“You Are Violating My Uncivil Rights.”

June 3, 2013

Notable Stats

Screeches per Hunger-Minute (SHM) – The deafening number of screeches of protest as it moves with minutes of hunger in waiting. 

Tantrum Zone Filibuster (TZF) - The physical area a toddler can roll in while protesting a dining option. This is measured in square feet or in rolling distance.

My wife is an attorney and apparently, so is our one and half year old. Only problem is our toddler specializes in an area of law that, for the good of civilization, does not exist. 

An expert in Uncivil Rights, she is already plotting her March on Washington, or if we try and translate her hand gestures, I would say “March on Your Patience.” 

It is clear we have been violating her uncivil rights for some time now given that she couldn’t move or protest right after she was born. She is having a sort of re-birth with her new mobile and verbal skills and it has become clear to her that we don’t know uncivil law at all. 

So as parents, my wife and I are learning the code of uncivil rights the hard way. Recently, we entered an eating establishment simply for the purpose of yes, you guessed it, eating. It was a nice place, quiet, and at the time, few people were there. Then our daughter became 17 people in one voice. Part of that reality was the volume by which she fought the establishment and other rule-making machines that are clueless in the laws of uncivil rights, part of it was her wayward idea that she is representing a movement and she has some sort of invisible entourage.

We learned some of the ways of uncivil rights. For example:

-          It is perfectly acceptable if you point to food that you want, then tantrumly refuse it after someone brings it to you.

-          If you do not like the temperature of the food that you never planned to eat, you are entitled the push over everything in plain view. If water spills, so be it.

-          It is your duty to yell as loud as possible if someone does not bring you a steak knife in less than 5 seconds. It matters not if you are less than two years old and will probably cut the tablecloth (or     your own hand) into shreds.

-          Should an establishment elect to kick you out of the building, you can file an uncivil lawsuit.

-          It is totally reasonable to express your frustration by using your mouth. Not by speaking, but by biting if necessary.

-          If you do not like the color of the orange, you can buck you head backwards and intentionally hit a table edge. All medical bills are to be covered by the eating establishment. You become a hero.

Uncivil Rights also cover your rights when you are sitting in a car seat. It has its own set of Miranda Rights called the Browbeat Rights. Only the first two change a little. 

  • You have the right to remain loud, boisterous, and on the brink of arrest for disturbing the peace.
  • Anything you say or do must be said or done at the loudest volume with the most amount of force you can muster from two year old arms and legs.

There is a new one that was adapted last week:

You have the right to throw food or whatever holds it.

We know the drill. It is the chronic parental concern that your kid will be considered a “brat.” The “B-Word” that you hope never sticks to your child. Of course, evaluating this possibility gets lost in the growing pains of helping your child transition from a cute baby to a mobile toddler. Is it simply the world of a baby learning how to communicate, or is it a new form of rights that will lead to the Supreme Court dissolving?

Even when you know people with kids who understand the loco phase of an 18 month old, you still think you are on an island when in public. That people don’t get it, that no one else has kids who roll around and threaten in a non-verbal way that they will eat the entire salt shaker if you don’t warm up their milk. But of course, any parent knows this world, it is just a matter of choice on how much you want the public to see it happen in real time. 

And of course it depends on when you decide they are ready to enter the public domain. But there is a Catch-22. For her to learn how to navigate it, they must be in it and…… so do you. 

- Doug Glanville


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