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?