I look like a terrible mother - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 32 Old 05-16-2011, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sometimes when I am out with my daughter I feel everyone looking at me and judging me for being an awful abusive mother.

DD does this thing where she likes to let her body go limp while I am holding her hand and suddenly I am dragging her down the street while I am holding her hand. She thinks it is hilarious (she does it on purpose) but I definitely get stares for being that mother who is physically dragging her kid home by one arm. She insists on walking everywhere, screams hysterically in her stroller, does not want to be carried and often tantrums when crossing the street forcing me to grab her around the waste and carrying her kicking and screaming across every major street. We live in Manhattan so this happens every 2 minutes. I know I am not a bad mother at all but the visuals must look just awful. 


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#2 of 32 Old 05-16-2011, 08:21 PM
 
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I don't have any advice, but I can commiserate.  My DD does that in the middle of a tantrum and there really is no other option than dragging a limp body around.


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#3 of 32 Old 05-16-2011, 08:31 PM
 
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My child is always banging his head on something, and always has a scab or bruise or bump on his head. I know it looks awful but I would have to follow two inches behind him without my eyes glued on him to prevent them... 

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#4 of 32 Old 05-16-2011, 08:49 PM
 
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Your girl is just about to turn two, right? So anyone in the know is aware that this is a difficult age. My kid is basically an angel and he used to have tantrums at that age. I have a few tips for how to avoid them, but you can't avoid them entirely because it's normal for their age to test limits and to lose control of their emotions when they're frustrated, both. People may be staring because they feel bad for you, or because she's a great looking baby, or because they're tired and wish they could have a tantrum, too--you have no idea, so don't worry. 

 

The first tip is to try to keep to the fewest number of stops on an outing as you can. You don't want to tire her out because she won't go to sleep, she'll melt down.

 

The second tip is, try to be at home or at a park or another place where you don't care if she tantrums or melts down, so you can let her know that when you have the time and energy, it's OK for her to have a tantrum. Some of this acting out is a scientific experiment to find out how you will react, so if you set up some conditions where you don't have a big satisfying freakout when she cries, she will lose interest. My kid had nearly all his tantrums in the grocery store in the checkout line, since that was pretty much the only place it really bugged me, and we couldn't leave. In other places, I would say, "If you need to have a tantrum now, it's OK with me," and he would cry for a minute and then change gears. 

 

You can ask her when you go out for a walk if she can hold your hand and march across like a big girl, or you can insist on the stroller before you leave the house (good opportunity to deal with a tantrum where you don't feel embarrassed!) 

 

Those were the days. I really miss them. I love how much fun I have with my son these days, but that toddler phase was so great.


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#5 of 32 Old 05-16-2011, 11:27 PM
 
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This may not be practical for you, but with my kids I give them two options - so in your situation it would be walk nicely or ride in the stroller.  I'd state the options, bring the stroller and go on the walk.  So if the flop happened it'd be a ride in the stroller and stay in there until we got where we were going.  If there is already that much flopping and kicking and screaming going on, her letting out the same frustration in the stroller would be no worse for her and better for you, IMO.

 

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#6 of 32 Old 05-16-2011, 11:37 PM
 
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ah, the floppy body trick! 

 

Hey, don't let any outsiders get to you; I swear it seems like everyone who seems shocked or annoyed at toddler behavior must have long forgotten how their own kid was at that age (or maybe they are childless - I dunno). 

 

And for every person you think is looking at you and judging, there are likely twice as many who totally understand and have probably BTDT themselves. 


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#7 of 32 Old 05-17-2011, 05:15 AM
 
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My dd2 does this. And she usualy does this because she is mad I won't let her hold/do/go somewhere or something at the exact moment we need to be somewhere else. And 90% of the time my arms are already full of other things. Its great, no?

