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Author Topic: "You've got your hands full"
romanylass
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and other things parents don't need to hear:
http://www.thenewstribune.com/opinion/columnists/story/5360164p-4850600c.html

quote:
I mean, unless you have a latte in your hand or a spa in your back pocket, telling me Iíve got my hands full doesnít do me an ounce of good.

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Goody Scrivener
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And oh so very true...
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Belle
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If I heard that once I heard it a thousand times when I was out with the twins as infants.

My normal routine was to put both baby seats in a grocery cart, and push them while I towed another one behind me for the groceries.

"Wow, You've got your hands full!"

Oh yeah, well...um...thanks.

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maui babe
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I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard that... it was always so lame.
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TomDavidson
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I'll admit to not really caring one way or another -- whether it's a random compliment or a random insult. After all, why should I mind if someone I don't know -- and who doesn't know me from Adam -- criticizes my parenting skills? And why should I be flattered when someone just as unfamiliar with me compliments those skills?

In both cases, they're just strangers who don't know any better. *shrug*

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mackillian
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After I spent that time working with kids, I have always, always given parents the utmost respect. When I worked at the group home, I was only in charge for an eight hour shift. When I worked outreach, I had a kid for an hour and a half.

Parents have them all the time. For a long time. Years! It's a tough job.

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GaalDornick
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My mom gets it all the time when she's out with me and my two 9 year old twin brothers (who are almost always fighting with each other). She usually doesn't care though, she usually just smiles and responds that she has a 4th one in college.
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Icarus
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We get that a lot when one or both of us is out with the girls. The other one we get, always with an annoying chuckle, as if the person is just certain they just came up with this witticism on his or her own, is "Double trouble!" Haha! [Roll Eyes]
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Synesthesia
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I never say stuff like that to people... It seems rather stupid and rude.
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dawnmaria
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I got a very weird comment from my sister's father-in-law at Thanksgiving this year. He askes me if my 1 year old daughter's dress was homemade. I haven't yet figured out if that was meant as a compliment or an insult. I don't have the talent or the time to make any kind of outfit much less a red velvet holiday dress! I wish I did!
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Shan
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I'm trying to find ways to deflect the "incipient horrors of impending teen-age years" comments and stories from people - particularly when they start in while around Nathan.

It's really rather hard, at times, too.

Partially, because I do not have fond memories of my own teen years. Partially because the mood swings truly are beginning, and feel somewhat intimidating to me. And partially because I remember the hurt feelings I had at age 11-12 when adults started talking trash about teens in general and wondering how "bad" I'd be in specific.

*Sigh*

I find myself torn between affirming all the positive and good I know of him, and how I expect that just to continue growing and maturing vs. making silly comments about temperament and pimples vs. snarling something rude about what a terror said person is at their particular age . . .

I hate ambiguity.

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Tante Shvester
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Imagine the comments I've heard when I was out with my disabled husband and my (then little) kid. In fact, I still get dopey comments from the ignorant when my husband and I are out together.

"I admire you, I could never do what you do."

"You are an inspiration" (Well, my husband and I both get that one. What are we inspiring them to do, I wonder? Marry a cripple or be one?)

"You are a very special person."

"Are you his (mother, sister, nurse)?"

"What happened?"

and, oh yeah, "Wow. You've certainly got your hands full."

I usually respond with a [Smile] , but when they are not looking I [Roll Eyes] , or, if it is a bad day, [Grumble]

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imogen
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quote:
What are we inspiring them to do, I wonder? Marry a cripple or be one?
[ROFL]

Tante, you're an inspiration.

( [Wink] )

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Tante Shvester
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[Smile] ( [Roll Eyes] )
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GaalDornick
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In their defense, they probably meant you were an inspiration because it shows that you really do love your husband because of his personality, intelligence, heart, and all of those other non-physical traits that people claim is most important to them. They probably just didn't think how it would sound to you.
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Tante Shvester
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quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
you really do love your husband because of his personality, intelligence, heart

Nah. I've got an insurance policy out on him. [Evil]
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mackillian
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[ROFL]
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quidscribis
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I NEED to put out an insurance policy on Fahim. [Evil]
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Zamphyr
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Hmm, this column really annoyed me.

