Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Constructive Criticism?

I had a doctor's appointment this morning at 10:15. 10:15 usually isn't an early time for me and Eli to be out on the town, but today we both slept in until 9:15 (ahhhh) so we were running a little behind schedule.

Which is why I forgot to put coats on us before we left. I actually didn't completely forget. It was more of a choice to save myself from the five minute tantrum delay just to give Eli a little extra warmth for the two steps we'd be outside between the car and the doctor's office.

We pulled into the parking lot and I grabbed Eli for a quick dash through what had suddenly become a light snowfall. An elderly man was walking behind us, so I waited outside a few extra seconds to hold the door open for him, leaving us walking towards the elevator together.

"Where are your coats today?" he asked.
Without wanting to go into full detail of my angel son's wild temperament, I went with, "Oh, it wasn't snowing when we left the house."
"Where do you live?"

Assuming he was just a friendly old man wanting to get to know us a little better on our elevator journey together, I told him where we live, to which he said, "I live just north of you and it was snowing at my house when I left."

Blind-sided! My new friend was suddenly questioning my honesty while criticizing my parenting abilities. I chose to say nothing back and we sat in silence for a second. Then he said, "And the storm is coming from the south."

The elevator stopped on his floor and as he left I tried to sound unfazed by his bold accusations so I called out, "Be safe in the snow today!"

I walked into my appointment in shock as I assessed my mothering. You see, this one man with his coat concerns probably wouldn't have bothered me that much on its own. But when you pair it with the lady in the motorized cart who chastised me at Costco just three days before, it left me a little unsure of my parenting.

We were down in St. George with Jeff's parents and made a quick stop at Costco. Mary carried Eli in and got him all settled in the cart while Jeff and I frolicked through the aisles a few steps behind, remembering how pleasant shopping can be without keeping a baby entertained.

We all wandered over to pick up a sample, and I had kind of forgotten Eli was my child and not Mary's in the midst of my hand holding with Jeff. My mini-date was interrupted by a woman who zoomed over to me in her shopping cart screaming, "Is this your kid?!" while vigorously pointing at Eli -- who was (happily) pushing and pulling on the shopping cart causing his seat to fold in half with every pull.

I swallowed my pie sample and sheepishly claimed my child. Then she yelled, "He needs to have a strap on! He's going to fall out of there!"

Since I hadn't been the one to put him in the cart, nor had I taken note throughout our trip as to whether or not he was safely strapped in, I said a quick prayer that he was in fact buckled, so I could prove to this lady I was a more responsible mother than it appeared.

I smiled at the sight of his buckle securely in place, then I told the motorized cart lady the good news. She zoomed her cart over to inspect for herself and then mumbled something under her breath. As she rode away she yelled, "2,000 kids fall out of carts every year!"

I laughed, grateful that on that day my kid wasn't one of them.
I'm left wondering if it's me being pregnant causing these concerned onlookers to suddenly speak up. I think they feel the need to correct my bad mothering habits with the first one so that hopefully I'll coat and buckle the rest. Well concerned citizens, I've assessed I'm doing alright, and if you think differently I'd be happy to have you watch Eli for a day. And hey, just for kicks and giggles, let's make it grocery shopping day where a coat and buckle are required.


Rebecca said...

I love the audacity of that old man. "I live north of you and it was snowing when I left...and the storm is coming from the south!"

David and Mary said...

That is so funny you had another comment after we talked about stranger comments this weekend! Too bad you aren't mean and you could have told that man to sit on it and spin and to mind his own beeswax! But, being the nice wonderful mother you are... you handled it just right!

Eric and Justine said...

People are so nosy!

CandL said...

Yet another reason to add to my list of reasons I dont like old people.

Natalie&Brad said...

I guess it really is starting . . .You should have asked the man if you could borrow his coat.


jlthomas said...

I love the last comment! And I also love the audacity of that old man, how funny! The old lady sounded like a hoot too!