April 13, 2014

Joe and I have experienced a few moments during the past week where we’ve been in such hair-pulling situations with the boys that we’ve just had to laugh. 

Like last week. Dinner is challenging enough for two working parents. Now that it’s nice outside, we’re lucky to get dinner on the table before 6:45. The boys just want to be outside all evening (it’s light until 8pm now; 10pm in the summer) and by the time we drag them inside and actually cook something, well…

On Monday I got home late from a meeting and Joe was busy trying to get dinner on the table. As usual, by the time we sit down for dinner, I am freaking famished. I’m always hungry but I’m particularly hungry at dinnertime. We start to put Ash in his chair but he out-of-nowhere insists on having milk before dinner. I tell him “no, we’re not having milk now, it’s dinnertime.” And he proceeds to have a hysterical meltdown, push his highchair tray away and refuse to eat anything. While I’m trying to get a few forkfuls of dinner into my mouth, I hear Austin say,”I don’t want that plate!”

Joe: We only have a few of your plates left since that other one cracked.

Austin: What cracked plate? I want to see it.

Why?

Where is it? I want to see it!

Austin, that was a long time ago. We threw that plate away, buddy.

But I want to see it!

Austin, I’m so sorry, but it’s not here anymore. The garbage man took it away with the garbage.

No, get it back! I want to see it! (now in hysterical tears)

This is how Austin has meltdowns. He’s never had an actual tantrum, he just fixates on something AND CANNOT. LET. IT. GO.

I’m sure my mama remembers the black bean incident at the airport. Anyway.

So now, Joe and I are just trying to eat some dinner and this is what we hear in tandem:

“MAMAAAAAAA! Milk! MAMAAAAAA! Milk!” (add hysterical crying and giant tears)

and

“But I want to see the broken plate!” No exaggeration he said this AT LEAST forty-seven times + (add an extremely whiny tone and tears of exhaustion)

So Joe and I just looked at each other and started laughing. I think I ended up cracking up uncontrollably for about 30 seconds because it was the only way I could deal with the situation.

And then today. At Costco.

Austin decides he thinks it’s going to be fun to open every freezer case and put his hand inside to feel the cold. So, naturally, Ash tries to do the same but he’s a hair’s width from slamming his finger in the door every time.

Austin, we’re done with the doors.

WHY?

Because. Ash is going to get his fingers slammed.

(Sound of Austin opening the doors again).

Austin, we’re all done.

(Sound of Austin opening the doors again).

Ok, into the cart for both of you. Luckily Costco has the double child grocery carts.

Now they’re both sitting in the cart crying (for different reasons), and we’re those people who have 2 crying kids at Costco. 

Again, Joe and I turn to each other and wonder, “Why did we think it would be a good idea to bring them both to Costco?!”

Also – side note – if you ever see a person who has filth and goo all over their clothes and you think to yourself, “hmm, I wonder why that person didn’t wear clean clothes today?”

THEY DID.

I took a shower and put on clean clothes today (which believe me is a WIN in itself), but by the time I got home from Costco, you’d think I’d been through the ringer and back with Ash’s boogers all over my sleeves and pizza on my shirt and pants. I really tried to look decent.

I do this at work, too. Sometimes I show up at work thinking, “oh yeah, I look pretty good today!” And then I go into the bathroom with florescent lighting and realize that I am a hot mess with goop on my sleeves, mismatched clothing and bags under my eyes. Ahhhhhh. Parenthood.

On a different note, our neighborhood rocks.

The one thing we missed about leaving the family housing area was the insta-community with all of the families with kids.

We’re realizing that we have the same thing in our new neighborhood since there are about 10 boys under 5 years old within spitting distance, a smattering of girls (mostly older girls who are aspiring babysitters) and cool parents. The past few days have been spent rotating through different neighbors’ yards with bikes, grills, balls and community after a LONG winter.

And they understand our dinner and Costco woes.

 

 

 

 

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March 27, 2014

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Austin and I had a relatively in depth conversation about death the other day. Some people may view that as a morbid topic to discuss with a 4-year old, but he is incredibly smart and I didn’t see any reason to skirt around it. I’m also a believer that the more we avoid talking about death, the more we’re scared of it.

We were talking about the time I ran over a squirrel with the car. This was a while ago but Austin often brings it up. Austin was the only one in the car with me when it happened and I completely, and perhaps inappropriately, freaked out. I have such issues with animal (and human) suffering and cannot contain it. I was sobbing uncontrollably and considering going back to see if the squirrel was okay. I called Joe to ask what he thought I should do, and – as most of you know Joe well — he assured me that there was nothing I could do and to just breathe.