Perhaps it's because I don't have children but comments like "you've got your hands full" sound as innocent and mindless as "how 'bout this weather we're having" yet this woman seems honestly offended by the comments. Do parents read into it as "you're kids are being noisy, you're bad parents" ? If so, would you rather these people just come out and say what's on their minds ?

I mean, this parent can't keep her children from playing in sewage in her own yard. She questions her own logic about taking them to the restaurant and then gets bent out of shape when someone else notices "their energy random and frenetic [behavior]".

If she really only wants to hear positive comments about her children (and her parenting skills) as she infers at the end of the column, she should go out less. Or at least only go out when she's relatively certain her kids won't draw attention.


Tante : I would figure "What happened?" is a natural response to seeing a disabled person. I know I'd wonder.

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Shan
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Zamphyr - just remember that old axion:

"Don't knock it, until you've tried it."

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Theaca
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I'm surprised at you, Zamphyr.

"What happened" might be a natural thought but that doesn't mean it isn't extremely rude. MOST people can suppress those thoughts.

People standing and staring at kids and making comments as they continue to misbehave is extremely rude too.

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Tante Shvester
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It is OK to wonder "what happened?"

But picture this: you are born with some sort of congenital problem that leaves you with a visible disability. From your infancy on, everywhere you go, someone is asking "What happened?" Now, maybe you have the heart of a saint, and you understand that the person asking this means no harm. But most likely, you have the same kind of heart as most other people, and you get a little sick of it. Or a lot sick of it. And maybe, when you first meet people, you would like to exchange pleasantries, chat about inconsequential things, perhaps get to know them a little, talk about things you like, things you have in common, instead of immediately being asked to recount, yet again, "what happened".

Could you imagine how it would feel if folk treated you that way?

So it is OK to wonder, of course. And I'm sure that if it is important for you to know, you will. But, like most people who get to know my husband well, they find that "what happened" turns out not to be the most important thing after all.

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Tante Shvester
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But just 'cause I know you aren't satisfied with that answer, he has a form of muscular dystrophy. [Big Grin]
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Goody Scrivener
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quote:
Perhaps it's because I don't have children but comments like "you've got your hands full" sound as innocent and mindless as "how 'bout this weather we're having" yet this woman seems honestly offended by the comments. Do parents read into it as "you're kids are being noisy, you're bad parents" ? If so, would you rather these people just come out and say what's on their minds ?
Personally, when I'm already stressed out and frustrated (for any reason) the least little thing has the potential to send me over the edge. Being told that "you have your hands full" when trying to deal with a tantruming child (or worse, multiple tantruming children) is going to earn you at a minimum a really nasty look and very likely a rant of epic proportions. Yes, I know I have my {bleeped} hands full, I'm not a complete dimwit. Either help or get the {bleep} out of my face.

And this is just as applicable at the office as anywhere else. My bosses have been on the receiving end of some real doozies the last few months!

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airmanfour
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I have a peculiar perspective on interacting with people with disabilities. When i was in pre-school my mother worked at a school for disabled children and they had a seperate school for the employees kids. i attended that school for a couple of years having almost constant contact with "special needs" kids my own age (i was only around five at the time). later, I was a fixture at our county's Special olympics, i worked as a volunteer earlier than the rules allowed because i'd been helping my mother years prevously. but as i was reading the posts i reviewed my own interactions with people that have visible disabilities. I just ignore them (the disablities). is that the expected reaction? just taking a person at face value no matter the physical appearance is just something i grew up with.

Getting back on track, I guess no matter the situation, appreciating people that have a relationship to something popularly considered a trial, that others don't, is admirable, no matter that the person being admired gets nothing but the admiration out of it. I think.

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Zamphyr
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quote:
Originally posted by Theaca:
I'm surprised at you, Zamphyr.

