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Author Topic: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting  (Read 9218 times)

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Piratelvr1121

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2010, 01:18:26 PM »
I remember that when DS1 became coordinated enough to purposely yank his socks off, he would.  All the time, could not keep socks on the child.    At the time we lived in Sunny southern California and I'd have people telling me "Your baby's feet are going to get cold, why doesn't he have socks on?"

I'd smile, shrug and say "I can't keep socks on him, he keeps pulling them off!"  Or "The only time he'll allow socks on his feet is if he's sleeping!" Then I'd get a dirty look for not being stern enough with my baby to make him leave his socks on.   So I'd pull them out of my pocket (usually where I'd put them after the last time they sailed to the floor) and put them back on, feeling like a terrible mother.

You guessed it...off they came again and I figured his feet can't be too cold if he keeps taking the socks off!   That and it was southern California...it didn't get that cold!
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

ipsedixit

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2010, 01:32:03 PM »
I'm with Dindrane.  The woman's curt statement, along with her unfriendly expression is likely to come across as harsh and accusatory.  I would much rather be approached with 'you may not know this, but'.  I don't find that phrasing to have the underlying meaning that the parent should know and hasn't been doing their job, in fact it seems much less accusatory to me that just making the statement matter of factly.


ITA. If you (general) are going to point out something that is ultimately, none of your business, the least you can do is be polite and friendly about it.

She wasn't impolite or unfriendly, just matter of fact.  Statements don't have to be couched in flourishes and sunshine to be polite.

I agree with this.  I don't think there was any judgment, just a fact. 

If she were making comments or suggestions (why don't you have sunglasses on that baby, why are you making the baby squint, that cover isn't big enough, you're harming the baby!, etc), then she'd be rude, but it sounds like she just telling you the sun was in the baby's eyes. 

MrsJWine

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2010, 01:34:42 PM »
I'm going to take the OP's word for it that her demeanor was more busybody than it was a, "Just to let you know..." kind of thing.  Yes, it's possible that she was just being nice, but we'll never know.  I say it is an angle for the OP to consider in the future, if this sort of thing happens again.  Part of learning to deal with irritatingly nosy people is making yourself believe the best explanation for such events.  The other part is learning not to care.  However, now that it's over and done with, all we can do is discuss what appears to have happened.  

I think a polite "thank you for your concern" would have been perfect here.  If the person was just being nice, it's not harsh or defensive.  If the person was being a judgmental busybody, it sends a message without engaging the nosy.  Because yes, sometimes people are just being nice and come off as busybodies.  Breaking out the nukes over such ambiguous situations has the potential to really hurt a kind person's feelings.

OT:  You'll find that people are totally weird about certain things.  Past the newborn stage, if a baby is too cold, he will let you know.  Loudly.  I don't understand the obsession with hats and socks.  If it's 82 degrees outside, and my child is wearing a summer outfit and sweating, chances are she doesn't need a knit hat and socks.

And sunlight!  Babies aren't vampires (well emotional vampires, maybe :)).  If their tender skin is exposed to the sun for two minutes once a week, they won't burst into flames.


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Shea

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2010, 01:38:51 PM »
Unless the baby was in imminent danger of harm, it was none of the lady's business. Maybe she was really trying to be helpful and maybe she was being a judgmental busybody, but either way it's not her place to comment.

I wouldn't get too worked up about it, OP, though I understand why you were annoyed. Roll your eyes and let it go, because I suspect MrsJWine is right, some people are going to comment whether it's their business or not.


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DangerMouth

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2010, 01:54:20 PM »
I'm with Dindrane.  The woman's curt statement, along with her unfriendly expression is likely to come across as harsh and accusatory.  I would much rather be approached with 'you may not know this, but'.  I don't find that phrasing to have the underlying meaning that the parent should know and hasn't been doing their job, in fact it seems much less accusatory to me that just making the statement matter of factly.


ITA. If you (general) are going to point out something that is ultimately, none of your business, the least you can do is be polite and friendly about it.

She wasn't impolite or unfriendly, just matter of fact.  Statements don't have to be couched in flourishes and sunshine to be polite.

I didn't say she was rude, but I do think it is impolite and unfriendly to start talking to someone without so much as a "Hello", or "..Excuse me...".

I mean, I think it's probably the most basic of manners to actually greet someone before you start making random comments.