Anyway — Austin was recounting this experience and asked if the squirrel was okay.

“Austin, the squirrel wasn’t okay.”

“Did it have a little blood?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Well, cars are very big and squirrels are very small. I talk to you about how dangerous cars can be for animals because they don’t understand to look out for them.”

“Did it die?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“Because the car is big and heavy and the squirrel is small. Everything dies eventually, Austin. Plants die, birds die, squirrels die, people die. You hope that each being lives a long happy life and that they don’t die young or in an accident. That’s why I got so upset about the squirrel. It was an accident.”

“Oh. Do you know anyone else who is dead?”

“Yes.”

“Where are they?”

“That’s complicated. Some people believe they go to a place where they will be happy or that they are still present in some way but that we can’t see them.”

“Are they invisible?”

“Kind of.”

“But where are they?”

We talked a bit more about it and I could see (in the rearview mirror), the wheels turning in his head. He really wanted to understand.

Don’t we all?

This is one of the million difficult parts of parenting, but at the same time, I appreciate that Austin is getting to the age where we can have deeper conversations. He’s a pretty deep dude.

Here’s one of his knock knock jokes:

Knock Knock

Who’s there?

Banana foot.

Banana foot who?

Banana foot who crossed the road! HAHAHAHAHAHA!

It must be deep because I don’t get it. 

 

 

January 26, 2014

Having the “Bubble Guppies” theme song playing in my head 24/7 can be maddening, but there are worse things I suppose. Wanted to share some winter highlights with these little guys. This winter in Ann Arbor has been, well… wintery. Constant snow and constant low temps so the snow never goes away. Personally, I love it, but I know it’s challenging for a lot of people.

The boys seem to love the snow so we’ve been sledding and going on family hikes through the snow whenever it’s not too cold. It’s a freaking project getting everyone dressed and out the door, but it’s (almost) always worth it.

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Austin loves sledding and hucking himself into mounds of soft snow. Ash likes sledding, too, but would rather go for a walk around the neighborhood and feel the different textures of snow and ice under his feet. When he slips on the ice (if he’s in a good mood), instead of getting upset, he’ll say “whoooaa!” and laugh.

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Austin is still obsessed with Elsa and her ice powers from Frozen. Here’s what annoys me. Disney isn’t exactly known for it’s ability to break down gender norms. Now, I have to admit there’s a twist in Frozen that is impressive in this area, but seriously Disney. Don’t you think that little boys also love the movie? Even big boys! I’m sure you’re counting on it, in fact. They are 50% of the population! Or 49%? Yet, when you try to find a t-shirt for your little son who loves Elsa, every t-shirt that has Elsa or Anna featured is for girls (with frilly sleeves, etc) and is literally labelled “for girls.” The only ones “for boys” have Olaf the snowman on them, which is fine, but c’mon. Joe finally found a t-shirt on Etsy that was more gender neutral that has a picture of Elsa and Anna. Austin will LOVE it.

More snow today and the next day. We’re going to try downhill skiing next weekend with good friends Bill and Adah. Should be fun!!…. ish.

January 7, 2014

Ha! Remember me?

So much for posting daily. I’m going to try again.

Well, it’s -37° with the windchill. Who wants to come visit?! Not everyone at once!!

We’ve had a very wintery winter so far, and mostly it’s been awesome because of all the SNOW! We got a foot on Sunday. Here’s a video of us “sledding” down our driveway.

We had a fantastic holiday break. I was worried we’d go stircrazy over the two weeks, but we had fun sleeping in(ish), playing with new toys and games, visiting the Hands On Museum, hanging with friends, experimenting with Wii Zumba (hilarious!) and enjoying not having to shuttle everyone all over town to daycare and work every day.

Last night, Joe went outside to throw boiling water into the air to watch it evaporate. (It really works!) Austin had recently seen Frozen and LOVES the idea of Elsa’s ice powers. He watches the video of her over and over and pretends to transform the air into ice and snow. When Joe told him to watch out the window as he threw the boiling water into the air, Austin whispered to me, “Is that ice powers?!”

Ash has reverted back to his infant days and wants to nurse every two hours, just because I’ve been around for 2+ weeks. It’s kinda cute but also kinda ridiculous. It’s all going to come to harsh halt in February when I’m gone for 5 days in Santa Fe. Hopefully I can wean him down to minimal nursing by then.

