Friday, April 24, 2009

Free Parenting Advice



It's Fatherhood Friday again. Be sure and stop by Dad Blogs to check out all the posts.



Don't be fooled by the title. I am offering no advice today. Frankly I don't have any advice to offer. Apparently I'm the only person on earth that feels that way.

I am sure every parent has noticed the flooding of advice you get when you have a kid. The advice starts even before your child is born. When my wife was pregnant we got constant comments from everyone we met whether they knew us or not. That train kept right on rolling after Braden was born.

We were at the store recently when one of these incidents occurred. I am sure you regular readers can guess what store we were frequenting. We came around the end of an isle and were met by an "Ohhhh! He's so cute!" We enjoy compliments as much as the next person so we offered our appreciation. That would have been a good place for this conversation to end. Instead the complete stranger says "He's drooling. He is probably cutting teeth." It's hard to recreate this incident on paper. You readers can't see the air of superiority this lady was projecting. The "you should thank me for enlightening you" smirk is undetectable in this writing. I truly believe this woman thought she had done a great service to the world.

I am sure many of you think this is no big deal. You think I should take it easy. I guess it is OK for strange people that you just met to tell you things about your child. I, however, wanted to ask the lady if she had any feeding tips. Maybe she would like to instruct me on the proper way to change a diaper.

Instead I just smiled and walked away muttering under my breath. Children have many affects on people. They turn a lot of people into babbling idiots, myself included. I never understood before I had a child, but sometimes you can't help but make those silly noises. Anything that makes the baby smile or laugh is fun. The little creatures can certainly instill feelings of love, pride, and a million other emotions as well.

One of the craziest things a baby can do, in my opinion, is turn random strangers into experts. Everyone on the planet has an opinion on everything that relates to babies. They have no reservations about sharing said opinions with everyone they meet. People will tell you your baby is teething. They will tell you he has a tummy ache. They will tell you he is going to be short, tall, fat, skinny, smart, a ladies man, a football player, or virtually anything else imaginable. A family friend told us our son would be good at sports because he has a big head. This man is a very successful doctor by the way. What gets into these people to make them say such crazy things. I guess it's a good thing that babies eventually grow up. If they stayed infants forever they would probably control the world.

Next time someone suggests our son is teething I think I will disagree. I will look them straight in the eye and say, "No he's not. Our species doesn't even have teeth."

14 comments:

Melisa with one S said...

I'm with you. Strangers need to keep their mouths shut. My kids are too old for strangers to be making comments about them at the store; now the comments are focused on my cart and what's in it. Shut up, people!!!!

Jason said...

Thankfully mine have outgrown this stage and all I get are how cute my 2 year old is. From that point he carries on his own conversation with the person while I do whatever it is that I went there for in the first place :)

Andrew's Daddies said...

My son is still teething..we always get comments. I always find myself walking away saying "YES, THANK YOU"...with the biggest smile on my face no matter what comment they are making.

I'm so immune to it now...

WeaselMomma said...

It doesn't change even when they are teens, your comebacks just get sharper and less reserved. Good Luck. I think he'll be a Chip -n-Dale dancer someday!

Anne said...

Everyone will offer you advice, some good, some not so good. I have to admit, your post made me feel really unobservant. I don't think I would notice a baby teething if I met one in a store. I guess you have a choice between offered advice or those of us who are completely self absorbed.

PJ Mullen said...

Before I was a parent I wouldn't have known what to say and I think I've done pretty good at avoiding offering any advice since my son was born. I'm not going to say I've never said anything stupid, but I've run into this a lot with my son too and it really grinds me. We were in the store and got the "aw, he's a cutie" stuff and as I am thanking them for the compliment he started to rub his eyes. Then came the "aw, you should get him home, he's tired and needs a nap". It took every ounce of my being to control myself and not inform her that he just got up from a two hour nap before we left the house not fifteen minutes ago and maybe she should shut the h-e-double hockey sticks up.

New Dad Blog said...

Dude, I feel your pain. I fight this kind of thing daily. I know I'm not the most knowledgable guy in the world, hince I'm on dad-blogs pimping advice, but sometimes the most basic stuff is thrown at me it shocks me.

My wife, in-laws, co-workers and strangers are all more than willing to inform me on what I should be doing. . .

Un-Hawthorne-ed said...

This was the Wall-mart lady you wanted to punch in the face, wasn't it?
My wife isn't due for four months, and already people are claiming to know detailed things about my in-utero son. "He's going to be tall like his daddy" or "He kicks alot, he's going to love oranges and wear a derby hat"
I feel you brother. I'm the farthest thing from an aggressive guy, but stupid comments make me want to hurt someone now that it's related to my child--weird.

Daddy Files said...

Unsolicited advice...the ugly side effect of having kids.

Even relatives can be annoying with this. One time Will fell just before I brought him to my folks' house. He landed on his face and got a red mark on his cheek.

When we walked into my parents' house my mom said "Oooh, he's getting his molars." I asked why she thought that and she said she knew because of the "rash on his cheek." Yet even when I told her that he had fallen minutes before, she continued to believe she was right.

Now I've just started making shit up. You know, stuff like "Ooooh, he's got knobby knees. That means he's gonna grow up to be a urologist."

Because that makes as much sense as some of the other bullshit I hear.

surprised mom said...

The unsolicited advice started when I was pregnant. We didn't know the sex of the child, but everyone else did by the way I was carrying the baby. It went on from there ... what I should and shouldn't eat, what kind of exercise I should get, how to sit, stand, lay, blah ... blah ... blah. The weirdest situation came at a funeral home, where six weeks from delivering my second and deeply in grief for my sister, a person I knew from a far away land put her hands on my stomach, predicted the sex of the baby (WRONG!) and predicted the baby's future.

And why is it that people, strangers to you and your baby, whether they have children or NOT, think they know it all? What is this?

Joel said...

Amen, brother. Solidarity.

I threatened a couple of weeks ago to make a t-shirt that said, "I don't know how to care for this Baby. Please help."

My wife talked me out of it asserting that 1. That slogan is too long to put on a t-shirt and 2. The people it would be directed at would take it seriously instead of sarcastically.

I hate it when she's right.

Rob said...

I think you just let people like that think they know everything, says thanks and move on. People like that are looking for a response and you giving them one only validates them as a person and a know it all. You did the right thing. Happy FF!

Super Mega Dad said...

I'd be curious if that woman has ever had kids. My favorite moments are when I get advice from some stranger, and being the jerk I am, I ask if they themselves have kids. A lot of times they don't and I just kind of shake my head knowingly, mutter an "OHHHHHH...OK", thank them for their advice and walk away. :)

Bella Daddy said...

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU...been saying the same for almost 3 years now...people need to keep it to themselves...we actually had a stranger tell us our 3 month old was smiling...cuz she had gas! AAARGH!