 

I often end up carrying her like a football, because that is all I can manage without leaving her rolling around a parking lot while I go put stuff down or let my dd1 in the apartment building. I probably look nuts, but then again, a lot of people around here have kids so probably btdt. I can always blame it on being foreign orngtongue.gif


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#8 of 32 Old 05-17-2011, 05:24 AM
 
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Anyone who judges you for that has obviously never spent 2 seconds with a toddler (or had the world's easiest toddler...)

When DS tried pulling the floppy-body trick, I hung my arm down super low so he couldn't hang and had no choice but to sit down or stand up and walk. Fortunately he chose stand up & walk, and after a few times he stopped trying and just walked normally. I guess I took the fun out of it. So maybe I just lucked out, or maybe it will work for you too!!

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#9 of 32 Old 05-17-2011, 06:49 AM
 
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I have a 3 year old who has a terrible time with transitions and he does the floppy body thing quite regularly. Now my 1 year old is getting to the stage where she hates to have her hand held, so in situations when I have to hold her hand (like when we're leaving the library after storytime) she often does the floppy body too.

 

What usually ends up happening after story time is that I carry dd under my arm with her flailing and screeching like a fire alarm, while I drag ds by the arm as he lays limply across the floor. We make quite a picture I'm sure.

 

My philosophy (and I have said this once in a not-so-great mommy moment to a commenting bystander) if you don't like what you're seeing, turn your head and don't look. But really. I doubt *everyone* is judging you. Although I have to say, the mommy wars/competition/one upping that I've seen in Manhattan is INSANE. But even so, don't let it get to you. It's not about how you *look* anyway, as long as your kids are happy and thriving, and you are the best judge of that!


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#10 of 32 Old 05-17-2011, 10:25 AM
 
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I take my daughter to a popular local park.  We see the Floppy Body Drag at least hourly.  Anyone judging you has never spent time with a toddler and the rest of us are just sending sympathy your way.

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#11 of 32 Old 05-17-2011, 11:36 AM
 
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kids do crazy things sometimes!  i'm sure others must also think i'm a horrible mother because of how i walk with dd1.  she often will ask me to hold her braid (like a leash so she can pretend to be a puppy!) instead of her hand while we're in the parking lot or crossing a road.  i'm sure the visual that others see is pretty disturbing but it's at my daughter's request and she thinks it's hilarious!


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#12 of 32 Old 05-18-2011, 08:12 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waiting2bemommy View Post

I have a 3 year old who has a terrible time with transitions and he does the floppy body thing quite regularly. Now my 1 year old is getting to the stage where she hates to have her hand held, so in situations when I have to hold her hand (like when we're leaving the library after storytime) she often does the floppy body too.

 

What usually ends up happening after story time is that I carry dd under my arm with her flailing and screeching like a fire alarm, while I drag ds by the arm as he lays limply across the floor. We make quite a picture I'm sure.

 

My philosophy (and I have said this once in a not-so-great mommy moment to a commenting bystander) if you don't like what you're seeing, turn your head and don't look. But really. I doubt *everyone* is judging you. Although I have to say, the mommy wars/competition/one upping that I've seen in Manhattan is INSANE. But even so, don't let it get to you. It's not about how you *look* anyway, as long as your kids are happy and thriving, and you are the best judge of that!



Thats a good philosophy as long as you are the one who doesnt have to be watching or as long as the person isnt hurting their child. Someone told me this at the laundromat when I was (Im sure) staring at her with my mouth gaping open because she was banging her child over the head with her shoe because he wouldnt "sit down and shut the F up." He was maybe 3. Maybe...
She said, "If you dont like what you are looking at turn your head around." Hmmm....


I wouldnt worry about how people think you "look" while dragging your 2 year old around. Any mom who has a kid that age who hasnt completely forgotten what its like can relate.

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#13 of 32 Old 05-18-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

This may not be practical for you, but with my kids I give them two options - so in your situation it would be walk nicely or ride in the stroller.  I'd state the options, bring the stroller and go on the walk.  So if the flop happened it'd be a ride in the stroller and stay in there until we got where we were going.  If there is already that much flopping and kicking and screaming going on, her letting out the same frustration in the stroller would be no worse for her and better for you, IMO.