It’s back to work and back to reality now, but it’s also my birthday in 2 days!

Happy New Year, everyone!

November 23, 2013

Monday was Ash’s first day of school. We figured it would be a bit of an adjustment, but it was…

well.this.

Ash was awake at 6:00am. He literally never does this. The earliest he’s usually up is 7:15ish. I believe that babies have an innate sense of what’s going on around them, so I’m sure he knew something was up. Whether he was feeding off of my energy or something else, who knows. But when Ash is up at 6:00am, everyone’s up at 6:00am. yay!

He’s supposed to nap between 1-2:30 at school, which is normally his naptime, but I knew he’d be thrown off since he woke up so darn early. Sure enough, he fell asleep in the car on the way to school and then went into school a little out of sorts. Daddy dropped him off around noon and told me later than he could still hear Ash crying when he dropped Austin off at 1pm. Poor dude. Once he told me this, I decided to talk to his lead teacher, Stacy.

About 3 minutes into me explaining to Stacy that oh my gosh, Ash woke up so early and it’s his first day and he didn’t nap and he’s getting over a cold and he’s a little out of sorts… I realize that the supposed purpose of me calling her (I will explain to her what’s going on with Ash to make her feel better) was actually the opposite (I will feel better after Stacy reassures me that this is completely normal and that Ash is fine). You know when you hear yourself speaking out loud but your inner voice is saying, okay you are now one of those parents who calls daycare to make sure your kid is OK. When in reality, the teachers didn’t even blink an eye when Ash had a little trouble saying goodbye. IT’S HIS FIRST DAY.

Stacy, being the awesome teacher she is, reassured me that Ash was fine and playing with books and toys in the daycare library with Tiffany (another teacher) while the other kids napped. She also said that I can call anytime to check in.

So, for the most part, he had a good day. He played and adjusted after crying for the first hour. When I picked him up, he said “MAMA!” and then immediately started crying (which he does everyday anyway).

I took him to the common room of the daycare center to nurse him, and just then one of Austin’s teachers walks by. “Oh, hi, Chris! How’s Austin doing today? He woke up unusually early.”

Chris tells me that Austin isn’t really acting like himself and probably would be ready to go home early. That makes sense, I thought.

I planned to take Ash home and Grammy was going to take Austin home. (Don’t ask, we had two cars with us at that point.) So, I go up to the front desk and am about to leave with Ash when another one of Austin’s teachers comes up and says, “I think Austin needs to go potty.”

Hmm. So, I tell Grammy to take Ash home and I go to Austin’s classroom to see how he’s doing.

I peek into the classroom and don’t see him anywhere. His teacher points to the floor. I walk around the bookcase, and Austin is lying face down on the carpet in the middle of the room. His eyes are closed. Oh brother.

He opens his eyes and immediately says, “I told you not to come late!!” He says this no matter what time I come to pick him up — early or late, so it’s a no-win situation. I don’t really think he knows what late means, he just heard one of his teachers “scolding” me and Emma’s dad once because we were the last to pick our kids up one day and we were “late.”

I ask him if he needs to go potty.

No.

Do you want to go home?

Yes.

I take him in the car and he immediately falls asleep. whew.

When we get home I transfer him to the couch and he’s wiggling all around and holding his belly. He won’t go to the bathroom, but clearly something is wrong. Joe had mentioned that he was kind of holding his belly in the morning, too, and hadn’t eaten a whole lot.

About 15 minutes later, he’s really wiggling around and then, you guessed it (but I guessed it too late) — vomit all over the couch, the pillows, the floor.

Oh man, sorry buddy. By the time I got a bucket, it was pretty much too late.

I figure now that I may have accidentally (food) poisoned him. The night before I reheated some beans for him and by the time Joe had a few beans, I asked “Do you think those are still good?” and Joe said, “meh.” Hmmm.

So, there’s vomit boy.

Ash fell asleep in the car too and was very cranky trying to eat dinner, so when he said “baa? baaa?”, I said ABSOLUTELY let’s have a bath!

I’d gotten the couch cushion covers, the pillow case, and all the vomit stuff in the wash. Great.

Ash was having fun in the bath, doing his usual thing when all of a sudden he goes to squat. I don’t think much of it until I see his poop face.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Too late again. Ash poops in the bathtub. Are you freaking kidding me right now? Joe, can you bring the mop and anything else that will help?

So, now poop-in-the-tub boy.

