I avoid baby stores like the plague, for they are full of my least favorite things: parents.
Babies have excuses for socially unacceptable behavior. Parents? Not so much.
Example from a recent trip, taken under duress and only because there simply isn’t any way to get a few necessary baby items if one goes to a regular store (by few, I mean one; and by necessary I mean newborn head support for Hazelnut’s car seat. The organic cheese puffs were not the reason for the trip, so don’t judge me. Okay, they were a secondary reason, but the baby superawfulstore is closer than a natural food store. And the head support. I’m trying to support my infant’s head, people. And they are grilled cheese puffs, made with natural chemicals and organic empty calories to taste like crunchy grilled cheese.)
Dad and Mom are shopping with one year old child. Mom is carrying her, but hands her to Dad as she investigates all the useless and lame sippy cup technology available at the baby superawfulstore.
Child wants to hold Dad’s glasses. He gives them to her. She shakes them. Then drops or throws them. He says:
“No. Don’t do that. That is being a bad girl. Do not throw Daddy’s glasses. I do not want you to do that. That is being very, very bad. No, I will not hug you. You do not get hugs when you are very bad. Bad girl.” Her lip is out; she’s sad and trying to hug him. He puts his glasses back on and walks away before I hear whether she cries.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Academy, I want to give this man a parenting award. He didn’t hit her for dropping or throwing the glasses, and in so doing, allowed her exactly one chance to express a totally normal scientific impulse: experimentation with gravity. She needed to see what happened to the glasses if they dropped. Sure he withheld love and told her that she was a flawed person for disobeying instructions he thought but never expressed aloud; but he didn’t beat her as most of the parents in the superawfulstore tend to. And that generous restraint is why she will grow up with stupendous self esteem and be willing to stand up for what’s right in the world. Ladies and gentlemen of the Academy, this man is a Nobel Peace Prize waiting to happen. He’s preventing future wars and genocide by teaching love, patience, and respect.
And if they don’t give him an award, they are very, very bad and he won’t hug them even if they cry. A guy’s gotta put his foot down, after all, with a parenting award committee that’s totally new to this planet and its rules.