Well, yesterday I had my first encounter with someone trying to tell me how to raise my kid. Really it was more like chastising me or trying to pass on some not-so-subtle parenting wisdom.
At the grocery store, it took longer than usual (137 dollars’ worth of longer-than-usual), so my kiddo was getting restless by the time we got to the registers. He had been playing with his Logan’s bucket the whole time, but I decided to give him his favorite treat–the pad of paper on which I write my grocery lists. He just loves to play with the yellow pages and gum/slobber the binding. This very old (70’s? 80’s?) lady was in the line next to me. She kept looking over with a mixed look of “isn’t that cute” and “that’s just not right; that dad doesn’t know what he’s doing.” I went through the line, and she finished just before me in her checkout line (real shocker that I picked the wrong line). She walked past and said “That’s not good for me.” Why does everyone speak as if they are the child, as if that’s less offensive? You know, like my child would have told me that he’s not supposed to put the pad of paper in his mouth, if only he had the ability to speak. Like the whole world is a cheeky caption contest. I just ignored her and went and got my next bag of groceries from the cashier. When I turned back to load the bag into the cart, she said “That’s not good for me, Dad.”
Apparently avoidance wasn’t going to work. Avoidance is the only way I can deal with things that irk me in a non-combative manner. So, trying to stay calm and be polite, I said “well it’s not bad for him,” with a somewhat confused look on my face (a look that tried to nonverbally discredit her). She repeated her point verbatim… only this time it took on a condescending tone like the new father clearly does not know what he’s doing. The claws came out: “WHAT?! How about you mind your own business?!?” There really is no way to express my tone with caps and italics. It’s not any louder than normal, it’s just piercing and arrogant, like she just unknowingly crossed a mob boss. I could feel everyone within earshot freeze. All eyes were on me as I grabbed another bag of groceries from the cashier. She still wasn’t going away as I loaded the bag into my cart, so I made eye contact. She simply uttered “I’m sorry” and hobbled off.
The only bumper sticker I’ve thought about getting in the past five years was WWLDD? (What Would Larry David Do?)… I guess you can see why. I’m sure this lady thought she was being helpful. Maybe she thought she was saving me from Child Services coming to my house, I don’t know. The fact of the matter is that I don’t like to be “helped.” When I’m standing on the street corner with a baby stroller and two leashed dogs, don’t stop your car to let me cross the street, because you are then putting the pressure on me to cross right then, while you watch. In my mind, cars have the right-of-way. They can kill you. These are the stupid things that upset me, much like Larry David.
Also, my wife has given me a complex about my “old man” products. I roll up to the checkout line with some Icy Hot and a fat can of Metamucil. I keep feeling this nagging urge to throw in “yeah, my dad’s visiting from out of town” (or something similar) as the immigrant runs the items over the barcode scanner. Pathetic.
I went to LP’s house with Stephen this morning to finish caulking around some exterior lights that I put up. Stephen is always so good outside of this house. I don’t know if it is because he is more interested in his surroundings or what. He slept for 11 hours last night, but still napped in the car. Anyway, no one was home when I arrived. I hope everything is okay at the P residence. (EDIT: Turns out they were just out for breakfast)
I realize that Stephen’s sleeping habits could change at any time, but I haven’t gotten up at night in almost two months. Last time I got up with him, I was up all night, but before that it had been at least another month since the previous time. So far, this kid is a good sleeper and a good eater. He never spits up anymore when I feed him from a bottle. Maybe once a week. He can fully sit up straight on his own now, and can scoot wherever he needs to go. Next comes actual crawling.