19 March 2012

Stranger danger or how my 2 year old attracks odd looks on ME

So last week, we did a field trip to the zoo. We did it before, almost a year ago, with the same friends, you can be reminded about it here. It was the first beautiful day after a very long and rainy weekend. And after a weekend of sickness. My little girl was all feverish on Saturday and still a little bit on Sunday, but miraculously, on Monday, she seemed cured. So of to the zoo we went.
Peanut holding the food for the petting zoo
Quack, quack, I am a duck!
Same order as last year, just side-flipped - too funny!
And in case you were wondering, I went to the zoo with ALL my children - yes, Munchkin came, too. Thank you, Beth, for this wonderful trip, AND the ice cream afterwards!
The kids had so much fun. Watching four kids running around from animal to animal was such a delight. They loved the lions and tigers, the monkeys, and of course, the petting zoo. Even Peanut was 'trying' to feed the animals - may I remind you, that last year, she was so scared, she wouldn't come out of the stroller for three entire hours! So this was BIG progress! Until.....

....at some point, Peanut changed her mind in liking the zoo. She stopped short, started to cry extremely loud, stomped her foot and demanded that I carried her. Well, if you are a mom, like me, you know that you can't let this go - at least not under those conditions. So I stopped where I was and told her to come over, so I could put her in her stroller. That didn't go over so well, so she screamed louder - attracting attention from other visitors. A long time ago, I told myself, that those eyes from strangers, that have no idea what is going on, will NOT scare me nor intimidate me! I have to do what I have to do as a mom - teaching my children the correct behavior - in public or at home.

So I kept encouraging her to come over, as did my friend, and Peanut's friends - to no avail. Eventually, people came by and saw that crying little girl - they probably thought she was lost - and I had to calm them down and tell them that she is just stubborn and needs to learn that she is not the queen of this family! They gave me dirty looks, but oh well.... After a while, her friends could convince her to come along, and she came running to us, Beth and me. So we could keep walking. A few feet further, she started screaming again. And I got even more worried looks from strangers, until one lady addressed me and said: "Her shoes are on the wrong way, I think she is hurting." Really? How about she is just a two year old, trying to figure ME out!?! Or rather how can she get what she wants from me? So I told that 'kind' lady that my daughter likes to dress herself, including her shoes, and that she puts those shoes on opposite ON PURPOSE! I was reassured by Beth that her son used to do the same thing.

Now, what gets me mad is those well-meant comments. Why would you say something when you have no idea what is going on? If I would spank her and went beyond spanking, meaning beating, her in public, I would understand if I got dirty looks and concerns. But this is a crying child - did I mentioned that she is stubborn? - and she is in no danger at all. Just being herself, screaming and trying to get her way! Back off!

Sorry for getting so defensive, but I believe that raising my children is my responsibility. I have close friends that will give me advice if (and when) I do things wrong, or they think I should reconsider my tactics. But then, they do it out of love for me and my children, and usually, they have the full picture of why we acted this way. A stranger has no such right.

[Now, I am sure when there was an emergency, then I would be more than glad if a stranger would save her life. But I hope if that would ever happen, I'll be right there for her, myself.]

What do you do when you get 'those looks'?


C. Beth said...

Well, you know I got a comment that same day, from the guy at the grocery store! It does bother me. I think if someone questions my parenting, it leads ME to question myself too. And that can be good or bad. If it's an honest questioning of myself, to make sure I'm doing the right thing, that's great. But if I'm only questioning myself because of "fear of man," that's not healthy.

That's not a great answer, but it's because it's something I struggle with!