This was a first and it’s not exactly easy to clean poop out of a bathtub. I’ll spare you the details, but we could use a few more bath toys.

By the time it was bedtime, we were all ready to be done for the day.

How was your Monday?

November 18, 2013

“Mommy, I love playing flapjack!” says Austin in the middle of a game of slapjack. He is just entering the stage where he can play games, which is very fun. His grammy got him two board games, and he has been exploring the ideas of spinners, taking turns, counting and “winning.” One game is Candy Land, which isn’t exactly the Candy Land you remember, but let’s face it, that was a long time ago. At one point I, the gingerbread cookie, was farther along the path to King Candy’s castle. Austin, the ice cream cone, was farther back on the board, so he suggests, “maybe we can switch spots and I can be the gingerbread cookie now?” Even though the competitive part of me wanted to say “no way, jack!” of course I said, “absolutely!” When Austin got to the castle first, he was so happy. 

Little Asharoo is starting school today. This is his school picture:

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Hard to believe that Ash is about the age Austin was when he first started school. I think Ash will love it eventually, but drop-offs will probably be challenging for a while. He has become somewhat clingy recently, especially with me, so I don’t look forward to the first time I need to drop him off. Joe is much better at it. In some ways it’s easier the second time around because we already know his teachers and we’ve been through this with Austin. It’s still hard though. A new family adventure for all of us.

I’m supposed to be doing this “21-Day Gratitude Challenge” which offers daily prompts for reflection. One of the prompts was “what inconvenience are you grateful for?”

I think Joe and I would both say: bedtime. Joe puts Austin to bed, which involves brushing teeth (not too much toothpaste!), washing hands and face (you just washed the soap down the sink without scrubbing!), reading books and watching Octonauts on the iPad. Sometimes it also involves getting that last drink of water/milk, and/or dealing with Austin flip-flopping all over the bed (see images below).  

I put Ash to bed, which involves brushing teeth (sucking on the toothbrush), turning on the turtle star night light, and nursing. If that doesn’t work, then we enter into stage two which includes the aforementioned flip-flopping all over the bed, sitting up and pointing at the door, saying “mama, mama, mama” in a whiny plea to stay awake, and then eventually me pretending I’m asleep so he’ll give up and fall asleep himself. 

While I wouldn’t say this is the most fulfilling part of our daily lives and can become tedious, I know we will miss this someday.

I am grateful. 

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November 6, 2013

How is it November? I truly had the intention to write more often, but time flies. Actually it is November 6th to be exact which is my and Joe’s 11th anniversary! Some of you are thinking, this isn’t your wedding anniversary. No, it’s not. We tend to celebrate November 6th because it is the anniversary of our first kiss. 

Awww.

Little did we know back then that 11 years later we would have these two little rascals running around. How lucky are we?

Last night Joe and I were laughing hysterically at this blog post that outlines “tests” to determine if you are ready to be a parent. OK, I was laughing hysterically; Joe was chuckling. Here’s one of the tests:

Test #6: Going for a walk with small children

a. Wait.

b. Go out the front door.

c. Come back in again.

d. Go out.

e. Come back in again.

f. Go out again.

g. Walk down the front path.

h. Walk back up it.

i. Walk down it again.

j. Walk very slowly down the road for five minutes.

k. Stop, inspect minutely and ask at least 6 questions about every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue and dead insect along the way.

l. Retrace your steps.

m. Scream that you have had as much as you can stand until the neighbours come out and stare at you.

n. Give up and go back into the house.

You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.

As I was reading this, I was thinking to myself, holy crap this is my life. The only thing that would have made it even more accurate would be to add the following:

o. Realize you really need to leave the house at this point to run xyz errand. 

p. Get kids out the door again. 

q. Close front door

r. Smell something foul.

s. Realize one of your kids has pooped.

t. Sigh deeply

u. Go back in house for the 4th time, change diaper

v. Finally leave the house. 

w. Get 5 minutes away and realize you left your wallet back home.

x. Cry/laugh depending on your mood. 

That would pretty much sum it up. 

The other reality in our life is the “fun” of feeding Ash. Here is the other test I related to:

Test 9: Feeding a 1 year-old

1. Hollow out a melon

2. Make a small hole in the side

3. Suspend the melon from the ceiling and swing it side to side

4. Now get a bowl of soggy cornflakes and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon while pretending to be an aeroplane.

5. Continue until half the cornflakes are gone.

6. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure that a lot of it falls on the floor.

