I’d like to start out this post by offering a hearty congratulations to all the perfect parents out there whose 4-year-olds are poised and obedient every time they’re out in public. If this is you, great — now enjoy becoming a millionaire by doling out those parenting secrets via some sort of manual for the rest of us who have, well, less-behaved kids.
If you haven’t already figured it out, I’m referring (very sarcastically) to Prince Louis‘ typical-kid antics at the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Pageant… and the people who are coming for his parents. More specifically, Kate Middleton; don’t even get me started on how it always seems to be the mom at fault.
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“I hate when people make excuses for bad behavior of small children. Kids are smart, understand, and know when they are acting the nut,” says one pearl-clutching commenter, finishing it up with, “Kate better get it together as a parent.”
“Wow. Obviously she’s not heavily involved in parenting of that child,” judges another, while a third says, “Why is she not utilizing all those years of ‘experience’ in early childhood?”
Was our little Prince Louis behaving less than ideally? Sure. But let’s unpack the bazillion probable reasons why he was serving the sass (and stop being so freaking judgmental while we’re at it, hmm?).
First of all, he’s barely 4; His birthday was just at the end of April, so Kate and William practically still have a “threenager” on their hands. Kids this age aren’t exactly renowned for their socially acceptable behavior. Secondly, he spent the weekend being dragged from place to place for ceremonies where he was expected to sit still and be quiet — a very big ask for a very small boy. And who knows if he missed a nap, or was hangry? If you’ve ever parented a little kid, you know that even the smallest change in routine can throw some kids into a total tailspin. Most importantly, this is a snapshot of a small timeframe, not the way he acts all day every day.
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As someone who has seen four little boys through the 4-year-old stage, I can say with some authority that this is literally what 4-year-old boys do. And because there’s some unwritten rule that says so, they almost always do it when you’re trying to get them to behave (and while people are watching… and judging).
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Also, can we please take a moment to put ourselves in Kate Middleton’s designer pumps? She isn’t just a regular mom trying to get a surly 4-year-old through Target without the judgmental side-eye of some Karen; she is a royal mom at a much-anticipated public event where the eyes of the entire world are upon her. Imagine the scathing criticism she would receive if she opened up an app or cued up a YouTube video to keep him quiet and occupied, or even tossed him some fruit snacks or Goldfish crackers — parenting tactics that any other mom would be allowed to keep in her public arsenal. She’s a mom whose little kid is expected to consistently behave in a manner that, frankly, exceeds his capacity. And then when he doesn’t, it’s “her fault.”
But she isn’t allowed to lose her sh*t or issue a threat like a regular mom, because that would be unbecoming of a future Queen. The most she can do is grit her teeth slightly or almost-imperceptibly raise an eyebrow. I’d bet my last dollar that in this picture, she’s sending a message to Prince William with her eyes like “You better come get this kid.”
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And if you say you’ve never made this face at your kid, you are so lying lying. Any mom can recognize the “I’m-trying-to-hold-it-together-in-public-but-my-patience-is-TESTED” look.
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Prince Louis is far too young to understand his legacy, his family’s status, or the significance of the Platinum Jubilee. He’s a little kid who was bored to death with the stuffy grownup activities and reacted like literally any other little kid would in that situation. The only difference is that there are millions of critics watching — who just love to chime in about how their kids would never.
Duchess Kate, keep doing your thing. You’re much more poised and patient than most moms of 4-year-olds in this situation. And Prince Louis, please, keep being you … because in a world of rigid expectations, you’re a breath of fresh air.
All the times Princess Charlotte has proven to be the Queen of Sass.
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