I used to be opinionated. I used to judge people's choices. I had opinions on how children should be raised and treated; everything was so black and white. It was so easy back then, when it was obvious that my child was going to be well behaved and cooperative from day one, at all times of day. HA! That being said, I never dared to share my advice with a parent. I kept it to myself.
My first tidbit of parenting advice came in a grocery store check out line from a woman old enough to be Ember's great- great- grandmother. It was just a few days before Christmas, Ember was just two weeks old and I had just finished picking up all the groceries needed for our Christmas feast. The place was packed to the seams and I was tired.
We're about 3 people back in the line to checkout and my girl loses it. She is just wailing away. "I'mmmm hunnnngrrrry!!!", her cry is screaming at me. I'm swinging her around in her carseat trying to calm her, when the old gal in front of me, turns around and says, "Sometimes they just like to be held you know." Cue immediate hate and rage! I explain that Ember is hungry and I can't help her that instant since I'm nursing. Oh well, this lady persists, "Holding her may help."
Well, thanks tips! Look around, maybe if I weren't in a grocery store checkout about to purchase enough food for ye olde Christmas dinner, I would hold me child. Maybe if she weren't two weeks old, and she could hold her own head up allowing me to unload my grocery cart, I would hold her. Maybe if I knew holding her would fix it and settle her for the next hour, I would bounce her on my hip. But here's the thing, nothing is going to quiet her down until there is a boob in her mouth, so I'm not going to tease her but pulling her out of the carseat, and then toture her by putting her back in it without a meal. Of course, I say none of the above. Instead, I just simply say, "Yup, sometimes they do. Merry Christmas." And mutter a few choice words under my breath.
The second incident that made me want to launch a dirty diaper at a human being, was during a Robbie Burns dinner when Ember was 8 weeks old. Ember was the only child there, let alone infant, and many, many women were cooing in her face. She was really well behaved but each night, my girl has a 'witching hour' where she is easily annoyed. During that time, she likes to cuddle and to lay low, patience really isn't in abundance. To make it more bearable that evening, after our dinner and before dancing, I took Ember to the bathroom to change her our of her dress, and into a clean diaper and a sleeper. She is perfectly happy until her back hits that cold change table, at which point, chicky melts down. I'm working as fast as I can while Ember just belts out a sob song. Most women in the loo were understanding but there was one bag, who as she was leaving felt it necessary to say to her friend, "Why didn't she just pick the baby up?"
Argh!! Really?!?? It was cold in the bathroom and my daughter's rear end is hanging out. The way to fix the problem is to dress her. A feat which is a wee bit trickier with a squirmy, little body. Come on!!!
Nothing opens you up to unsolicited advice like parenthood. And, ladies, we are the best at dispensing at it. We're also very good at judging. Maybe it's time we cut each other a little slack and give one another the benefit of a doubt. After all, a parent probably knows their child better than you do. That's coming from me and I used to be opinionated.