They call me “creepy.” They call Boo “stressed out.”

I got teased at the playground and it hurt. You’d think I’d’ve gotten over this sort of thing about the same time my age entered double digits, but I think age only lets us mask our hurt at teasing with a wry, knowing smile instead of breaking out into tears.

But I cried my inside tears.

Well, OK, not so drastic. But I did feel a twinge when they called me “creepy” and Boobaby “stressed out.” There were other pejoratives, too, but I forgot ’em. It was all in fun, ha, ha, isn’t it funny how different our parenting strategies are, golly gee, and yours is “creepy” and your baby must be “stressed out,” chuckle chuckle. And we all laughed, of course, because that’s what you do in public when you’re an adult.

The teasers were three totally normal parents, too, not some weirdos, which would have been at least oddly comforting. Two moms and a dad who seem pretty cool — not quite as engaged as I get with the kids, but that’s my shtick, and I know it doesn’t work for every kid or at all times. Sometimes (and with some kids) it works to play interactively, and other times you let the kids play on their own and just keep a distant eye out for impalement and dirt eating. And while I can run the gamut, I’ll admit I tend toward the rolling-wrestling-dancing end of the spectrum.

So I’m the Pied Piper, right? With kids crawling all over me, leading a gaggle of ’em in drawing or dancing or hiking, or whatever? Not so weird since I was a teacher, after all, and besides it’s just kind of who I am — I play with kids, see?

So, please — you can be however you want with your kids — just don’t be mean at me, cause it makes me feel like a sad face smiley. 🙁