 

Tjej   



This. DS never did the floppy body thing, but he does like to hang from my hand and will constantly walk in circles around me as we're moving forward in a straight line. I have a bad back, so none of this is an option, but even without that, when we are on a city street or in a parking lot, the rule is that he walks nicely or goes in the stroller. I can't have him flailing around, bumping into people, getting in the way of people in wheelchairs, or making me careen around in a crowd with him. And in a parking lot, or even cars on the street, I can't count on drivers seeing him and avoiding him. Likewise, I had a moment on the sidewalk one day where he broke free from my hand, and a driver swerved b/c he thought DS was going to run right in front of his car. DS didn't, thankfully, but the driver didn't know that and narrowly missed hitting a car that was passing him. I try to teach DS to behave in public in such a way that it doesn't negatively affect others, whether it's screaming/shrieking, or running amok, or causing car accidents.

 

And yeah, most people who have kids aren't judging... Some may be watching to see how you handle it, b/c they have no idea what to do when their own kids do that! And for those who want to judge, let them. Who cares what they think of your parenting?

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#14 of 32 Old 05-18-2011, 08:50 AM
 
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I had a daycare kid do this to me while we were crossing the street. Her elbow got hurt in the process and I felt like the mom was going to sue me for injuring her daughter.  It's either let go suddenly and let them fall to the ground or hold on tight and risk an arm injury.  You just can't win.


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#15 of 32 Old 05-18-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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My DS does exactly the same thing.  Not only does he go limp, but he'll scream and he is loud, loud, LOUD!  He can get everyone's attention within a half-mile radius, I swear.  One thing I do try to do though, is make my actions gentle (in public or private) while this is going on.  I try not to tense up or look/feel angry when trying to contain his floppy little body.  I hope that my actions would appear gentle and loving to an outsider, but I guess you never know.

 

Just because people are watching doesn't necessarily mean they're judging.  Sure, some of them probably are, but I bet many of them sympathize with you.  Anyone who has experienced the limp-body protest knows there's not much to be done.  Yesterday we were at the park and another toddler was doing the floppy body trick, and I was watching, but only to get tips on how someone else deals with it. I completely sympathized with this mom and wasn't judging at all, I just wanted to see if she would handle it differently than I usually do.

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#16 of 32 Old 05-18-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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Oh the floppy body! Lol. DD does this. I sometimes stop, pull her up, (squat to her level if possible/necessary), and tell her that if she won't walk right, I will carry her. She usually straightens up immediately-she hates being carried. But when possible, I'd rather play, Sooo...If she's fussing/fighting because she doesn't want to leave the park or something, I try to make it fun to walk. Like, I'll enthusiastically say "Come on, lets run!"(or skip, or walk backwards, or "quick feet"), or  "Hey, can you help me find the car? I don't see it!" or "Let's see who can get to the sidewalk first!"(while holding hands/) or pretend-scared "Oh there's a car coming! Hurry!" Yes, it's all goofy, but it works, and we both end up smiling rather than frustrated. Oh and if my hands aren't too full, and she's tired after a ton of walking, I put her up on my shoulders-that she tolerates pretty well.

 

As for worrying about others judging--try not to. People will judge regardless of what you do. It's not worth it to let random people get to you.

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#17 of 32 Old 05-18-2011, 10:15 PM
 
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I often feel self conscious about how my toddler-parenting looks to others as well, mama!  DS does the floppy thing too- he likes to just randomly sit down in parking lots while I'm walking with him.  He laughs hysterically like it's the best joke in the world.  Drives me nuts!  I end up having to carry him by one arm because he somehow kind of balls up.  It must look horrifying!  I have seen some older ladies cracking up before though so I guess some people remember what it's like.  

 

Sometimes he is so contrary in public or he does or says things that are SO embarrassing and I have NO idea what to do.  I get really flustered about it at times!  

