Monday, May 23, 2011
Everybody's Got An Opinion
As I’ve mentioned before, being in public with a baby makes you a walking target for all sorts of random comments. Sometimes people will tell you your baby is adorable, other times they will think your daughter is a boy, even though she is covered in pink frilly things. Sometimes people will give you a knowing, sympathetic look while your child is throwing a tantrum on the floor, other times they will yell at you for giving your kid a soother. Strangers and their wild comments lurk everywhere you go, and as irritating as it can be, you sort of get used to it and come to expect it. What you never really get used to though are the comments that come from those closest to you. It’s often feels more like a slap in the face when a remark is made by your best friend or mother as opposed to someone you’ll never have to see again.
A close friend once scolded me for not giving Thumper enough “tummy time” when she was a couple of months old. This friend doesn’t even have kids. I nearly slapped her for it, and I can say this because we’ve since talked about it and are now at the point where we can laugh about it. It helps that she now realizes if she says something similar to me again she will actually get slapped. You only get a no-slap pass once. Unless you’re the grandparent, in which case you get a no-slap pass every time. Because despite the fact that grandparents give our kids chocolate cookies right before naptime, they do all kinds of awesome things for us like babysit for free and purchase pretty dresses and shoes for the baby.
Before I start this next bit, let me be clear: I love my mother. She is a serious bag of awesome-sauce. But it drives me up.the.freaking.wall when she passes French fries to Thumper after I’ve just finished saying that she can’t have any until she eats her veggies. And it happens every damn time we go there. I know that grandparents are supposed to have all the fun and spoil the baby with treats but don’t they remember the stress of trying to get your kids to eat anything that doesn’t contain sugar? And why can’t they just let the baby cry it out at night? I know it’s hard to hear them scream, and also annoying. Trust me. I know. I hear it every damn night. But if you go in and pick Thumper up one night and let her run around for an hour because you’re convinced she’s not tired enough, I’m going to be stuck doing it for the next five nights until I can get her to break the habit. I mean, our parents successfully raised children before, so I know we should trust them to watch ours, and for the most part I do, but seriously, ice cream is not an acceptable dinner and midnight is not an acceptable bedtime.
The same can be said for great-grandparents. Some of the things my own grandmother has told me about babies and parenting are kind of funny, and other times I wonder how she managed to raise two fully functioning adults. Again, my grandmother is a wonderful lady whom I love dearly, but I found it hard to keep my cool when she’d tell me every 10 seconds to stop “shaking” the baby when Thumper was an infant. Sorry Grandma, but I really don’t think Thumper’s brains are going to get jumbled up or come out of her ears because I was bouncing her up and down on my knee so she would stop fussing. She also liked to lecture me on pacifiers, saying that her little boy (my dad) never needed one so therefore Thumper shouldn’t need one either. She stopped making that comment when I told her she was welcome to come over and put Thumper to bed each night without her soother.
Basically the moral of this story is that when you have kids, every single person you encounter will tell you how to raise them. You will want to smack a lot of these people and who knows, maybe you will get to hit a few of them. Just remember, the closer you are to someone, the more you will want to hit them but the less acceptable it is to do so. Well, at least if you do they won’t press charges. Probably. Just please do not reference this blog and say, ‘Alice told me it was okay to hit you if you said my stroller was inferior!’ I don’t need that kind of responsibility when I’ve got my own nay-sayers to deal with.