Toddler screaming for over an hour in a store - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-08-2009, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so this happened a week ago and is still bothering me. I was at the grocery store, and it was about 8:30 p.m. As soon as I got my basket and started shopping, I heard a toddler start crying. Screaming. Heartwrenching to me. I saw the kid w/his parents a few minutes later. The dad was commenting on how he couldn't think because of his child. The mom looked frazzled and just kept putting things in the basket. I did not judge. I just thought maybe he'd asked for something and was told no and was reacting to that. Fast forward THIRTY minutes later and I could still hear him. By that time I was starting to get a headache and was really distracted from my own shopping tasks. Fast forward another 20 minutes and I got in line to check out. They were several lanes over and the child was still crying this awful heartwrenching cry. Just exhausted and sobbing. The parents still.had.not.picked.this.poor.child.up. Maybe it's wrong, but by that time I could not help but to judge, yk? Here is this child who is obviously miserable, and the parents are looking around at everyone looking at them and acting like THEY were the ones who deserved some sympathy. Everyone in line was talking about how they just couldn't believe the parents weren't tending to the childs needs. They didn't pick him up. They didn't try to distract him. One parent could have taken him outside and rocked him, sang to him, anything. I was just shaking and about to cry myself by the time I got out of there!

What, if anything, would you all have done in this situation? My kids were all w/their dad having ice cream. I guess I could have offered to help, but both of those parents were able-bodied, etc...

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Old 07-08-2009, 10:52 PM
 
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Well, having a child who *has* thrown a major tantrum at the store because he couldn't have something he wanted, I would have felt sorry for them.

My DS does not want cuddles or hugs or to be picked up, if I try he will scream bloody murder. I may or may not be able to distract him, it really depends on how tired / hungry / thirsty etc he is.

I probably would have left way before then, because I wouldn't have wanted to subject everyone else in the store to the screaming and crying but maybe they really, really needed to do the shopping and had no choice but to go.

8.30pm does seem awfully late to take a small child to do a big grocery shop.

It's complicated.
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:54 PM
 
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Two parents and the people didn't have one parent take the kid out of the store while the other continued shopping? What was WRONG with those people?

One parent, I would've been sympathetic and assumed the kid would just freak out worse if picked up. Two parents, I would've been sympathetic for 5 minutes.

And after 10 minutes, I would've gone over and said something like "Hi, could one of you please take your kid outside?" Hoping that either they'd 1. do it. Or 2. get so mad about someone telling them what do to that I could relieve some frustration by yelling back at them.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:02 PM
 
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I'm sympathetic when I see parents in difficult situations with their children out in public. No matter what they do, someone will take issue with it.

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Old 07-08-2009, 11:06 PM
 
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Can't say I'm sympathetic. With two sets of hands someone could have taken that poor child out of the store (regardless of the reason for the tears) to at the very least show some respect for everyone else in the store. Unacceptable in my books.

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Old 07-08-2009, 11:16 PM
 
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And after 10 minutes, I would've gone over and said something like "Hi, could one of you please take your kid outside?" Hoping that either they'd 1. do it. Or 2. get so mad about someone telling them what do to that I could relieve some frustration by yelling back at them.
Seriously? SERIOUSLY?? My kid will scream for an hour, no problem. Doesn't matter what I do, he screams. It's extremely loud and I'm sure it bothers people in the store. It bothers me. But if I ever had someone come up to me and tell me to take my kid out of the store...



I think that is extremely rude.

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Old 07-08-2009, 11:23 PM
 
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Seriously? SERIOUSLY?? My kid will scream for an hour, no problem. Doesn't matter what I do, he screams. It's extremely loud and I'm sure it bothers people in the store. It bothers me. But if I ever had someone come up to me and tell me to take my kid out of the store...



I think that is extremely rude.
I agree. Yes, it breaks my heart to hear a wee one cry, but I would never suggest someone remove him/her from a public place, and I might have a few choice words for anyone who suggested it to me.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You know, I don't know that I could have asked them to leave, as I don't feel that is my territory. And I do understand that some kids freak out worse when picked up (I have a friend whose child is like that). But yeah, it seemed awfully late for them to have a small child out for something like a big grocery shop (and it was a really big, really full basket). And if it had only been one parent, I would have definitely been more sympathetic to the parent. But it was two parents. And a LONG time for a small child to be screaming and crying like that. If it had been me, and I'd been there alone, I would have had to leave. I would have had to come back later that night after my child was in bed and dh could watch him, or I would have come back in the morning after my child was rested/fed/whatever. They were obviously shopping for a party (this was July 3), as was I, but no party would have been worth leaving my child to scream for that long w/out at least doing *something* like leave and come back or one parent take the child somewhere else.