 

Anyway, all that to say- I think we have all been there.  grouphug.gif

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#18 of 32 Old 05-18-2011, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm happy other people get it.

It isn't DD's behaviour that makes me self conscious it is the way MY behaviour looks. Everyone expects a 2 year old to tantrum and if they don't it is easy to shrug it off but a mommy dragging her toddler by the arm or carrying her around football style just looks awful. It really is often the best way to carry her since she can't hit or kick me or fling herself to the ground. The stroller isn't really a better option since she refuses to sit in the stroller and insists on walking everywhere so getting her in her stroller is a huge feat. When she is in her stroller she can get the top straps off and then lies all the way forward so that she can see the ground moving which makes me worry that she will fall out headfirst. I try to work so hard on parenting gently only to look like I am parenting abusively! She does the floppy body trick because she likes the way being dragged feels and I can't always convince her to walk properly. I will sit there telling her to use her legs over and over just so other people hear me and don't think I am dragging my kid down the block by her arm because I can't wait for her to walk. 

Every block here is a city block. When I first moved here and some some young preschoolers walking down the street alone I thought their parents were nuts. Now I let my toddler run a bit ahead and am fine with it but I probably get looks from tourists also. There are no areas without a ton of people even the park is always full. We don't have a car so we walk everywhere and she can walk for half an hour by herself easily so this is something that comes up daily.


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#19 of 32 Old 05-19-2011, 06:33 AM
 
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I don't think that would look abusive, unless you are being rough or something, which of course you're not being!!

DS has sensory issues so often to calm him I carry him weird ways (i.e. upside down etc.) and I'm sure it looks crazy to some people but I'd much rather get crazy looks than have my poor kid be miserable. You're pretty anonymous in the city and it's unlikely anyone would report to CPS that "a woman was carrying her toddler down the street like a football," you know? YOU know you are not being abusive so try (TRY, I know it's hard!) not to worry what anyone else thinks!!

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#20 of 32 Old 05-19-2011, 06:41 AM
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I wouldn't judge you mama! I would be sympathizing for sure...At least you weren't crying. After a particularly rough trip at the grocery store with DD we were checking out and she was holding my debit card because she likes to help...Well she dropped it into a corner of the machine before I paid where we couldn't get it back. They would have had to take the entire machine apart to get it and I didn't have any cash...Yeah I cried and I was really really angry with DD and I know I got a few stares but I couldn't buy the damn groceries...

Ahh toddlers are fun. Never letting her hold any card again for sure, it was my terrible stupid mistake.

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#21 of 32 Old 05-19-2011, 06:50 AM
 
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LOL!

The only people who might think badly are people who do not have kids themselves!

Anyone who is a parent would understand! My son did stuff like that too.

Don't worry!

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#22 of 32 Old 05-19-2011, 06:56 AM
 
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I would add here that I have fond memories of the times I had to carry out a screaming floppy toddler and another parent gave me sympathetic look and smile or a comment ("Oh...I remember that age...man oh man.") So if you can muster it, say something nice or smile when you see someone else suffering. smile.gif

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#23 of 32 Old 05-19-2011, 01:40 PM
 
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My DS likes to throw himself backwards, flat onto his back, when he doesn't want to do something I want him to do.  Like hold my hand while we're crossing the street.  I can't tell you how many times we have been halfway across a street and he's suddenly thrown himself on the ground and I've had to scoop him up and manhandle him across the way.  I know some people are looking at me and thinking I'm a crazy lady, but you know, that's their problem!


