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She may be a brat, but she’s my brat, and you can’t call her that.

standard February 19, 2008 13 responses

“So we decided that the only answer is that your daughter is a brat.” The words stop me cold in my tracks. They come from a coworker who was kind enough to watch my children while M and I celebrated a belated Valentines night on Friday. And while, at first, I understand where she’s coming from, after all she’s just spent two hours holding a screaming baby, after a second my blood begins to boil. No one calls my kid a brat, even if she is being one.
“I don’t understand why you didn’t call me.” I manage to stammer out. “I could have told you a few tricks that might have worked.”
“I didn’t want to disturb your evening.” She replies, not realizing that she has in fact done more than disturb my evening.

She called another coworker of mine for advice, a friend who has a child three days after Little L was born, the two of them brainstormed and concluded that my baby was just being a brat who wanted a boob rather than a bottle. Neither of them knew that Little L always drinks a bottle in the evening and was probably reacting to something else, which I would have happily told them had someone thought to call me. Neither of them know Little L that well, and for sure neither of them know her many quirks and habits.

I want so badly to let this go, to take this for what it is and not make a big deal out of it, but I’m struggling. She called my baby a brat. I know she didn’t mean it. I know she was just frustrated because Little L screamed for two hours. I know she was being sweet and watching the kids for free so I could have a night off. I know she’d be horrified to know how upset I am. And I know she has no idea how biting those little words can be to a mom. But she called my baby a brat.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know Little L can be a brat. She’s a bad sleeper, she’s a picky eater, she likes to be held, and not by just anybody, but she’s my brat, and I’m pretty sure M and I are the only two people who can call her that.

A few of my coworkers are constantly begging to let them help me out, but I think from now on I will politely decline. A sitter I could fire, or at least never hire again, but I have to see my coworkers every day, and I’d much rather not resent them for anything not work related. And in the meantime, that particular coworker is out of the office until Wednesday, so I have another day to lick my wounded pride and get over it. I’m sure she doesn’t remember making that comment and it would be ridiculous to ruin a good working relationship over something so trivial.

Help me out. Has anyone ever said anything about your child that made you want to rip them to shreds?

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13 responses

  • I am just so angry for you. I don’t even know what to say beyond that. I do get that they were probably frustrated, but I don’t understand why anyone could EVER think that would go over well. No one has called my kid anything to make me mad (yet) and I sure don’t know what I would do in your shoes.

  • Wow. I would have been offended. It was truly inappropriate for them to say that. How close are you? I would have to say something. Not mean, but just to let her know that I found it offensive. Hopefully she will apologize and will say that she had no idea.

    Keep us posted!

  • I would have been offended as well. I had a friend call my daughter “special” and yes, I know she is a little ditzy and not the quickest of wits but for her to call her that hurt my feelings. I stewed about it for a while but then just came out and told her. She apologized.

  • Oh hon. Motherhood is hard on so many levels. Your friend should NOT have said that. It really wasn’t polite or even true, from the information she has. I mean, 2 hours with a stranger and the baby cried? Hmmmm. Sounds like a BA.BY.

    I would politely write her a little note telling her how you know she didn’t mean anything by it, but that you’ve been really saddened and upset by her remark. It can affect your relationship if you don’t talk about it. Just my 2 cents.

    I had to call my mom once over some unintentional remarks made over my eldest. Purely my Mamabear defending him, but it hurt, and I HAD to get it off of my chest. She didn’t even remember or realize it hurt me…

  • I would have been upset too. It might be worth it to mention that your feelings were sort of hurt by her comment even though she probably meant nothing by it. That way it softens it for her but gets it off your chest.

  • sun

    hmm, my comment didn’t make it through yesterday…(we’re having internet issues – our lovely toddler found the power switch to the surge protector sooo fascinating and now we’re having problems)

    any ways, it was long, but the gist of it was your coworker is INSANE. L is the furthest thing from a brat…she’s one of the sweetest, cuddliest babies I’ve ever met.

  • It really didn’t bother me, but a boy who was in our carpool a few years ago didn’t want to join our high school carpool because he didn’t want to listen to my daughter whine in the morning.

    I don’t really want to listen to her whine either, but I don’t get the opportunity to opt out of carpool. Maybe I’m just jealous.

  • Yes! I understand this completely. My mum keeps reminding me of once when my daughter was 2 and she told them that their living room was hers and told everyone to go away. She was TWO years old. That’s what 2 year olds do. She was being a little madam, but it was funny!
    She’s almost eight now and my mother is still going on about it.
    Now my sister’s son, he can do whatever he likes and nothing is ever said about it. It makes me so angry but no-one else gets it! So I completely understand where you’re coming from…

  • Maybe write her a letter (long hand) and then rip it up, and try to release the ill feelings as you tear the paper to shreds?

  • Sounds like your co-worker is a “B” word too, and it’s not “brat.” She must not have children of her own.

  • I’m with Tara R. on this one – what a cow! I’m sure she has many admirable qualities, but this is excessive.

    No one has ever insulted my kids like that (although I’ll be the first to admit that their behavior may occasionally deserve such a descriptor), but I think it’s safe to say you handled it much more graciously than I would have in the same situation.

  • This sort of thing has happened to me, and while I know the offenders meant nothing serious by it, I was upset. Very upset.

    Your baby is pretty little, right? If she is still breast- and bottle-fed, she is too freaking young to be a “brat.” She’s a *baby*, who is incapable of controlling her behavior for other people’s benefit.

    Some of our extended family act like they don’t like our youngest, because she is picky about who she wants to be with (me) and doesn’t know them well. It hurts me.

    You have every right to be upset, but I think you are right to try to let it go rather than risk affecting the work relationship.

  • Sorry I’m a little late to the comment party, but I couldn’t help but reply. I’m furious for you. How dare she call your infant a “brat.” Apparently, someone has some issues, and it’s not the baby!

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