I don’t know what it is about babies and baby bumps, but they have a strange way of disabling people’s filters. They also seem to remove common sense and courtesy too. Now, strangers (and even non-strangers) aren’t always rude, but dang, do they hear what’s coming out of their mouths?
I know most people are well intentioned and I used to care a whole lot more about what they said when I was a first time mom. Like when that random woman at Home Depot insisted my baby needed socks on even though I was wearing her in our ERGObaby carrier.
Those types of comments used to make me upset and even question myself. But now? Now I find them to be silly while I smile dumbly back at them…and wonder if they’ve ever been around babies or children before.
Okay so occasionally they can still get to me, but nothing like when I first started navigating motherhood.
Here are some of the encounters I experienced just today!
After breakfast we ran some errands then had lunch at Culver’s. Rissa is now eating too much to reasonably share one of our meals, but not enough to finish a kids meal yet. Normally she eats about half which we are fine with. My favorite part about her kids meal? It comes with a token for a free scoop of custard.
We do expect her to eat a certain amount of her food before getting “the treat.” Most times Rissa doesn’t argue it too much. Like any normal toddler, she tries to get out of “one more bite,” but we try to encourage it. Today was a very mild back and forth before she took her last bite.
While Brian went to go get our dessert, Rissa kept saying it was all for her.
“All mines, mommy!” all the while she played with her plush Muno doll.
I shook my head. “We are sharing.”
“No! Rissa take away! Rissa take ice cream!”
We went back and forth, me reminding her that we always share when we are there. “It’s Rissa’s, daddy’s and mommy’s.”
Usually Rissa gets excited about us all sharing, but today she started whining that it was all hers. “If you keep whining and don’t want to share then you won’t have any….Share or none.”
She didn’t get out of control…she just was being a little whiny. Brian returned and Rissa tried to take the dish away, proclaiming it was “all mines.” but she got over it and happily took a spoonful as it was offered to her.
Then, an elderly woman approached our table. She said she overheard and wanted to give us a token for a free dish. (seems nice enough, right?)
“Just get her her own dish to have…even if you end up having to eat it.”
Wait, excuse me? Give it to her because she whined a little when I was reinforcing our sharing experience? Way to try and undermine mom, lady. Besides, she won’t finish it all and will make a huge mess with it. Sharing is the most practical situation for us.
And you know what? After that lady walked away, Rissa was no longer asking for her own because she was content to share. We didn’t say anything though… just pocketed the token she left on the table.
The initial gesture was nice…but yeah.
Brian dropped Xander and I off at Target while he and Rissa went to another nearby store. Xander slept the whole time until I got in line at the check out. It was a short trip overall but when the cart is at a standstill he’s not too happy.
And the kid is not fooled by a little back and forth action either.
He starts fussing as I put my stuff on the belt. It’s his little “I’m annoyed mama! Snuggle me please” cry. It’s quiet, as far as baby cries go, and lacks urgency. He’s not crying uncontrollably or anything. I talk to him and making shushing sounds as I try to rock him back to sleep.
A Target employee (maybe in her 20s?) comes over. “Oh, he must be young. His cry sounds like a little baby.”
“He’s about a month old.” For a moment I’m not even sure I have his age right. With Rissa I always knew exactly how old she was as a baby. She’s 5 weeks and 3 days old!
“Oh, so little! Is he hungry?”
“Um, no. He doesn’t like that I stopped the cart.” we all know that strangers think we never feed our children since that’s the first thing they assume is wrong. It’s a fair guess, but if I thought he was hungry if feed him not rock him back to sleep.
“Oh, is he colicky?”
WTF? Is what I think in my head. Fortunately my mouth says, “No.
“Oh is it just today then?”
At this point I’m baffled. No he’s cried other days. Has she ever been around babies before? I just stopped responding because I couldn’t think of an appropriate response since No, he just hates standing in line and listening to stupid questions probably would have been considered rude.
I understand she was probably trying to be helpful when she heard him cry. However, opening another checkout lane would have been helpful, not trying to diagnose him. I mean, I wasn’t the least bit concerned. I wasn’t frazzled. I was CALM.
Maybe that scared them.
What’s the most ridiculous thing a stranger has said to you about your kids?