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#24 of 32 Old 05-19-2011, 04:49 PM
 
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We do what Tjej does.  Works well for us! :)

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#25 of 32 Old 05-20-2011, 09:16 AM
 
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We do what Tjej does.  Works well for us! :)



Us too.  Walk calmly or stroller.  Floppy body = stroller.  I can't stand it and I'd rather she was screaming hysterically in the stroller with her tantrum than me screaming hysterically in the street with mine :)


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#26 of 32 Old 05-21-2011, 12:50 PM
 
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Oh mama, I just have so much sympathy for you.  We live in Brooklyn, don't have a car, and so have to walk everywhere.  I feel like there are no good options for us to get places.  We were avid babywearers until a few months ago, but now DD freaks out if I try to back wrap her, so that's out.  She'll sometimes sit in the stroller for a few blocks, but then starts screaming, so I end up trying to carry a screaming toddler and push the dang stroller.  We mostly end up walking places, but then we have the tantrums when she wants to run into the street, or walk up people's stoops and knock on their doors.  It's gotten so bad that we rarely go places.  And I'm pregnant, so it's hard for me to carry her on my hip (which we were doing about half the time we walked anywhere, just so it wouldn't take 3 hours of exploring every sidewalk crack to get to the grocery store).  I feel like at this stage, there is literally NO way to get somewhere (even like 5 blocks away!) either without a major tantrum from her, or pain for me from carrying her on my hip.  It's really stressful.  I'm just hoping it's a phase that we get through soon!


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#27 of 32 Old 05-22-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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who care what people think! OP, YOU know you are doing the best you can, and that's enough.

 

When I let my kids draw with coloured chalk on our driveway, I had two of my neighbours on two different occasions telling me I shouldn't let them draw on the driveway, or I should wash the driveway as soon as they finish. I probably look like a terrible mom and housekeeper to them.

 

... I won't go into seriously terrible things that I did, like homebirthing or bed sharing, I had a couple of people looking at me in horror when I mention them.


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#28 of 32 Old 05-22-2011, 11:02 PM
 
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who care what people think! OP, YOU know you are doing the best you can, and that's enough.

 

When I let my kids draw with coloured chalk on our driveway, I had two of my neighbours on two different occasions telling me I shouldn't let them draw on the driveway, or I should wash the driveway as soon as they finish. I probably look like a terrible mom and housekeeper to them.

 

... I won't go into seriously terrible things that I did, like homebirthing or bed sharing, I had a couple of people looking at me in horror when I mention them.


Seriously? Side-walk chalk?? That is so messed up if it bothers people. We had a neighbor wash it off of the sidewalk in front of his house. I just can't imagine sidewalk chalk offending anyone. One good rain and it is gone.  Not like our kids are splaying f-bombs around the neighborhood!

 

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#29 of 32 Old 05-23-2011, 12:55 AM
 
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I'm in Manhattan, and both my kids are older. I know you don't want to take the stroller bc she likes to walk, but get a light easy to push one and just take it. If she does limp-body, she goes in the stroller. If she can undo the straps, get something that prevents her from doing so.  Yes, she'll scream, but at least she'll be in a safe place. In my experience, the next step to this is them running away from you/into the street after you refuse to drag them along. Or to sit down in the middle of the street. And it doesn't take long for them to discover that you're serious, not walking properly means they go in the stroller for the next x blocks or x minutes. Then they stop doing it. I think a stroller that the toddler/preschooler can't get out of is basically the NYC equivalent of a car for people elsewhere in the country. It carries lots of stuff, provides a place for kid time outs and naps when needed...

 

I wouldn't worry about other people's opinions though. People will make comments no matter what you do. (I get the "you shouldn't be in a stroller, you should be walking!" one a lot. If he walks, it's "He shouldn't be so far ahead!") Everybody's got a stupid comment to make it seems.


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#30 of 32 Old 05-23-2011, 12:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post




Seriously? Side-walk chalk?? That is so messed up if it bothers people. We had a neighbor wash it off of the sidewalk in front of his house. I just can't imagine sidewalk chalk offending anyone. One good rain and it is gone.  Not like our kids are splaying f-bombs around the neighborhood!

 


Hey, you're lucky. I know a woman in Brooklyn where the neighbor (who had previously sued for other equally silly nonsense), called the police because the kids used sidewalk chalk in front of her house!?

 


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