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Old 07-08-2009, 11:51 PM
 
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DD's friend (4 years old) with sensory issues skinned his knee at our house. He literally sobbed for 2 straight hours. There was nothing that could comfort him (and he had 4 adults trying). I'm sure the neighbors thought "someone should pick that child up!" or "what's wrong with those parents! Why don't they DO SOMETHING!!!"

Who knows what the child's history is, and whether the parents were handling it to the best of their abilities or were neglectful. I only know that I, as a stranger, have way less information than they do, and compassion for the whole family is rarely the wrong response.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:52 PM
 
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I've seen that around here and it drives me insane. I don't care what you're doing, why your kid is crying, you need to remove them from the public area. The child is unhappy and you are driving everyone else crazy. Unless you're buying something vitally important like meds or diapers or something you need to leave and deal with whatever the problem is, even if dealing means going home and trying again tomorrow. I will leave my full cart (I tell a store employee if I have meltable food in there) rather than subject an entire store to my child screams no matter why she's screaming.

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Old 07-08-2009, 11:56 PM
 
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I've seen that around here and it drives me insane. I don't care what you're doing, why your kid is crying, you need to remove them from the public area. The child is unhappy and you are driving everyone else crazy. Unless you're buying something vitally important like meds or diapers or something you need to leave and deal with whatever the problem is, even if dealing means going home and trying again tomorrow. I will leave my full cart (I tell a store employee if I have meltable food in there) rather than subject an entire store to my child screams no matter why she's screaming.
I have done this.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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Seriously? SERIOUSLY?? My kid will scream for an hour, no problem. Doesn't matter what I do, he screams. It's extremely loud and I'm sure it bothers people in the store. It bothers me....
If you were there with your husband you would walk around the store letting your son scream instead of taking him out while your husband finished shopping? Would you mind explaining that line of thought? Because it makes no sense to me whatsoever except that maybe the parents were too frazzled to think of it, which is why I would've suggested it to them.

I already said I would just have sympathy for a parent alone.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:57 PM
 
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you know, at first after reading this, I thought "well, maybe the kid was having a tantrum and the parents were trying not to give in to the tantrum..." but, even if that were the case, or no, no matter WHAT the case, the child should have been removed from the store at the very least.
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Old 07-08-2009, 11:59 PM
 
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It isn't fair to the CHILD to continue in the store instead of going outside to walk around.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:02 AM
 
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On the one hand, I DO feel sorry for parents who having fussing children. Anytime I see a child throw a tantrum in the store I smile supportively at the parent and I have tried to distract a screaming child in a store. I try not to judge...on the other hand...

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Seriously? SERIOUSLY?? My kid will scream for an hour, no problem. Doesn't matter what I do, he screams. It's extremely loud and I'm sure it bothers people in the store. It bothers me. But if I ever had someone come up to me and tell me to take my kid out of the store...

I think that is extremely rude.
Seriously, I have to ask, would you SERIOUSLY ignore a crying child in a public place for a full hour?????? Would you SERIOUSLY allow a child to SCREAM for a full hour in a store?

I think it's rude AND CRUEL to force that experience on the child and everyone else in the store.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:04 AM
 
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I was in Wal-Mart once and there was a child sitting in a shopping cart while his mother was wheeling him around the store, SCREAMING bloody murder at the top of his lungs. You could actually hear this kid screaming from across the store, that's how loud he was. Everybody in the store was looking at her, wondering why she didn't leave. This kid was OUT.OF.CONTROL. They finally left, after standing in a checkout line for about 15 minutes because it was crowded and busy. The mother was laughing--she thought it was funny!! . A kid giving the parent a hard time about something is one thing. For a kid to scream uncontrollably for an hour is a behavior problem that no one else but the parents should be exposed to---it certainly isn't the fault of other shoppers that this kid is out-of-control. To keep a screaming child in a store while you continue to shop is very disrespectful and inconsiderate to other people---and, I don't think there's anything wrong with someone confronting the parent about it. If the parent gets offended, then a rebuttal isn't too difficult---the ENTIRE STORE is offended that you have decided to continue with your shopping even though your kid is having a meltdown and you obviously have no control over the child or the situation!! It is not "rude". What is "RUDE" is letting your screaming child completely disrupt a store by their poor behavior, and the lack of any sort of consideration for other people by the parent. I'd love to see a person walk up to the parent and start screwming at the top of their lungs, and then follow them around the store doing that...........and see if it bothers the parent. LMAO!!!
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:07 AM
 
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I was in Wal-Mart once and there was a child sitting in a shopping cart while his mother was wheeling him around the store, SCREAMING bloody murder at the top of his lungs. You could actually hear this kid screaming from across the store, that's how loud he was. Everybody in the store was looking at her, wondering why she didn't leave. This kid was OUT.OF.CONTROL. They finally left, after standing in a checkout line for about 15 minutes because it was crowded and busy. The mother was laughing--she thought it was funny!! .
Well - I didn't laugh, but I have been the mum at Wal-Mart for a prolonged screaming fit.

