A Wretched Ren
by Justine Willowhawk

I left my house w/ my 2 sons...loaded the car to the maximum capacity (roof/seats/trunk) and we drove 250 miles to an renaissance event. The weather was in the high 80's/low 90's and we were all hot and tired. Merchant space was first come first serve so I went down the row and deposited my carload and proceeded to set up my booth, dining area, and tent. My 3 year old son wandered next door and tried to make off w/ the neighbors box of crackers. She offered him a couple but he wanted the whole box (typical of him). My neighbors then proceed to tell me how they don't have kids this age/theirs are grown and out of the house and they don't speak 'toddler'...etc. She says "I always make children say please and thank you". Do you force every ADULT to say 'please' and 'thank you' .... I don't think so. But hey...a 3 year old who's learning constantly should just DO IT, right? This was a sign of things to come I think.

So we go back to our booth and I am sure there was a mini tantrum by the 3 year old. So the other neighbor moves in (on the other side of my booth) and she has a dog! So here we go again. They child wants to play with the dog, then he just kept wandering over again and again and I am just trying to get my camp set up. He's not behaving, this is quite evident. Tantrum after tantrum, getting into things...he walks into the 'cracker ' booth...NOT cool, then wanders under their back wall ... NOT cool ... and still I am trying to get camp set up. My oldest (13 years old) is child wrangling as well as helping me. So the cracker neighbors start whispering on the best way to block off their wall to keep the child out....and whatever else I didn't hear. But oh joy, I did get to hear their catty gossip and cursing all evening long. Then another tantrum when he can't play w/ a friends toy. By now I have just about had it...pulling my hair out. Sat down in my booth and started crying. We have dinner, and the boys go to bed. Child doesn't want to sleep but at least the screaming tantrums were over. Dog barking all night w/ my other neighbor...wheeee...we are having fun now. Realizing this was the biggest mistake I have ever made...to bring the boys! I thought ... hey it's the renaissance people ... they proclaim to be 'fun for ALL the family' evidently just not my family. I felt really embarrassed that the child was behaving this way, but also upset that there was such feeling of animosity from both my merchant neighbors.

So this morning I am woken by the neighbor dog...at 8 am. Her loud dog, my loud child. We wander to the potty, and on the way back my neighbor w/ the dog has put out all her second hand goods...conveniently putting the toys RIGHT NEXT TO MY BOOTH!!! Right where we have been walking for the last 12 hours. Well I am sure you can guess what happens next...he gets a toy...I was going to pay for it, because I knew it was something that he would play with (a dragon) but before I could get my money she took it from him. I am standing behind her trying to give her the money and she's lecturing him and he's having a tantrum. I am trying to calm him and pay...and finally I just put the money in his hand and the dim bulb in her head goes off and realizes that I am buying it. So she's already walked the 15 feet to put it away...the child goes to the edge of her booth (10 feet from her) and holds out the money while sniveling trying to calm down. He's figured out that this paper in his hand will trade for the dragon. So she looks at him and says "you need to come up here like a regular customer". Now he's already gotten this into his head...paper for dragon?? Doesn't understand why the lady won't take the paper things and give him the toy. She comes over and picks him up (with my permission...and I am just pulling my hair out at this point)...he starts crying again...she takes him up front
and takes the money and gives him the dragon. Then he starts picking up the action figures trying to make one fit on the dragon's back...the merchant starts in again "these are mine not yours...etc" He was just trying to find a 'guy' to ride the dragon ... to see if one fit. ARGHHHH. Then she asks if he's mechanically inclined and I said yes. She gets some spider toy that transforms and shows him this. WHY IS SHE SHOWING HIM MORE TOYS??? She shows it to him, OF COURSE he wants it. She makes him trade the dragon for
it...mini tantrum ensues. I call my husband while the boys eat breakfast (yes...all this in the first 15 minutes we are awake) and I tell my husband that I am packing down after the site closes to the public. I'll be home tonight. Then my child says..."but I wanted the dragon!" Ok ... that's it ... let's go for a walk. I went and found the 1 merchant I knew, she has kids...tell her what has been happening and that I am NOW going to go get my car and load up and get the heck out of there BEFORE the site opens to the public. Find the merchant in charge and tell him I need to leave...no problem. As I was pulling my car in, another merchant had arrived late...and I knew her. I told her she could have my spot in the middle of merchants row but I needed help w/ a quick tear down. So we are tearing me down/loading me up...and unpacking her truck at the same time. Now I am just really upset and sooooo mad.

Sandwiched between 2 people who so despise children....what a splendid time to be had.

I am 3/4 the way loaded up and the dog neighbor looks at my child who had the dragon (I gave my oldest the money to purchase it) and the doglady just shrugged and pointed and I just barked..."it's paid for...it's paid for" and she replied "what's going on". My reply...I am OUTTA here...going home. She wants to know ...is it something I said...something I did? I told her she was just a contributing factor and that I didn't appreciate all the animosity shown by people and I thought the renaissance people were supposed to be for family fun.

About 10 minutes later the cracker neighbor comes over and pats my shoulder and says..."My lady I know you are stressed but have you ever thought of having your son tested for "....."(I didn't hear what she said). My reply..shooting daggers at her through my sunglasses, and hissing thru my teeth "he's 3 YEARS OLD!!!". She then proceeds to tell me about ADD/ADHD and how it's never too early to get them diagnosed because her son behaved this way at 3 and he had 'whatever disease' and now he's in foster care. In ALL my life I have never been so insulted and humiliated by someone...but this person takes the cake.

I replied w/ my back to her "thank you I'll check into it". That was it...I lost it...broke down in tears and left to find my merchant friend. I mean when will it end...how ruder and mean and nasty do these people have to be.
1) ADD/ADHD/whatever disease she mentioned .... I am sure this is a totally CORRECT diagnosis from someone who had spent 10 waking hours next to this child .. EVER!
2) Does she REALLY think I am going to take the advice of someone who's own 10 year child is in foster care now? Maybe if I knew why the kid was in foster care...but I don't so I am going to be judgmental about her parenting skills. Uh...pot meet the kettle.

My child friendly merchant friends helped me w/ the remaining loading, I said my good byes as well as "I don't think I will be back next year" got in my car and we got the heck out of dodge. My son was fine the whole way home even while traffic was rerouted due to a tanker explosion on the interstate. It took 5 hours to get home, and 2 months to not hate these people.

I lost money, sanity and any respect I would have had for a few people that weekend!!!

At the next event someone asked me 'where are your brats' and I unleashed hell on her.  In a few choice phrases I told her that my children are too good to be treated so poorly.

Return to the Gryphoemia main page

Can't find what you want here?  Try The Henna Page Main Index.