I freaking laughed until I couldn’t breathe with this one. Ash is at the point where he does a decent job feeding himself, but if you leave him for more than 12 seconds, he will do one of the following:

a. throw the rest of what’s on his tray on the floor/wall/table

b. smear the rest of what’s on his tray all over the tray and giggle

c. take both of his hands and smear what’s on them all over his hair

d. you know what’s next… He’ll look at you and say, “baaa?? baaa??” and then, ai-yi-yi, you’re back in the bathroom giving this kid a bath.

Now, I realize this is the month of November and hence a month to be grateful and thankful. Having little kids is like living a dual life of simultaneously feeling exhausted and crazed by the intensity of parenthood and at the same time feeling so in love and in awe of these little wonderful beings. The things I’ve been appreciating the past few days:

Watching Ash pick up every leaf in his path and inspect them, throw them, and try to figure out why they stick to his hand when they’re wet.

Writing numbers on our blackboard with Austin. This morning he wrote 1-50! He says to me, “I’ll learn you your numbers too, mommy! I’m teacher Austin!” 

My absolute favorite thing that makes me melt is watching Austin and Ash play together. This doesn’t happen often but recently it’s been happening a bit more. One thing they’ll do is chase each other in circles around our kitchen island or around the couch in the basement. They’ll giggle and fall down and sort of wrestle. 

Sometimes Austin will even share the iPad with Ash, and we’ll hear him say, “your turn, Ash!” as they’re playing a puzzle game.

So sweet.

Anyway. Happy Anniversary, Bun! Even though this is a nutty time in our life, I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!! 

By the way, if you want to read more of the tests, go to: 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2218515/Think-ready-children-Hilarious-new-parent-test-taking-mummy-blogs-storm-MIGHT-just-off.html

 

 

October 24, 2013

Oh man. It is hard having a sick baby. It became clear to us on Monday that Ash had more than just a cold when he stopped acting like his happy, silly self and started to whine, cry and cling to us at all hours of the day. I made a doctor’s appointment for him at 1pm on Monday and right around noonish he started shivering and his little hands started turning blue. Granted, he had just eaten some smoothie, but this was still not normal. We strapped the boys in the car and headed to drop Austin off at school and then go to the doctor’s office. Right when we arrived in the parking lot at Austin’s school, Ash vomits all over himself and the car. Not a little bit of vomit, but more along the lines of possessed-baby projectile vomit (you know how it goes in a big arc?) all over Ash, the carseat, and the car. AHHHHHHH! I, unsuccessfully, try to hold it together after getting NO sleep and decide to just leave him in his seat, mess and all. I figure there’s no point in pulling him out of the car to clean him up because we’re so close to the doctor’s office.

Five minutes later, in the parking lot of the doctor’s office, I pull him out of the car, stand him up (with giant tears streaming down his face), pull his shirt and pants off, and slip on clean ones. I toss the vomit clothes in a bag and throw them back in the car.  I wipe about 4% of the vomit off the carseat and decide I’ll deal with the rest later.

Turns out the poor kid has a double ear infection. No wonder he had been so miserable. Once we get back home, I spend 30 minutes trying to get the freakin’ carseat out of the car (remember, this is the same carseat that I hate). Cleaning it is another issue, although thankfully most of it is machine washable. The straps will never be the same.

A few days later, and Ash is doing much better. He still insists that I hold and cuddle him while we sleep, so hopefully that will pass. Although it is kinda sweet.

Looking forward to healthier days ahead!

On a different note, we are gearing up for Halloween at the Pehlke Johnson household. Austin had originally planned on being a firefighter — “Fireman Austin!” — and loves his costume… that is, until he found a random scary skull mask at Target and announced he wants to be that for Halloween. Hmmm.

I decided to get Ash a little bee outfit for Halloween because he loves bees and always says “bzzz! bzzz!” while swatting the air with his hands when you ask, “What does a bee say?” He also gets excited when we watch the Bee Movie.

So. Last night I pull out Ash’s costume and put it on him. Immediately, you can guess what Austin says… “But I want to be a bee!” Oh brother. I could have bet money on that one. I actually almost ordered one for him, too.

Stay tuned for what Austin decides!

October 15, 2013

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Ash is 16 months old now. He is at the stage where he can feed himself and insists that he do so. If you try to feed him, he will purse his lips closed and turn his head away. He’s actually getting pretty good at using a spoon and fork, but as you can see in this picture… he misses a lot, too. 

