Touchy Granola

by doodaddy on March 25, 2009


Babies, babies everywhere.

So we stay up until 10. Let Boo eat in her room. Give her knives and power tools. That’s our business, and if you choose to raise your kids differently, that’s yours — though I fear the day that your kids try to build bookcases without any knowledge of circular saws.

But when Boo’s around other kids, I toe the behavior line way south of “restrictive” to ensure that we don’t accidentally set a bad example. Permissive at home, oppressive in public.

Double that when Boo’s near babies.

Not everyone shares this philosophy, it seems. A week or so ago, we went to one of those private indoor playspaces that fill up on rainy and cold days. Not a chain, mind you, but a very independent, San Francisco-style affair, which means somewhere between “yuppie” and “granola.” That sounds a bit pejorative, but I mean no disrespect: that niche of yupnola is exactly where I feel most comfortable.

The Blueberry was next to me, still ensconced in her car seat, when up toddled a cute 20-month old boy with a baby obsession. Babies love infants, and I’m usually cool with them playing with Blue’s toes or making funny faces. That’s my limit, though: no strange toddlers may carry my four-month-old baby.

Go ahead, call me an uptight bastard. (No, really, you wouldn’t be the first.)

This particular mom, though, after joshing with me (heh, heh) about how her son loves babies, said, “OK, just don’t put your fingers in her mouth.”

And boy proceeded to pat Blue on the head, rock her chair, tickle her neck, poke her eyes, tug on her ears… pretty much everything, including (of course) trying to poke his fingers in her mouth. I’m no germophobe, but we’ve had a heavy dose of viral reality lately, so I smilingly and gently blocked the (booger-laden) boy’s most egregious jabs, thinking mom would catch on that she’d gotten a little too loose.

Score: Obvious Hint, 0. Clueless Mom, 1.

Fortunately, having the Blueberry in her chair meant that I could prop her in high places for the rest of the morning as her toddler boyfriend stalked her every move.

The whole interaction, though, made me question my core belief: when in public, I am more attentive with other people’s kids than my own. After all, I know my own limits just fine, but I don’t know strangers’. For some, though, the inclination towards vigilance just doesn’t seem to apply.

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tagged as in illness,oddparents,San Francisco,strangers,zoned-out parents ·

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Rayne of Terror March 25, 2009 at 5:54 pm

Wow, you didn’t ask/tell mom/kid to stop? You have a lot more restraint than I.


doodaddy March 25, 2009 at 5:57 pm

@Rayne of Terror – Nah, I opted for avoidance. Story of my life.


mom, again March 26, 2009 at 3:34 am

sometimes, you gotta say it outright. she figured you were cool with it since you didn’t say otherwise. even then, sometimes it’s not until you start telling their kid, ‘NO’ that they begin noticing their kid is not universally beloved.


choosydad March 27, 2009 at 9:36 am

Yeah, I can’t stand when people give their kids a set of rules in public, and then turn the other cheek and cut them loose to terrorize other children without enforcing those rules. I often think they are just calling out these rules for the comfort of other parents. That way, if something happens to your child, they can pretend to be responsible parents…as in, “sorry, you heard me tell him not to do that.”


Nan April 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm



denese April 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm

maybe we should start a support group, only for parents with a clue. or at least half of one. i’m feeling that perhaps our meetings would be slightly attended.

my own: a few weeks ago i was at the grocery store, had my (hairy) sleeping daughter in the sling, was unloading my cart. a young boy (i’d guess three years old, maybe 3.5) was sitting in the cart in front of me, screaming about how he wants this candy and those things and one of those (which happened to be everything in my possession), and so not buying into this newfangled “sitting” thing. i was busy unloading and ignoring for maybe one minute when he PUNCHED ME IN THE BACK. his mom? saw it and mumbled “oh, jacob, that’s not nice” and could barely glance in my general direction to mumble “sorry.” as he continued to slap towards me and reach for my things, i realized that i was sorry too, for a couple things.

he then kept yanking my cart OUT OF MY HANDS, no kidding, and his mom is my nominee for this year’s ‘Needs to Be More Firm Because Obviously He’s Not Listening, Constant Whispered “Oh, Jacob, Please Sit Down”s are Not Working’ award. i figured, hell, do her a favor. i shot him a glare with a gentle yet firm “please stop, that is not yours.”

he froze. and was silent until they were out of my sight.

oh lordy i am so sorry to hijack your space. i just had to get that out. thanks.


Super Mega Dad April 21, 2009 at 10:38 pm

I’m with Rayne too. I’ve become a lot braver with speaking up after I had kids. I never ever spoke up for myself, but when it comes to my kids I’m all into telling parents to get their kids germ incrusted mits out of my kids business. The daycare providers just love me as well.


First time mom July 12, 2009 at 5:00 pm

I am sooo pleased to hear that some parents are as firm as I am. Our daughter is 22 months old and very advanced. She is provided some liberties to explore at home as well as outdoors and can sometimes get testy. We have set boundaries for her even then. Whenever we are out and she tries to test her limits dad and I immediately pull her to the side and caution her. Believe me…she understands. If she “demands” an item from the snack rack and is told no, she sometimes gets “annoyed” and I give her the NO look followed by the mommy said No!! I am truly not bothered by the crowd because a year from now, I know it will be beneficial.

Please read the book by David Walsh, PH.D. called NO (Why kids of all ages should hear it and how to say it). Amazing.


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