Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Mommy, why is that lady so mean?

I have to say it-- whether it's my hormones, lack of sugar, lack of sleep or lack of lunch talking-- quit touching my kid!

Seriously, everywhere I went today, strangers were touching my kid in ways designed to annoy me. At the gym this morning, I saw an older child, maybe 8, pick Cleo up and carry her across the room. I understand it's the day before a holiday and everyone's sugared up rugrats are out of school, but i'm not paying for childcare so some bossy big sister can dislocate my child's arm while the paid childcare worker talks on the phone in the corner.

And then at the park, 2 entirely different children and 1 annoying mom were either helping her off of things she didn't need help off of or were helping her onto things she shouldn't be on. Grammatical paralysis aside, I just don't see why people don't supervise their own children and leave my child alone. When I very politely asked one child, about 4, to quit picking Cleo up and carrying her across the playground like a geriatric bulldog, her grandmother defensively said, "She's just helping!" And all I could say was, "That's very kind of her, but my child is independent and enjoys walking on her own." I'm sure she went home asking why the mean lady didn't want her help. We just don't go to the playground so Cleo can be treated like a valise or an invalid, we go there so that she will expend as much energy as possible having fun and learning. Like, duh.

And another mother of twins one month older than Cleo insisted on helping her into and out of the sandbox, I suppose because her own children were so coddled that they could barely function. She kept saying, "Oh, your little one is so advanced!" And I really wanted to explain that if she quit walking 4 inches behind her children and telling them exactly what they couldn't do that they might surprise her by doing it.

I don't mean to rant. I know that these people were polite and that the children sincerely believed they were helping. I appreciate that I live in an area where people are polite and kind and look out for other people's children. I just get really sick of people assuming that a) Cleo needs help, and b) I wouldn't help her if she needed it. I believe in letting her explore, and, yes, occasionally fall down or conk her noggin. And when she does have an oops, I don't go running over to fawn over her boo-boos and make a big whoopty-doo about the implicit bit of childhood that involves failure or mistakes.

I think society as a whole right now is too fearful in the wrong ways and not frightened enough of things that are legitimately terrifying. I'm terrified of driving down a highway with my baby in the back of my small car while drivers in huge SUVs swig lattes and talk on cell phones, but i'm not scared to let her fall off the last stair at the playground. I'm scared of the overuse of antibiotics and the uprise of MRSA, but i'm not at all scared about my child eating sand or picking her dropped toy off the ground. It's all about priorities, I suppose.

So, in conclusion, unless you see blood, don't pick up my kid, or i'll yell at your toddler.

1 comment:

mamamilkers said...

It always cracks me up when I see other adults trying to help Eloise. I also wonder what they think I'm doing there that they need to give her hand? *scratches head* I've also had to ask children to kindly not get in Eloise's way. I actually think they could cause her more harm than letting her do things on her own. Luckily the mamas I have encountered at the park discourage their children from "helping" smaller ones like that. Phew!