He has started to associate the end of dinner with having a bath. We don’t usually bathe our kids every day, but Ash has started requesting it! At the end of a meal he will now look at us with puppy dog eyes and say, “mmmm. baaaa?” while rubbing his hands in a scrubbing motion across his chest (the sign for bath). He’ll keep saying, “mmmm. baaaa? mmmm. baaa?” until you think, “oh my gosh, this kid is so freaking adorable, how could I NOT give him a bath?!” 

Once you agree, he’ll toddle down the hallway to the bathroom and wait as you turn on the water. He’ll hold his arms above his head for you to take his shirt off and he’ll throw all his bath toys in the tub before you put him in. Last night, once he was in the water, he was splashing all of the bubbles. I scooped a few bubbles in my hand and said, “bubbles!” And then Ash repeated, “bub-ble!” Happy as a clam, that boy.  

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It’s the little things. 

 

October 8, 2013

Exhale.

One of my blog prompts suggested writing about a time when everything went wrong but ultimately turned around. I hesitated to write about my weird experience the other day because I didn’t want to rehash it, but I think it’s important now that some time has passed. 

Two weekends ago I was walking to get my haircut in town. It was one of those days teetering on the brink between summer and fall; the sun was shining, there was a cool breeze and folks were out on the town, trying to soak up what’s left of summer. I was waiting in the crosswalk to cross the street, and when the walk signal flashed, I walked. Completely absorbed in the beautiful day and focused on getting to my appointment (running late), I was completely thrown off when a man walking in the opposite direction side-swipes me and rams his body/elbow into me, HARD. I immediately react unconsciously by yelling, “Ow! What the f&ck?!” and turn around to look at the guy. In the moment I am 99.9% positive that he did it on purpose, but I was allowing for the slight possibility that maybe he was spaced out and I would hear an “oh my gosh, I’m so sorry!!”

No.

Instead, he just stares me down and I stare him down. He keeps on walking in the opposite direction. 

I turn in exasperation to the other folks in the crosswalk and ask, “Did you SEE THAT?!” and they sort of shrug and keep walking. 

At this point I am in total shock and turn around again and the guy is still staring at me. I attempt to memorize what he looks like, but I also just want to keep going and get to my haircut appointment. 

I walk in the door and check-in with the receptionist and immediately start bawling. The folks at the salon were SO UNBELIEVABLY NICE and let me process what had happened. In some ways it was helpful to process it with strangers.

Who knows if the dude was mentally unstable or just angry at the world. I spent some time trying to figure out why this might have happened, and here’s what I came up with. I am very passionate about proactive bystander behavior, as I’ve mentioned previously. Most of the time, the bystander effect plays a big role in how bystanders react to any situation, emergency or non-emergency. The more people present, the more folks don’t get involved, which is otherwise known as the diffusion of responsibility. People generally tend to go with the crowd, comply with social norms and don’t do anything

This is what happened during my particular incident, as well. A few people definitely saw what happened, but they just kept on going… seemingly because they didn’t want to get involved, it was none of their business, they were scared, or whatever. 

But being on the other side, I would have LOVED if someone had in the very least said, “hey, are you OK?” or called the police or helped me in some way. 

I gave a bystander intervention presentation at our student staff training this past Saturday and immediately afterwards, one of my colleagues had the following experience:

He was driving home and passed an intersection where a man was slumped over the steering wheel of his car. The car was sticking out into the intersection, and my colleague honked loudly. Fearing the driver may have had a heart attack or something, my colleague pulled over. A few others had also pulled over, but no one was actually doing anything, so my colleague told one person to call 911 and get the license plate number. At that point, the driver came to and folks could see that there were beer cans all over the front seat and the guy was extremely intoxicated. He tried to start the car but couldn’t figure out how to do it (it was a stick shift). My colleague tried to take the keys from him and tell him that he wasn’t in shape to drive. By the time the cops arrived, the driver figured out how to start his car and tried to drive away. I’m sure he didn’t get far. 

My colleague said, “if we hadn’t just had that training, I might not have stopped because I was tired and wanted to keep going.” How cool is that! He was a proactive bystander and potentially helped avoid injury or worse. 

Then he told me that my boss also intervened an hour later and got someone into an ambulance who needed help. What he actually said is, “she bystood someone into an ambulance.” 

Bystood is now my favorite word.

So, the moral to my story is, if you see something weird, do something. It doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, and obviously keep yourself safe, but you never know how you might change the course of a situation.