And a smile certainly would have been friendly, especially if the first words you ever speak to a person could be taken as a correction or a criticism. It's entirely possible to be matter of fact and still be friendly, and the OP probably would NOT have felt critcized if the person had been friendly about it.

No there don't need to be "flourishes and sunshine" (::)) but since when is a smile and a "hello" such an onerous part of manners?

ETA: a NOT :D
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 04:50:36 PM by DangerMouth »

MrsJWine

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #20 on: October 18, 2010, 02:44:14 PM »
I, too, hate having to couch simple statements in flourishes and qualifiers, but I think basic politeness says that you don't just offer a drive-by observation like that without so much as a "hello."  To use Dindrane's example, I wouldn't just walk up to someone, lean in close, and pronounce, "Your shirt is untucked," then walk off without a smile or simple greeting.  I'd say something like, "Hi, I don't mean to embarrass you, but I thought you might like to know your shirt is untucked."


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Judah

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2010, 02:52:06 PM »
I guess we'll just have to disagree. I don't think the woman did anything wrong or rude.  Nor do I think the OP should take it as a slight to her parenting.
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Strong hints don't work.
Really obvious hints don't work.
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Dindrane

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2010, 02:55:49 PM »
I, too, hate having to couch simple statements in flourishes and qualifiers, but I think basic politeness says that you don't just offer a drive-by observation like that without so much as a "hello."  To use Dindrane's example, I wouldn't just walk up to someone, lean in close, and pronounce, "Your shirt is untucked," then walk off without a smile or simple greeting.  I'd say something like, "Hi, I don't mean to embarrass you, but I thought you might like to know your shirt is untucked."

I agree.  I don't think saying something like, "Hi, it looks like the sun might be in your baby's eyes, since she's squinting" is anything remotely like a verbal flourish.

I think it's helpful to pretend, for a moment, that we're just talking about adults without involving the child.  I can imagine a tone of voice where a statement like, "Your shirt is untucked," wouldn't read as rude, but I can't imagine a tone of voice that wouldn't sound somewhat abrupt.  That's especially true if someone leans in close and examines me first--you're going to kind of invade my personal space, and you can't even say, "hello" or "excuse me"?

For that matter, doesn't it seem just a little awkward to start talking to a complete stranger without saying "hello" or "excuse me" first?


MrsJWine

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2010, 02:58:14 PM »
I, too, hate having to couch simple statements in flourishes and qualifiers, but I think basic politeness says that you don't just offer a drive-by observation like that without so much as a "hello."  To use Dindrane's example, I wouldn't just walk up to someone, lean in close, and pronounce, "Your shirt is untucked," then walk off without a smile or simple greeting.  I'd say something like, "Hi, I don't mean to embarrass you, but I thought you might like to know your shirt is untucked."

I agree.  I don't think saying something like, "Hi, it looks like the sun might be in your baby's eyes, since she's squinting" is anything remotely like a verbal flourish.

I think it's helpful to pretend, for a moment, that we're just talking about adults without involving the child.  I can imagine a tone of voice where a statement like, "Your shirt is untucked," wouldn't read as rude, but I can't imagine a tone of voice that wouldn't sound somewhat abrupt.  That's especially true if someone leans in close and examines me first--you're going to kind of invade my personal space, and you can't even say, "hello" or "excuse me"?

For that matter, doesn't it seem just a little awkward to start talking to a complete stranger without saying "hello" or "excuse me" first?

Totally OT:  I think a character who does this habitually would make great SNL material.  Close-Talking Cleo!  The Abruptinator!  Drive-By Danny! 

I don't know.  Maybe I've had too much coffee.


