Tuesday, July 08, 2008

target on our backs

Recently we were in the bookstore with Spirited, who was asleep in the stroller and being watched by Cowboy. After a few minutes of browsing in an area away from them, I heard her cry. After she cried for a little bit, I started back towards them to see if I could help. There was a man standing there jingling his keys in front of her face. He seemed very nice. I took over and let Cowboy browse.
As we were walking home, Spirited started crying again. As we stopped to soothe her, Cowboy said sarcastically, "if only someone was here to tell us what to do!" (Apparently, he has been feeling harassed by well-meaning people who have offered their unsolicited advice on how to handle a baby.)
The funny thing is that men (for good or bad) seem to get advice with an attitude of "poor dear, he doesn't know any better" to go with it. Women seem to get it with a more judgmental attitude. At the same time, women can be incredibly supportive, and other parents often offer conspiratorial smiles. It's interesting how carting a child around opens you up to conversations you aren't expecting with people you wouldn't normally talk to. It's a good equalizer.

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