Recently, my bestie and I decided to have a Mommy/Daughter Bestie playdate. Her daughter is 5 and mine is 3. I suggested a local nail salon that has a special pink miniature bear shaped pedicure spa chair. That way, we could get pampered and the girls could also indulge. What could be more fun? Turns out, lots of things.
I arrived early to do my nails first, but arranged to have my mom drop off my daughter when my friend arrived. I didn’t want to risk the perils of entertaining a 3 year old with only one free hand. When they all arrived, the girls ran to each other and gave a squeal of delight. They were overly giddy, but only until the novelty wore off.
We walked to the pedicure section to avoid being in the way. My daughter, the younger of the two, seemed apprehensive. She was skeptical of the bear chair and all its jets and spouts. My friend’s daughter, being the bite size diva that she is, had already picked out a cupcake nail design from Instagram. She encouraged my daughter to pick out a polish, and promised her it would be fun! It was so cute. We walked to the polish wall, where my daughter picked out (IMO) a horrendous green. But I wasn’t there to judge. Instead, I suggested a cute glitter polish to put over the green, and she nodded and smiled. I collected the bottles and we walked back to the pedicure area. I placed them on a tray by an empty chair and we began to wait. My daughter in a regular chair and my friend’s daughter in the bear chair.
Let me be blunt. Kids can be obnoxious. And MY KID is the queen of the hyperactive toddler brigade. Like most parents, I’m often terrified of public outings. I always feel so guilty that my selfish decision to procreate will be the one to spoil Bob and Linda’s annual date night at the Burger Shack. It’s not easy. They ARE a handful. But—on this particular day, I actually felt relieved. They were NOT running around, shouting, grabbing things, carrying on. They were sitting in their chairs, laughing, giggling, looking at nail tutorials on YouTube. Their volume may have ebbed and flowed—but we kept them in check. More people came in and were serviced right away—but we didn’t complain.
At this point, the owner walks over to us, grabs the polish bottles from the tray, and reprimands me. It sounded like she scoffed at me about kids holding polish bottles. But my daughter wasn’t holding the bottles, or otherwise even interested in them—so I nodded my head and assumed I misunderstood her. She stomped off. Sensing my confusion, my friend says “but she wasn’t holding the bottle!” “So she did say that?” I asked.
We sensed the hostility, but kept chatting. The girls, bored of sitting in separate chairs, squeezed into a “big girl chair” together. My friend showed them how to work the massage buttons, and we watched them experiment in amusement. We stood by them the entire time, making sure no lines were crossed, items broken, liabilities or injuries incurred (my friend is a doctor and I’m an attorney). Again, the owner walks back and reprimands us—“Tell one to sit over there! They can’t sit together!” I obediently moved by daughter. We continued to wait.
Eventually, we realized we were being ignored. The girls began asking if it was their turn. My once reluctant daughter was now super excited for the experience. When boss lady approached again, I naively felt excitement thinking it was finally our turn. Was she here to fire up the ol’ pink bear?! No. She looked at my friend and said “you need to go sit at the front.” Then she looked at me and said “and you stay here. They can’t be together. They’re too loud.” Ummm– What? There were only 2 other people in the pedicure area—an older couple. And the husband was asleep! The ladies in the manicure area seemed caught up in their own conversations. The girls were probably quieter than they had been the entire time!
I told boss lady that we could do her one better and offered to leave. Without hesitation, she said “Ok.” The irony is that boss lady had a toddler there too. The girl sat there silently the entire time, playing with a phone. Again, I’m not judging. If you can program your kid to speak only when spoken to—then I bow to you! Get yourself an infomercial deal and tell us your secrets, because I know most moms would pay top dollar for it! But the reality is that most toddlers, will, well.. you know.. talk once in a while and laugh and be silly. And moms shouldn’t have to feel guilty for that! Especially when you lured us in with your toddler sized pink bear chair!
So my tip to you boss lady is this—if the sound of happy children is not welcome in your salon—lose the bear chair. And seriously– look into that infomercial deal. You’re sitting on a gold mine.