My son had an ear infection and we were waiting for the prescription to be filled. My husband was away on business and my dad was having day surgery and my mum was with him.

It was really not fun.

ETA: Also, it was winter. And also, I had been up all night, so I don't claim my powers of distraction/soothing/coping were at their high point.

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Old 07-09-2009, 12:14 AM
 
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I think we can also judge whats going on with other peoples children by their cries. I can make out an "I want that!" cry compared to a "heartwrenching" cry. It sounds like the OP noticed it was not just a tantrum, but that something was going on.

I experienced this at Wal Mart once. A lady had two toddlers and a very obvious newborn. The newborn cried hysterically while she walked through the store for about ten minutes. My mama instinct wanted to scoop him from his infant seat and soothe him desperately. I kept thinking she would pick him up at any moment, but she did not. She stood in line for ten more minutes while this teeny, tiny baby sobbed. She paid, and headed out the door while her newborn screamed. Even stopped to get the toddlers gumballs. There was NO excuse for that and it took all I had not to chew her a new a-hole. Seriously. She was obviously not in a hurry at all, but could not tend to a newborns needs. Ugh.

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Old 07-09-2009, 12:25 AM
 
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I am sure I would have done the same and ignored them and went on my way. But if I was passing by them I may have said something like "Aw, is it past his bedtime? I've been there with my kids and I've had to leave and come back later, at least there are 2 of you here so one could take him outside if you had to." And then smile warmly.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:28 AM
 
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This is why the I think parents should've taken the child out of the store, or that the store managers should've suggested it. The store stays open to make money. The sound of loud and continuous screaming generally repels and annoys people. It would make me want to leave earlier rather than linger and presumably buy more stuff. In Florida, the business license of a restaurant can be jeopardized if it allows any sort of hostile environment to persist without stepping in once alerted to it. I guess what I'm saying is that I doubt the store wishes to attract the type of shopper who can tolerate bloody murder screaming. Even if it did, there are some parts of the country where this sort of activity could result in the state penalizing the business or in theory revoking their license. Like if a grown man were screaming unintelligably for a long time at a restaurant, the staff have a duty to either ask him to leave or call the police.

I feel sorry for everyone involved. I have never heard continuous screaming for that long.
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Old 07-09-2009, 12:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think we can also judge whats going on with other peoples children by their cries. I can make out an "I want that!" cry compared to a "heartwrenching" cry. It sounds like the OP noticed it was not just a tantrum, but that something was going on.

I experienced this at Wal Mart once. A lady had two toddlers and a very obvious newborn. The newborn cried hysterically while she walked through the store for about ten minutes. My mama instinct wanted to scoop him from his infant seat and soothe him desperately. I kept thinking she would pick him up at any moment, but she did not. She stood in line for ten more minutes while this teeny, tiny baby sobbed. She paid, and headed out the door while her newborn screamed. Even stopped to get the toddlers gumballs. There was NO excuse for that and it took all I had not to chew her a new a-hole. Seriously. She was obviously not in a hurry at all, but could not tend to a newborns needs. Ugh.

Yes. I have 4 kids, from 20 all the way down to 2. I know there was something wrong--I know those cries. It just kept escalating and the poor child was so tired from the experience. It appeared to everyone around (because they all said so!) that he had just completely given up that his parents were there for him. Like that tiny baby who is left to CIO alone and learns not to trust that his parents will be there.

And I've heard the newborn thing, too. I can't stand it. It makes me hurt in my heart. One time my dh and I were Christmas shopping at Target. This woman was there w/her baby in a bucket/carseat and it was a TINY baby. My dh had our youngest in a sling, and he kept pacing in front of this lady, pointing to his sling and making cradling/pick up your baby motions w/his arms. She.just.kept.looking.at.a.stupid.watch while her baby cried pitifully all by herself.

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Old 07-09-2009, 12:45 AM
 
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there are any number of good reasons why junior was crying, why the parents let it continue, why they were out that late...but yeah, after a while dad should have taken him out to the car or something.

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Old 07-09-2009, 12:45 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am sure I would have done the same and ignored them and went on my way. But if I was passing by them I may have said something like "Aw, is it past his bedtime? I've been there with my kids and I've had to leave and come back later, at least there are 2 of you here so one could take him outside if you had to." And then smile warmly.
Oh, I didn't just ignore it. That would have been impossible. I didn't offer to help, and stated why in a previous post, but I walked by several times and commented that it was late for such a little boy and is he tired? That sort of thing. They just grinned and shrugged their shoulders. I know they spoke English because I heard them talking to each other.