"What happened" might be a natural thought but that doesn't mean it isn't extremely rude. MOST people can suppress those thoughts.

Aw, don't be suprised. I'm rarely described as a normal, everyday person.


It's not like I go up to every disabled person and ask what their deal is, but if I'm going to spend a significant amount of time with them, I prefer to get it out in the open up front.


One of my best friends, who I lived with for a couple of years, lost a leg in skiing accident so I do know how repetitve the question can be. It can also be extremely personal and dredge up feelings they would rather not experience at that time. The need to know is a personal short-coming of mine and I'm not offended if they rudely tell me it's none of my business.


Mother always said curiosity killed the cat. I always assumed that's why we had dogs.

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romanylass
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Perhaps it's because I don't have children but comments like "you've got your hands full" sound as innocent and mindless as "how 'bout this weather we're having" yet this woman seems honestly offended by the comments. Do parents read into it as "you're kids are being noisy, you're bad parents" ? If so, would you rather these people just come out and say what's on their minds ?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Personally, when I'm already stressed out and frustrated (for any reason) the least little thing has the potential to send me over the edge. Being told that "you have your hands full" when trying to deal with a tantruming child (or worse, multiple tantruming children) is going to earn you at a minimum a really nasty look and very likely a rant of epic proportions. Yes, I know I have my {bleeped} hands full, I'm not a complete dimwit. Either help or get the {bleep} out of my face.

Not just that, for me at least. Because I have more than replacement level, even when the kids are being well behaved I wonder if people are implying I should have stopped at two.

Tante- I can see how annoying that must be for you and your husband.

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Belle
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When I see a mother with a disabled child I try to make a point to ask about her child. Not anything to do with the disability, but the typical questions that I get with my (presumably "normal"" children.

A mom of a disabled kid told me once that no one ever asked about or talked about her child to her, she assumed that people were embarrassed, or thought asking about it would be rude or hurtful. Take a grocery store, for example, people would talk and coo over babies in strollers and ask things like "Oh, aren't you cute, how old are you?" to toddlers, etc but when they saw her son with CP in ankle-foot-orthotics because he needed help walking they avoided him and her both.

I don't seek out disabled kids and their parents or anything but if I'm in the situation where I would talk to people and the person near me happens to be a mom with a disabled kid, I make a point to talk to her too and ask about her child. If she wants to tell me about the disability that's fine, but I don't ask questions about it - I'm concerned in getting to know the mom and the child, not the disability. I've made some good friends that way, one mother told me that she'd been standing over by the playground at preschool for over an hour and not one mom had come to talk to her yet, even though the purpose of the time at the playground was for parents and kids to get acquainted. I talked to her, and made a point to talk to her every time I saw her and Abigail and her son Jacob became friends, Jacob couldn't talk, or walk without his crutches, but Abigail said he tried to sing along to all the songs and he could roll a ball with her.

It's been three years since that preschool year and she still remembers Jacob and mentions him occasionally.

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mackillian
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Am I the only person for whom it takes a moment to get used to the physical nature of a disability if there is one? Like, if someone's missing a leg or an eye or somesuch, I can talk to the person like any normal person, but I get distracted by the physical thing until I know the person a bit. Then I don't think of it at all. But during that moment, I feel like a total ass becauase it does distract me.
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Kama
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quote:
Am I the only person for whom it takes a moment to get used to the physical nature of a disability if there is one?
Definitely not. It is distracting.
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JennaDean
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All this is exactly the opposite of the way I see things. I think in certain situations people are mostly trying to think of something - ANYTHING - to say to each other, rather than ignoring each other. I remember when my father died, several people said things to me trying to be comforting, that really bothered me; but at least I knew they were trying, as opposed to those who just avoided me because they didn't know what to say.

It's probably the same thing with "You've got your hands full." I get that all the time; there's no good response to it, and it doesn't help me at all, but it doesn't annoy me because I figure they're just trying to reach out and say SOMETHING. At least people are trying to be friendly, even if they don't know the right thing to say. It's all in how you take it.

