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Rob Sachs Headshot

5 People Who Undercut Parents

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As a parent, I basically want my kids to treat me the same way Eric Cartman wants others to treat him; they should respect my authoritah. It's a daily struggle to keep the little ones in line and I'm grateful for discreetly-imparted tips from family, friends, teachers and wise elders. Unfortunately, there are some out there who simply aren't working with me, making my job vastly more difficult than it needs to be.

I present to you my top five offenders:

1. Overzealous Puppet Show Lady

Who doesn't love a puppet show? I know I can't pass one up. I can also sympathize with puppet show staffers. It can't be easy keeping things under control when dealing with an audience that may or may not be literally pooping their pants during the performance. I try to help in any way I can. I turn off my cellphone. I refrain from using flash photography, no biggie. But that's not good enough for overzealous puppet show lady. She demands all kids AND adults sit criss-cross apple sauce on the carpet. Oh, did your wife bring a diaper bag filled with contraband? Get that outta here! Overzealous puppet show lady, your maniacal quest to rid the theater of empty carpet space and all unobstructed views has left me achy and sore and not wanting more.

2. The Music Class Despot

Yes, I know we're all supposed to be participating and singing along with our tots, but my little angel just kicked me in the jewels and I'm having trouble keeping up with "Hello Everybody So Nice to See You!" Please don't give me a condescending little frown as I wince and gasp for air. And yes, I want to play along and be in full opera recitative style when everything is sung during class, but sometimes it's necessary to break character when conveying the sentiment of "Stop Pulling My Hair!" Then again, Twisted Sister probably has a song for that.

3. Sugar-Shilling Waiters

If you're a waiter at an eating establishment fully stocked with high chairs, color-in kids menus and a juke box loaded with toddler tunes, than you should also be well aware of how to not screw over your parental patrons. For example, you should not march up to a table filled with wee ones and ask, "Can I get you folks anything to drink? Water, juice or a milkshake, perhaps?" Now you've done it! After hearing this question, my 3-year-old pulled a full on Scooby-Doo double take. "Did somebody just say milkshake?!!" Forget the jukebox, the only song playing at our table now is "Gimme Gimme Milkshake, I Wanna a Milkshake!" and it's set on repeat. I glare back up at the waiter. He tells me, "I'll give you a few minutes to decide."

4. The Gym Class Line Crosser

Yes I get it, this is a "class" and it has "rules" and we're all here to learn. But here's the deal: If I'm dropping off my kid, it's your show. If, however, I'm in the class too, then this arrangement is more of a you do your best to instruct my kid, I'll do my best to make sure she doesn't run away, hurt herself or maim the girl with the long pigtails. It's a partnership and part of that agreement means you don't have the right to threaten my kid with a timeout for lingering too long on the trampoline. I'm standing right here dude, I've got this. Don't make me mutter words I don't want to say in front of my kid.

5. The Pugnacious Pediatrician

Nice pediatricians are encouraging. They tell you eventually you'll get more sleep and not to worry if your kid shows up for a checkup sporting a few boo boos. Then there are the pediatricians who waltz into the examination room (after you been sitting there for 35 minutes), see your ailing daughter wearing a tutu (because she happens to be in a tutu wearing phase) and asks, "Sick enough for school but I guess not sick enough for ballet class?" Or perhaps she accuses you of not applying enough sunscreen to your kid who happens to tan more easily than her sibling. You know where you can stick that stethoscope, lady?

So, those are my top five, but while I'm at it, I thought I'd throw in a bonus offender. Technically, this doesn't fit because I wasn't a parent yet when the diss occurred, but whatever. My wife and I deem this gem of a woman:

BONUS: The Out-of-Line Childbirth Class Instructor

I recognize some people choose to have a "natural" childbirth without the assistance of an epidural. We chose otherwise. Keeping this in mind, do you think you might have found another term for our birth choice other than "unnatural" or "medicated"? Wanting to reduce pain during delivery does not make you a junkie. Also, after all the other couples in the class inform you that they're opting for epidurals as well, is it really necessary to show three videos of women screaming their faces off during delivery and then fawning over how "absolutely beautiful" that was? Not cool, lady.

So, that's my top five plus one, but something tells me there's more offenders out there... let me know your worst.