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Old 07-09-2009, 01:16 AM
 
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I only know that I, as a stranger, have way less information than they do, and compassion for the whole family is rarely the wrong response.
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:55 AM
 
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If you were there with your husband you would walk around the store letting your son scream instead of taking him out while your husband finished shopping? Would you mind explaining that line of thought? Because it makes no sense to me whatsoever except that maybe the parents were too frazzled to think of it, which is why I would've suggested it to them.

I already said I would just have sympathy for a parent alone.
I can tell you if someone came up to me and "suggested" I take my son out of the store, I would not. I'm obstinate like that. I'm not saying that I wouldn't take my son out of the store if I were the parent in question, but that if someone came up to me and suggested I did I'd be pretty angry. I'm not saying I wouldn't do differently than the parents in question, I would. I'm just responding to the idea that you would tell someone else how to parent their child.

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Seriously, I have to ask, would you SERIOUSLY ignore a crying child in a public place for a full hour?????? Would you SERIOUSLY allow a child to SCREAM for a full hour in a store?

I think it's rude AND CRUEL to force that experience on the child and everyone else in the store.
If it wasn't my child, you bet I would. I don't presume to tell people I see/hear/smell in a store how to parent, and I don't allow anyone to do that to me, either.

Do I think it's right for a parent to let their child scream in the store? Absolutely not. Do I think it's right for a parent to let their child "explore/run around" in a store? Absolutely not. That doesn't mean I'm going to go around being the Parenting Police. "Excuse me, your child is disturbing me and other shoppers. Please leave." No thank you, I'll just mind my own business.

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Old 07-09-2009, 02:20 AM
 
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DS has cried for two hours straight, when he was sick. Even with us taking turns holding him and trying to comfort him, he cried. There are also times/phases of crying when picking him up makes it worse.

Could the child have been teething? If so, it's possible they'd been crying all day, sometimes even with medication.

As for being out late, you really never know. There was a time when my parents worked three jobs each to keep the family afloat. In a situation where they're working multiple jobs like that, 8:30 pm might have been their only chance to go shopping.

For that matter, perhaps the child was special needs. I seem to recall reading articles about autistic children, that would scream in public.

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Old 07-09-2009, 02:40 AM
 
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I agree. Yes, it breaks my heart to hear a wee one cry, but I would never suggest someone remove him/her from a public place, and I might have a few choice words for anyone who suggested it to me.
ITA on this.
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Old 07-09-2009, 02:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS has cried for two hours straight, when he was sick. Even with us taking turns holding him and trying to comfort him, he cried. There are also times/phases of crying when picking him up makes it worse.

Could the child have been teething? If so, it's possible they'd been crying all day, sometimes even with medication.

But would you have taken your child out shopping when the child is sick? I sure wouldn't. And the child was a toddler, but an older one, who was likely not teething.

As for being special needs, I wouldn't know.

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Old 07-09-2009, 02:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Crystal_R View Post
I've seen that around here and it drives me insane. I don't care what you're doing, why your kid is crying, you need to remove them from the public area. The child is unhappy and you are driving everyone else crazy. Unless you're buying something vitally important like meds or diapers or something you need to leave and deal with whatever the problem is, even if dealing means going home and trying again tomorrow. I will leave my full cart (I tell a store employee if I have meltable food in there) rather than subject an entire store to my child screams no matter why she's screaming.
Aw man. Until recently I didn't have a vehicle and coming back the next day (with horribly swollen feet and pregnant belly) just wasn't an option due to the many appts I have. I was given dirty looks for my daughter crying as I waited in line to pay (for about 15 agonizing minutes). I've also had DD tantrum after 1.5 hours on a bus...no freaking WAY I'd be getting off that bus to appease someone else, that IS our way home. I'd of course be comforting her but my concern would be in attending to HER needs, not that of some stranger who can't stand to have a few minutes of their life upset by a crying toddler. That's life! Kids exist, they cry, and public places are just that!!! I hear people yakking TMI on their cellphones, stinking up public places, being drunk and somehow it's always the crying kid that gets the attitude.

If anyone had said something to me I would have gone hormonal on them.
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:22 AM
 
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2 adults and 1 screaming child, obviously one of the adults needed to take the child outside or to the car etc... *if* i happened to be shopping in that store and continued to hear the screaming, i probably would have gone to customer service and let them know I was leaving and why. My grocery bills are routinely over $250... and my grocery store knows my... like it or not I do not have to shop and listen to JR scream his lungs out...

As a consumer I have the right to shop in peace. If i bring my kids to the store I make sure they are well behaved, sometimes they to go the kids playcenter (our store has free daycare for kids ages 2-8 during certain hours) if my kids start getting whiney WE LEAVE, end of story, any store, any time, any place. baby, toddler, older kid, bad manners, bad attitude, we all pack up and leave...
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