Monday, December 10, 2007

Shop talk

Saturday I was at Wal-Mart shopping for a few items, more than one of which was in the baby section. I've always thought that when people are actually shopping in the baby section, they seem to slip into a friendlier mode, talking to others who are also in their world, discussing ages, genders, and latest milestones of their kids.

As I was standing in front of the shelves full of baby foods, cereals, and juices, there was a lady who came up from my right side. She was talking to the man a few steps behind her who was dutifully pushing the shopping cart piled high with their coats and scarves. There was no kid in sight. I should specify that she was talking LOUDLY. It was almost as if she was unabashedly inviting people to stop and listen to the earth-shattering things she had to say. As she walked up to where I was looking through the Graduates items for Lil' Crunchies, she stood about 12 inches from me and sighed very loudly. She said, apparently to the man, although she didn't direct it toward him, "I just WISH he would eat! What do you think we should try this time? Or do we just give in and let him eat the same two things." The man made no response, just followed as she passed behind me and then stopped on my left side. She continued, still sounding like she was trying to share this info with someone a few aisles over, "Nobody gets how frustrating this is! I wish we could go back to when he just took a bottle. "

Since I hadn't found what I wanted yet, I considered walking around the next aisle and waiting for them to finish and leave before returning to search some more. But that seemed silly. Before I realized I'd decided to say anything, I heard myself blurt out, "I know feeding can be stressful sometimes." "Well, WE are trying to get him to start taking some solids, and he only wants a few particular ones," she replied. "It's been like three weeks, and I don't know how long I can take this!" She had such a martyr's air to her, at least I think that's why I said, "Aw, that is hard. My daughter has a feeding tube." I surprised myself, let me tell you. She hesitated for just a second, and she said dismissively, "Well I guess I should be thankful, then. "

Thank goodness, I spied those evasive Lil' Crunchies, and grabbed them up. I said, "I'm sorry it's frustrating for you," smiled as sincerely as I could, and I walked away.

It got under my skin, and that surprised me. She had no way to know what feeding issues meant in our house, and I'm sure they are just as frustrated with their particular set of circumstances. There was just something about her more-distressed-than-thou air that was too much for me. It was almost like she wanted some kind of medal of courage for hanging in there, and if she did, I'm sorry she felt like she needed to look for it in a Wal-Mart aisle. I gotta say, that poor guy looked like he'd been hearing that song for a very long time.

12 comments:

  1. Yes! She should be thankful! She was given a gift, even if he is a picky eater! But in her defense, we sometimes can get caught up in our own little world, and not think about how things can be worse. Hopefully, your comment has caused her eyes to open.

    And I must say Preston loves those Lil crunchies! He eats the vegetable ones.

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  2. Shannon--You're right, and I often say that everything is always more real when it's happening in our own world. I'm sure for her it's very frustrating, and I wish that on no one. I think it just caught me on a particularly testy day. I am glad I kept it short and almost sweet.

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  3. It's amazing how other people's comments about their kids effect me differently now as well. People are not thankful for what they have been given. Some people are so blessed and don't even realize it.

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  4. Good for you speaking up. Shannon's right - maybe your comment will have shifted her perspective a bit :)

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  5. Melanie--I think back 13 months and I would only have noticed how loud she was if I'd encountered her then...but perspectives do change with experience.

    Melissa--I feel like I could have used my few words more wisely, but oh well...it's my first time!

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  6. YAY to you!!! I am the same as you as far as I surprise myself with some of the things I say. It just drives me crazy when people complain about things and have no idea how lucky they are!!! People do not stop and think before they open their mouths!!! I cannot even tell you how many people ask how old Ella is and when I say she is 15 months old they always say something like "oh I bet she is running all over the place" (I know this is a totally innocent thing to say) and then I like to see their faces when I say "no, Ella has Down syndrome and the average age for a baby with Ds to start walking is between 2 to 3 years old." I almost never get a response back : ) I was never like this before, but finally after a cashier at walmart said she must just be lazy I'd had enough!!! I am super sensitive now, I was a very shy quiet person but now I shock myself.

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  7. Kacey--I don't know what I'll do the next time, and I wish I did. I don't like feeling like a loose cannon of sorts! I place a very high importance on appropriateness in verbal interactions with strangers...in other words, I don't like to sound like an idiot when I'm talking to people, so I like to be prepared or at least have a few plans to choose from. I guess I'm gonna have to just wing it in this kind of situation, though...I hope I don't have very many.

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  8. Hello, someone pointed me to your blog and this post, being a mom to a child who had a feeding tube and still having some feeding issues (like chewing) I get where you are coming from. Good for you for being so strong and standing your ground. God bless you and your family,
    Crystal M.
    www.evanichole.blogspot.com

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  9. Crystal (and Eva!)--Thanks for coming by!

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  10. Yay! I am proud of you too! I can't tell you how many times I've come home, crying to my husband, about something someone said at the grocery store about baby food. Feeding issues are hard to live with and they do make us mommas sensitive. I hope that lady gets over her little drama. The snippy part of me would of thought, "gee I bet your baby isn't even 1 yet. Try hanging out in this aisle for 3yrs for the same child."

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  11. You don't know what problems or issues she has, likewise she doesn't know yours. We should all be more grateful for whatever. Let's be a bit easier on each other. I'm sure she wasn't trying to hurt your feelings.

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  12. SunflowerMom-I'm sure there will be more times that try my patience, but I hope to get more patient as I go...we'll see.

    MadAnne-I'm also sure she didn't mean to hurt my feelings.

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