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An Open Letter to the Nice Lady on the Subway

August 20th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  6 Comments

Dear Nice Lady,

First off, thank you! On our way back from preschool, I sat down next to you on the F train—and Sasha immediately turned crabby. You know the kind of crabby: whining, limp as an overcooked strand of spaghetti, unwilling either to sit or stand or be held.

But you! With the lightning speed of a practiced mom, you pulled from your purse a plastic figurine of unknown provenance, and offered it to my lil’ monster. Fascinated, she took it and held it in her hands. But frankly, her attention was more on you than on the toy: Who is this stranger, I could hear her thinking, who can produce toys for me with such ease? And how can I bring her home?

Alas, the toy was only a temporary salve. After she’d looked it over, and after I tried tickling her with it, Sasha gave up, returning to her limp-noodle mode of exhibiting her frustration. And so I handed the figurine back to you, apologized, and took Sasha into the far corner of the train, where one stop later we debarked.

I don’t know what it is with this kid. The age, right? She can’t not move, not squirm, not fidget. It’s just impossible for her to keep still, like there’s a high-gear motor running within that just won’t shut down. A stage, yes, I’m sure, but a frustrating one. Oh, well.

Anyway, thank you again. I hope Sasha’s failure to appreciate your gift (she even knows how to say—and sign—”thank you,” but she wouldn’t) hasn’t dampened your willingness to aid other parents. And you’ve inspired me, too. From now on, I’ll carry some kind of kid-friendly gewgaw in my pocket, if not to calm down Sasha then for other harried dads like me. For that, double thank you.




  1. dadwagon says:

    August 20th, 2010at 10:31 am(#)

    Matt–yes, squirming and fidgeting is probably a stage; I expect it will end when Sasha turns thirty. –Theodore

  2. Marty says:

    August 20th, 2010at 11:01 am(#)

    30 sounds like a good average. I think I lost it at 32-33 and had some friends who were earlier or later.

  3. Matt says:

    August 20th, 2010at 11:21 am(#)

    30’s fine, as long as I don’t have to carry her or have her sit on my lap.

  4. Nathan says:

    August 20th, 2010at 11:57 am(#)

    Restless Leg Syndrome: there are drugs for it. And was that an action figure in your pocket? I thought you were just happy to see me.

  5. eeo says:

    August 20th, 2010at 1:48 pm(#)

    I’m going to give away the fact that I am from the West Coast by my friendly optimism… These sorts of encounters have happened to me as a parent quite a few times, and I hope I will have many more. Each time something like this happens, it gives me more inspiration to be patient, understanding and helpful with other parents in need. It becomes infectious and there becomes a sense of “we’re all in this together” instead of giving each other dirty “why can’t you control your child” looks or muttering thoughts of superiority under your breath. The truth is, that if you are a parent, you have been with your kids while they have had bad days, bad moments, tantrums and fits in public. As long as the parent is trying their best, a little compassion (or even better, a little help, not “helpful advice”) goes a long way.


    F-ing the Effing F Train | DADWAGON

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