Wednesday, May 11, 2011

All In The Family

The only thing worse than having a total stranger approach you in public to gawk at your kid is having a total stranger approach you in public to gawk at your kid who happens to have a black eye. 
In case you haven't heard, Miss Mackenzie managed to roll off her changing table last week and has herself one helluva shiner. 
As if it weren't enough to feel like a crappy mom for allowing something like this happen under my watch, now there's physical evidence to show the entire world just how crappy I really am.  

Sure, many of you have tried to console me by sharing your own stories of negligence -- and yes that's made me feel better to a certain degree -- but when all is said and done I still feel like I screwed up.  Mackenzie was too fast and too strong for me and I'm beating myself up for taking my eye off her for a split second. 
But life goes on and I can't undo the past so I'll harp on this incident no longer. 
What I WILL obsess over is this weird and inexplicable need to get all up in my baby's business. 
I used to think I was a neo-hippie, all about the free hugs and good vibes, but back then I was also ok with not showering on a daily basis and wearing dresses that could pass for small tents. 
Now my two rules are: 1) don't surrender your daily shower no matter how hectic of a day it is (it's the only time I spend alone, after all) and 2) make sure you never need to wear maternity-looking clothes unless you're pregnant. 
But I digress...
I've been in three situations in as many weeks where total strangers -- all women, all seemingly lovely -- have walked up to Mackenzie, started talking  as if they go way back, and reached out to touch her. 
First of all, ew. 
Secondly, do I know you? Why are you being so aggressive? And why are you surprised that my child is either looking at you with shock or screaming in your face? 
So much for free hugs and good vibes.  How about pass the Purell and Don't Stand So Close To Me. With the first incident I felt bad. I really did. 
This nice woman had five grandkids (like I cared, but still... she felt the need to share) and she was just head over heels in love with the fact that Mackenzie was reclining in the shopping cart with her legs spread-eagle (sadly this is her most comfortable position it seems).  
This lady was one of those people who are too comfortable, too friendly, and too energetic. At one point she had her arm around me gazing at Mackenzie as if she were part of the family. I couldn't help but feel like we had hurt her feelings when Mackenzie started screeching in fear. But that's my daughter... Never one to hide her emotions. 
The second display of inappropriate fraternizing took place at a crowded rest stop (germ mania!) and it involved yet another woman who felt like she was part of the Rohrbeck clan. Luckily for us, this particular lady was one of those people who find it necessary to say, "God bless you!" five times over the course of two minutes. I have to admit I ignored her at first. Not because she was old and seemed like a Jesus freak, but because she complimented me on what a beautiful son I had. When she asked how old "he" was I finally said that it was a girl and she was 11 months. Well, she and Pa just about lost it when I told them my "son" was a daughter. They damn near fell on the floor in hysterics, looking at me as if I were joking. Once they finally got ahold of themselves Ma leaned in and touched Mackenzie's nose, telling me that my daughter was quite "handsome" before adding one last "God bless 'ya" and hopping on the senior tour bus outside. 
As slow as this woman was I still didn't manage to have enough time to ask her why the heck she was inclined to get so cozy with us.  Why on Earth do people want to touch someone else's baby? And why do they feel like they have a right to?
And finally the icing on the cake. 
A loud, but otherwise normal woman approaches us this afternoon and practically jumps in the stroller asking for a ride through Old Navy. 
She won't stop going on and on and on about how precious Mackenzie is...
Until she notices The Shiner. 
She might as well have called Child Services on me. At first the woman suggested that I take a look at Mackenzie's eye. "Ohhhh take a look at that eyyyyye!" Um, yeah. I have. I'm the one who brought her to the doctor, lady! 
Then she asked Mackenzie why she wasn't smiling at her. As IF!!!
Then she made a groundbreaking observation: "She's a wiggly one! That's why she fell off the table, isn't that right boo boo?" 
I'm pretty sure that was the woman's professional, clinical opinion so I probably should've gotten her card just to have handy next time a medical crisis arises in my house. 
To make things even more awkward, Doctor Obvious then starts touching Mackenzie's feet and hands which inevitably end up in her mouth. 
So not only am I the worst mother in the world for letting my kid tumble off a high piece of furniture, I can't even seem to keep her germ-free during a simple trip to the store. 

At this rate I'd like to hole up in the house in order to steer clear of the touchy feelers and God Blessers.  But I'm afraid that we have no choice but to face the world.  Even if we do it with a black eye.  


  1. UGH! I thought that was a mid-west thing we had to endure for living in Chicago... but apparently It's spreading like all other germs!! I do not know what that is about, but I know it lead to Elle spending most of her first year in a bjorn and Silas in a wrap until I could no longer carry his chubby butt in it!!

    And yes, I have one of those black eye stories, too... and a huge goose egg on the forehead... I once asked my Ped at what point he would call social services on me, fortunately he responded, "Oh no, all her/his bruises are in the right places..." So wise, that one!!