It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Button-pushing. Not just for toddlers!

“Oh, look at all the babies!”

We’re out in the mega stroller, of course.

“Goodness, are they all yours?”

(Of course. I’m always asked that.)

“Oh, dear. Can you see, honey? This one,” the sweet white-haired woman straightens to tell me, “this one can hardly see.” Her brow furrows, and suddenly she’s not sweet. “Her hat is almost entirely covering her face!” Not sweet at all. I am being reprimanded. For being negligent. Shoddy caregiving, that’s what this is! Harrumph.

Her companion, a woman I would judge to be her daughter (and about my age), also straightens. Goodness. Am I going to get it from the both of them?

I could point out that the child is question is not complaining. I could point out that, given my so-responsible sun-shade, I can’t see the children’s heads from where I stand at the back. (Not without tilting 45 degrees to one side to peer underneath, that is — which, I might add, I do at least once per block.)

Instead, I opt for a subtle reprimand back. “If it bothers her, she’s perfectly capable of moving it. She’ll never learn if I do it for her, will she?” And I smile. I’m aiming for warm, but I may only have achieved a semi-savage baring of teeth. I suspect the latter, because the sweet/stern/scolding woman’s condemning frown turns uncertain.

Her companion leaps in.

“It’s what I always say, mother!” (Called that right!) “We need to let kids learn things themselves.” I shoot her a grateful glance, which she doesn’t notice, as she’s only beginning. “You’re always complaining, mother, that kids these days expect the world to bend over backward for them. Well, who do you think taught them that? There’s a time and place to just step back and…”

She’s still gaining momentum as their voices fade into the distance. Oops. I didn’t mean to trigger a mother-daughter spat… but I rather suspect this particular one has been going on for decades…

June 10, 2011 - Posted by | our adoring public, parenting | , , ,


  1. Very nice. Sounds like mother needs to learn to pick her battles. 🙂

    At least when her daughter’s around! I got the impression this was an old, familiar battle for the two of them…

    Comment by MJ | June 10, 2011 | Reply

  2. Oh, this made me laugh. While I can’t see my own mother and I doing that? My dad and I… I can easily imagine/recall the “discussions” that we’ve had.

    I’m glad it made you laugh, rather than cringe. Families can be complicated and challenging, can’t they?

    Comment by Dani | June 10, 2011 | Reply

  3. Ooh, my mum brought me up right. I wouldn’t have pulled her up like that in public!

    It was awkward. I can’t imagine my mother reprimanding a total stranger in public for such a small offense, but even if she were to do something so odd (and rude), I couldn’t imagine compounding the rudeness by scolding her in public in front of strangers! Gracious. (And around we go. Perhaps the daughter learned this behaviour from her mother? So we could call it karma for the mother?)

    Comment by Z | June 10, 2011 | Reply

  4. *sigh* Don’t you just love the assvice when you’re out with the kiddos? I know I do.

    Also, that stroller? LOVE. My current crop of kids are too big for a stroller, but when they go off to school and I likely have to start with younger ones I will have that stroller. That one right there, and I don’t care how much it costs. It’s PERFECT.

    Start saving now. It’s not cheap — but it’s absolutely, 100% worth the money! It is perfect. The only (and I do mean only) weak spot in its near-perfect design, as far as I’m concerned, is the spacing of the seats. They are close enough together that you sort of have to learn the just-right way of getting the children in. I don’t know where you are, but if your kids will need to wear snowsuits and boots in the winter, it can be a bit of a trick wedging them in there. It’s not uncommon to lose a boot when you lift a child out.

    However, if it were any longer, you wouldn’t be able to get it all the places it can get to now. If it’s a choice between ease of movement and a little more space, I wouldn’t exchange its manoeuvrability for more space between the seats. Because for all its length, it’s remarkably manoeuvrable. I can steer that thing, fully loaded with 2.5-year-olds, with one hand. Seriously. So yes, get one!

    Comment by hodgepodge | June 10, 2011 | Reply

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