My Kids and I Howl Like Wolves In Public. Here’s Why It’s Worth the Side-Eye

“Do you want breadsticks?”

“What?” I said and leaned half my body over the counter.

“Do you want breadsticks!” he yelled. I was in the mall, standing under the neon Sbarro sign at dinnertime rush hour. The cashier, a teen in plastic gloves and a hairnet, looked desperate. I finally nodded “yes” because who doesn’t want breadsticks? Behind me, my family continued to howl.

I don’t mean howling in a metaphorical sense.

My husband, five-year-old son, and three-year-old twins were waiting for their pizza-by-the-slice, holding plasticware, and “owwwww owwwww owwwww-ing” like animals.

We howl like wolves. It’s what we do.

We howl in the car on the way to the park and also at the park. We howl at the kitchen table over cinnamon toast. We howl at the pool and at the beach. We howl while trick-or-treating, probably the most appropriate setting. But pretty much any place is fair game.

We get all the stares. Old ladies smile at first, because little kids are hard to resist, like puppies and kittens, and it makes them remember the days when they were young moms. But then they look puzzled, because surely their kids didn’t run so wild? Other mothers my age mostly give us the side-eye and steer their stroller away, hoping their own kids won’t pick up the habit, like nose-picking or standing on the swings.

Jamie Sumner
Jamie Sumner is a writer for Parenting Special Needs Magazine and Scary Mommy. She is the mother of a son with cerebral palsy and twins. Her writing has also appeared in, Her View From Home,, Mamalode, Tribe, and Literary Mama. She writes with humor about infertility and special needs parenting on her website, Catch her on Facebook: and Instagram: @themomgene.

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