Saturday, August 28, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to the park

The picture I've just added (top right, in case you missed it) was taken this afternoon at a little park in Aylmer.  Chloe was thrilled to be able to play in the splash pad. She was afraid to go in at first, but when Daddy finally relented and went in fully clothed, she was all for it! My wallet is drying out surprisingly well.

So... the other story to which I alluded yesterday. Well, I should preface it by explaining just what a dire situation two first-time parents were in at the time. Chloe was about 2 months old and in the height of terrible colic. She was sleeping for no more that 20-40 minutes at one time, all day and all night. So, to put some perspective on this, if Julie and I got her to bed at 7:00 pm, she would normally be awake by 7:30. It would then take nearly an hour to get her back to sleep. I think you can put the rest of the night together. Oh, and I should add, when she was awake, she screamed non-stop the whole time, like something out of a Hitchcock movie. To calm the screaming, all we could do was stand, rock her back and forth, while jiggling her the whole time. We had tried everything, every book, every piece of advise. This is the best we had.

To get any sleep at all, we had to work in shifts, with one of us often sleeping in the basement for half of the night so the screaming wasn't too loud. In the morning, I had to go to work, and Julie kept on having to deal with the screaming. I truly believe that as exhausted and demoralized as I was, Julie had it worse. At least I could get away from the screaming.

So here I was on a Saturday afternoon standing in the park rocking a screaming baby back and forth to try to settle her, when along came this woman with a look of incredible pity on her face - as though she had stumbled upon a lost puppy dog. At this point I'll have to translate approximately, because she was speaking French. She reached over to us, holding her hands out above us in a Mother Teresa style prayer/embrace, and said, "Oh, rub her tummy. That will make her feel better." I didn't answer. I have to admit that at that point I was afraid I would say something uncharitable, so I turned away from her and hoped she'd go away. But anyone rude enough to approach us in the first place wouldn't, would she? Nope, of course not. She actually reached over to Chloe, inside the carrier I had her in, and started rubbing her tummy! Again, I said nothing, but simply stepped aside and glared at her. But she still didn't stop. She actually asked me to hand her my child so that she could rub her tummy and stop the crying - a complete stranger!  The arrogance and presumption was beyond comprehension - beyond anything I could have imagined, and I realized right there just what Julie had been dealing with in terms of other mothers and their advice. It seems that when it comes to parenting, there are no boundaries, no rules. Decorum that applies in any other situation just doesn't here. I breathed deeply, realizing that if I didn't get out of the situation, things might get pretty ugly.  A word to the wise: You never know just who you're approaching in the middle of the park - even if he is holding a sweet child - and if the baby's screaming but isn't being tortured, I would advise staying far away.

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