Sure... if he was being a brat and was the only child there, we probably would have. But he wasn’t misbehaving; he was being a toddler. A toddler among many toddlers. This was not going to be a perfectly quiet wedding, and that’s all there is to it.
Now, how about we finish the introduction? Charlie is a super-sweet kid who asks if you’re okay after stubbing your toe. He says “I wuv you, Gamma,” when he leaves his Grandma’s house, and he handled an entire three hour trip the day before, fully awake, and without crying about being bored and uncomfortable. Then he peed in the toilet after making said trip without having a single accident.
How about you don’t talk to me about behavior. (I know that’s supposed to be a question, but I’m turning it into a statement here.)
Now, I’m a reasonable woman. I was standing right there, making sure he didn’t start screaming or jabbering, and if you would have walked up to me and talked to me about it, I probably would have taken him out into the lobby.
Bottom Line: Do not shush my child. You talk to me and I will shush him myself. Because I’m his parent... and I’m a good parent. If he would have been acting inappropriately, you wouldn’t have even had time to get out of your seat. I would have taken care of it.
Eventually, Charlie actually did get cranky enough that he was unpleasant to be around, so we left. Because that’s what you do.
Hopefully you were able to fully recover from Charlie’s thumpthumpthumping and were able to enjoy your evening.
Photo Credit: amandasphotographs.