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MrsO

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #24 on: October 18, 2010, 03:44:55 PM »
I, too, hate having to couch simple statements in flourishes and qualifiers, but I think basic politeness says that you don't just offer a drive-by observation like that without so much as a "hello."  To use Dindrane's example, I wouldn't just walk up to someone, lean in close, and pronounce, "Your shirt is untucked," then walk off without a smile or simple greeting.  I'd say something like, "Hi, I don't mean to embarrass you, but I thought you might like to know your shirt is untucked."
Pod.
I'm gonna tell a story now that will probably make me look like a dozy, inattentive dimwit :P . Last year, I was pushing BabyO down the street in his pushchair. We'd had heavy snow for about two weeks, so it was freezing cold. When I left the house, BabyO had been wearing a vest, trousers, socks, shoes, t-shirt, sweater, coat, gloves and hat, THEN was bundled up in the cozytoes of his pram. BabyO greatly disliked being bundled up in anything, much less 5 layers :P . About 5 minutes down the road, a lady approached me (friendly and sorta laughing) and said 'I know you probably aren't aware, but your son seems to have removed half of his clothes!' I look round (I couldn't see before because the hood was pulled dwn on his pram) to see that he'd unzipped his cozytoes, taken off his shoes and socks, removed his gloves and hat, and managed to wriggle his arms free from his coat, sweater AND tshirt. I turned behind me to see a trail of babyclothes down the street. God knows how I hadn't noticed him discarding his clothing along the road! I wasnt offended at all, because the woman approached me in a friendly, helpful manner, NOT judgemental at all, and it was quite clear that I hadn't left the house with him looking like that :P .
The lady in the OP sounded like she used a judgemental tone, plus, what can the OP do about the sun? There was nothing that could be done, whether it was bothering the baby or not. Plus, if the baby wasn't crying or fussing, chances are it wasn't bothering her anyway. The lady seems like a busybody to me. And I'm very difficult to offend. But I'd have been bothered by this.

MrsJWine

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #25 on: October 18, 2010, 03:47:51 PM »
MrsO, My daughter doesn't know how to undress herself, but it's very easy for her to drop things out of the stroller without me ever seeing them.  I think what happens is that your eyes are focused on the sidewalk or road in front of the stroller, and you simply step over or around dropped things without ever seen them.  With our stroller, the sunshade and handle block most of the view around the sides, too, so things dropped unobtrusively to the side also go unnoticed.  We've taken to only bringing things in the stroller that are REALLY loud when dropped.  :)


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Bexx27

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #26 on: October 18, 2010, 07:06:55 PM »
OP here. Thanks to all for your thoughtful responses.

Yes, I was definitely taken aback by the abruptness of the lady just coming out with her comment without a smile or greeting. Especially since she didn't just happen to notice DD squinting but actually took the time to look into the stroller. I think it was jarring because when someone looks into DD's stroller and then speaks to me, I am expecting to hear something complimentary about how cute she is. Also, if someone pays attention to a baby it is usually to smile at or interact with her in some way instead of giving her a cursory glance to check if there is anything "wrong" that her parent should know about.

And DD was totally fine, and there was nothing I could do about it in the first place.

Anyway, I wasn't terribly offended, just a little annoyed.

Next time I will take MrsJWine's advice and try to assume the best and thank the busybody.

MrsO, your story made me laugh!
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Sharnita

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #27 on: October 18, 2010, 07:10:15 PM »
but she didn't know you couldn't do anything.  some parents could put a hat on and have the child leave it on. she doesn't know that your child will pull the hat off.

kareng57

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #28 on: October 18, 2010, 07:12:04 PM »
OP here. Thanks to all for your thoughtful responses.

Yes, I was definitely taken aback by the abruptness of the lady just coming out with her comment without a smile or greeting. Especially since she didn't just happen to notice DD squinting but actually took the time to look into the stroller. I think it was jarring because when someone looks into DD's stroller and then speaks to me, I am expecting to hear something complimentary about how cute she is. Also, if someone pays attention to a baby it is usually to smile at or interact with her in some way instead of giving her a cursory glance to check if there is anything "wrong" that her parent should know about.

And DD was totally fine, and there was nothing I could do about it in the first place.

Anyway, I wasn't terribly offended, just a little annoyed.

Next time I will take MrsJWine's advice and try to assume the best and thank the busybody.

MrsO, your story made me laugh!


Yes, I think that's all you can really do in a case like this - assume that she didn't mean to come across as abruptly as she did.

Years ago Dh had both kids with him in a department store, and DS #2 was in a backpack.  At one point, a store clerk stopped him and said "sir, I don't know if you know that your baby is eating a coathanger"....

Zilla

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Re: Thanks for the random comment on my parenting
« Reply #29 on: October 18, 2010, 07:15:10 PM »
While I wouldn't say that to a stranger, but if you were an friend I would have.  I have an some eye issues and had more than one doctor tell me that the majority of eye issues stems from sunlight hitting the eyes.

But I would have said it with concern and only if I knew you.  I would suggest a blanket till you reach the trees.

And kudos to you for not saying anything!