Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's a Blurry Line to Everyone but ME

I'm always surprised about the comfort level of people around someone with a baby.  Before Lucy, I'd be lucky if a stranger would smile at me, much less say something out loud.  But now, I might as well be wearing a sign that says "It's okay!  We're practically family!" for all the people that want to talk to me and Lucy and coo at her and make her smile.

Which is all great with me!  I love people looking at my baby and telling me what cute little people I make.  I can definitely take that.  It's the other stuff I have a little more trouble dealing with.  The comfort that strangers have telling me what I seem to be doing right or wrong in the long-term relationship we've forged of the 10 seconds standing in a checkout line together.  I just don't really understand it at all.

As I was waiting a little longer than we had anticipated to sit for a portrait of Lucy, and finally feeding her the bottle I had on hand (because I'm just that forward thinking, thankyouverymuch!) a woman who had previously not said a word to me, barely even looked at me, said "She should be eating much more than that by now!" referring to Lucy's 4 oz bottles.  This particular person hadn't even asked me how old Lucy was, and I have no idea what sort of frame of reference this woman had.  That just blows my mind!  Wha?  How do you even respond to that?  I think I just said "Oh." 

Another instance, I was changing Lucy's diaper in a department store restroom when a young woman came up and said "Oooh!  How old is he?"  Which, whatever.  I'll forgive.  Even though she was in a pink striped shirt, she did have on navy blue overalls.  Anyway.  I told her 4 months, and she was talking a little bit to Lu.  And then it happened.  Lucy put her two fingers of her left hand into her mouth as she is wont to do.  The woman reached around me, tugged Lucy's fingers out of her mouth by her wrist and said "Don't do that!  That's bad!"  I couldn't do anything but stare at the woman with what I assume was a baffled look on my face.

Seriously.  Where is the line?  And how do more people not SEE it?  And how are you supposed to respond to that kind of thing?  I mean, whatever, people have opinions and they're certainly not afraid to share them, but touching/disciplining my kid when I'm right there taking care of her?

Back off, people.  I do believe you have convinced me to do the remainder of my Christmas shopping online.


Ann said...

People DO seem to lose all sort of social rules when a baby is involved; the woman who pulled Lucy's fingers out of her mouth was unbelievable! What DO you say in that sort of a situation?

Elizabeth said...

It never fails, the second I take Eli out of the house (wrapped in blankets and hats and coats) some one tells me it's too cold for a baby to be outside.
I think the next time it happens I'm just going to say "Hey, if you want to be trapped in the house with this kid for 14 hours while he screams and points and begs to go outside all day long, come on over and babysit."

Morgan S. said...

That is really weird about the finger tug/scold!!!

I got a ton of unwanted commentary about "how I was going to be very busy!" or "I was in for it!" or "how far apart will they be? - Ohhhh, boy...." when had my year and a half old daughter with me and my giant pregnant belly carrying my second daughter.

I think the rudest comment was when we were at an outdoor concert and there was a VERY hippish lady and her 2.5 year old daughter on the blanket next to us. The daughter was fascinated by my baby and kept talking about her. The hippy lady was telling me how cute my baby was. Then, the little girl was exclaiming to her mom about how I was giving my newborn a bottle and the hippy mommy said (while NOT looking at me) "Oh yes, YOU GET MOMMY'S BOOBIE BUT THAT BABY GETS A BOTTLE." I was FURIOUS. It was a hot summer evening in a VERY crowded place, not my kind of spot for breastfeeding and, anyway, it was none of that ladies business! I wanted to scream, "Yes, MY BABY WEARS CLEAN CLOTHES AND HAS COMBED HAIR, UNLIKE YOUR DIRTY-CLOTHED, DREADLOCKED TWO AND A HALF YEAR OLD!" But, I just sat thier quietly feeding my baby her bottle and seethed.

Carrie said...

I'm laughing now, because I was always afraid of this type of thing happening to me, but it hasn't. I think it's because I look scary and grouchy and people fear me. :) Maybe you should scowl more?

Also am laughing because I came online just now to shop for one of those "dont touch the belly" pregnancy shirts. Just in case the scowling doesn't work.

You're doing a good job with Lucy, just ignore those people. And have fun shopping online!

KAO kid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
KAO kid said...

i think you are afraid that you DO know what to say in response, and that when you find the voice to say it, you will be both upset and happy at the same time. =)

People are rude and suck in sooo many situations. Seriously. Completely ridiculous. It's maddening!

Get out when you can and damn the dumb. They really cannot seem to help themselves.

maggie said...

That's hysterical. I'm with Carrie. This stuff has never happened to me and I'm sure it's due to my Unfriendly Vibes.

Elizabeth said...

OOohh...people like that burn me up! Even if you DID care about her putting her hands in her mouth, she is FAR too young to understand why you are pulling them out and will just put them back in! And she had ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to touch your child, not to mention the "discipline" thing. Whatever. People are stupid.

Mary said...

That is unbelievable! I get frustrated in situations like those, where I'm too shocked to react and regret not saying anything later. People are such jerks sometimes. Stay strong and just know that they are nosy idiots.

Lindsay said...

People are wack. Weddings bring out the crzy in people too. Apparently so does seeing small children. Just yesterday I was forced to listen to a diatribe about how someone was daring to raise their child. Some people are experts I guess (sarcasm).

Hope the online shopping goes well!

Jess said...

It really is amazing. People go crazy when they see pacifiers and thumb sucking, too. Like, BUG OFF.