Raised in the Grocery Store

Evidently there is an entire world of children that were raised on the advice given by perfect strangers at the grocery store. At least that is my conclusion, as there seems to be an entire world of strangers at the grocery store all too eager to hand out advice on child rearing. And if they are handing out advice with such sincerity and urgency, it can only be because they once appreciated a stranger's advice in the bread aisle.

My son is only 16 months old, so I am quite certain we still have years of politely smiling and nodding at total nonsense coming from strangers grocery store wisdom coming to us. Had I taken the advice from well meaning strangers Judah would be a totally different child.

He would have self esteem issues. Judah is both too fat and too thin. WITHIN THREE AISLES! How does a child go from getting comments like "Oh my, look at your size!! You are quite the fat baby. Your mother must feed you too much" in the dairy aisle, to "Oh dear, you look so hungry. Your mother must not feed you enough" in the meat section?
Never mind said mother is standing right there listening to this one sided conversation. Said baby is being told rather conflicting things. And it's not like he can blame it on his clothes or it just being a bad day since BOTH the fat and starving comments have been told to him within minutes.

He would have identity issues. Tell me, what does it profit a little boy to say to him "You are far too beautiful to be a boy. You should be a girl." I kid you not. People say this to him. Almost every single time we're in the grocery store he gets that comment. I think I should buy a shirt that says "Take it up with my Creator" and train him to point at it anytime people say this. He's a boy. And he has blue eyes and curls. But he's a boy fellow shopper. Get over it.

He would have given up his bottle long ago. Because, you know, "he is entirely too old to be drinking from a bottle. When my child was that old he was using a cup." I couldn't help myself. I had to ask the crabby lady – "So how old was your child when you got him off the bottle?"
I don't know why mothers have a self righteous air about themselves, but in her most 'I'm-a-better-mom-than-you'll-ever-be" voice she said "18 months."
I smiled. "He's 14 months." I can't tell you how happy that moment made me feel.
Perhaps I do understand the self righteous air that mothers put on. But only because it's forced on me.

He would be consuming large amounts of sugar. Chocolate milk, strawberry milk, pop, cookies, ice cream … all these things make children happy and should not be denied to any child. "Come on mom, I saw him looking at the xyz longingly. Be a good mom and buy it for him!"
My thoughts (honest, they just remained in my head!) "Ok stranger … why don't you be a good stranger then and pay for the dental bills and stay up all night with my hyper child and do all the extra laundry that will result in him eating said product?"
I remained a bad mom to that stranger.

He would be too little to know how to obey. As all good strangers know, you can't expect a little one to obey their mothers. Good thing all good mothers don't know that.

He would have frozen his toes off. Forget that the person telling us this is wearing flip-flops, which is a civilized version of being barefooted. The fact that my son rarely wears shoes is a huge issue with people. "His toes will freeze off" … I was so tempted to ask if this happened to their own child and if that's why they are so concerned and taking the time to warn me. I haven't yet heard of a child's toes freezing off them for being barefooted in 80F weather, tho granted we were in the dairy aisle. You know how cold it is there!!
The toes freezing off comment doesn't happen often, but the "Oh my! Where are your shoes?"or "Did your mother forget to finish dressing you?" comments happen *all* the time. I think I'll start telling well intending strangers that his feet are too fat.

Or was it that they are too skinny?


The Rock Chick said...

I soooooo remember those days. My third daughter had a large birthmark on the back of her head and of course, she didn't really have hair til she was about 2. One person in the grocery store thought I should take her to a plastic surgeon to have that removed because it just looks terrible!!! I reminded her that her hair will grow over it and voila! It did!!!!

One person told me that they hoped I was paying for my groceries myself and not on welfare with all those kids. My kids were always too old for bottles, too, but I let them have them til they were 2.

I don't know why people just can't say "hi", wave to the baby and be on their way. I think your Judah t-shirt idea rocks! LOL

Stacy said...

So true!
I don't have kids, but have gotten plenty of comments from well-meaning strangers while out with kids I was working with.
For some real fun, try being at Wal-Mart with a 9 year old with autism who is in the middle of a full-blown meltdown.

Nicole said...

Oh man... people are nuts I say! Can't anyone just look at a baby and smile at the baby, the mom and then walk away anymore?

I don't have kids yet, but people always have to say something about our dogs. Usually it is "awwwww, so cute!", but every so often someone will call them a rat or some other rodent and then they will laugh as if they think they were the first person to say this. Just cuz a dog is small does not mean it is a rat. I wish I did have a rat to take for a walk :P

Kim said...

Oh Jess, I am SOOOOoooOOOooo not looking forward to this. I'm not sure I can handle it gracefully!!

Fire Hunt said...

I get the "You are far too beautiful to be a boy. You should be a girl." All the time. Gavin will not wear his shoes so I get told thing about that to. I as love the you must have you hands full with "all" of your kids, I only have 3.

Bethany said...

Do you feel any better now? Sometimes a good rant just makes me feel sooo much better.

I now see what kind of good commentary I have to look forward to. And it makes me feel better that even if your baby is 16 months old, he still doesn't have to wear shoes. I was feeling guilty over this and Josh is only seven months. I suppose I don't have to worry about buying him shoes until it is winter (unless I find a REALLY good deal).

Crystal said...

Nah, I'd go with "Eh, he's too pretty for socks".


Anonymous said...

oh just wait till you have baby #2, then youll get "my you didnt waste any time!" and "you stole his child hood away from him!" and even though yours will be further apart then mine are (1 year and 20 days) youll still get it! -ashleigh

Di said...

Jessica, my boy had eyes and curls like Judah's. In fact, when I see Judah, I immediately think of how my boy used to look. When he was 18 mos old and my girl was under a year (she was bald as you can be), we would get the same type of comments constantly. He should be a girl and she should be a boy. Annoying doesn't even begin to describe it.

Mel's Mom said...

One thing I've TRIED to instill in my children is just because it's true doesn't mean it needs to be said. It's amazing how many people think what they have to say is so important regardless of whether someone wants to hear or not.

Rachel said...

I also had a blond boy with some curls and blue eyes. I would dress him in a baseball outfit complete with the baseball hat, and people would still comment on what a cute little girl I had...I kid you not.

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