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TomDavidson
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That's pretty much how I see it, too, Jenna; people just talk to fill the void, mainly.
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Alcon
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Wow... that's all completely oposite from the way I take such comments when I'm having difficulty.

I usually look at them as the commenter commiserating with my difficulty, even if they are chuckling or laughing such things are often intended in good nature. They are attempts from the commenter to draw a smile from the commentee, to cheer them up. Least that's how I take them.

They aren't intended as any judgement on the parent. I mean, think about the "You've got your hands full comment." That's not saying "hey, you're a screw up parent do a better job!" That's saying "Wow you're brave dealing with that many little kids." Or maybe "Good luck to you." Its good natured, its intended to cheer you up, its admiration. Least unless is said really sarcastically...

And, in many cases, the chuckling just comes from the kids. Kids are cute! Even when throwing tantrums they can be very amusing and cute. The couple in the article didn't stop the laugh at the failing parent, but to stop and watch the kids antics, cause they're amusing and probably becuase the couple was thinking about having kids. Maybe the stopping and staying was excessive, though I got the feeling from the article the writer was exaggerating, but I know when I go by a parent with a kid I often smile at the kid or chuckle. Becuase the kid is cute and warms the heart to watch.

Maybe the comments were intended with negative connotations, but that doesn't mean you have to take them that way. Take the positive connotation and give the commenter a break, you might discover a nice person who was only trying to be friendly.

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Tante Shvester
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quote:
people just talk to fill the void
Yeah. That's how I am about posting on Hatrack!
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mr_porteiro_head
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This sure looks like a whole lot of choosing to be offended by things that we could just as easily choose to not be bothered by*.

*sentence ended with a preposition for your convenience

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Enigmatic
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quote:
One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious, as in It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you all right?
It seemed relevant.

--Enigmatic

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Alcon
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quote:
quote: One of the things Ford Prefect had always found hardest to understand about humans was their habit of continually stating and repeating the very very obvious, as in It's a nice day, or You're very tall, or Oh dear you seem to have fallen down a thirty-foot well, are you all right?

It seemed relevant.

--Enigmatic

[ROFL] [ROFL] [ROFL]
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Sterling
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Unfortunately, someone saying something like "Boy, you sure have your hands full" to a parent struggling with their children isn't like saying "How 'bout this weather" to someone walking by in an office. It's more like saying "How 'bout this weather" to someone who's struggling to come inside in the middle of a storm. You just don't ask someone to take part in mindless pleasantries when their concentration is clearly engaged with something else, let alone stand around to watch them struggling. That's tactless at best.

I'm blessed with a child who is usually pretty good in public, though of course she has her moments. I did have a nasty moment once when an elderly woman came up to us and (failing to engage me at all!) started pulling on my child's pacifier and teasing her. It was all I could do to snarl "Excuse me!" and walk away rather than getting convicted for assault on a senior citizen.

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romanylass
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quote:
That's pretty much how I see it, too, Jenna; people just talk to fill the void, mainly.
***head spins***

Hi, Jenna, I'm Jenna! I don't find many other people my age with that name.

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JennaDean
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I won't be rude and ask your age. [Smile] I never heard it much as a kid either, couldn't find my name stenciled on stuff, but now I hear it a lot.
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romanylass
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No worries, I'm 33.
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JennaDean
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Wow. Conicidence? [Smile]
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Narnia
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You two have some of the same posting 'mannerisms' too. I actually thought 'did romany start posting under a new screen name?' when I saw JennaDean's posts. [Smile] But it's two Jennas! [Big Grin]
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advice for robots
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We got complimented in the checkout line at Target once for how calmly we were dealing with our two screaming, spoiled-rotten kids. I know we both appreciated that compliment. After all, kids will scream, but parents can choose how they will cope with it. I always notice the parents' reaction more than the fuss the kids are making.
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romanylass
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Whoa. I have a long lost twin.

Narnia [Smile] )

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