Thursday, September 12, 2013

I Am So Concerned About Your Baby: The Complete List

My facebook friends have already enjoyed been subjected to a short list of the "helpful" comments I've gotten when carrying Frances in the Manduca. The old ladies want to be particularly helpful when I have her on my back. Honestly, I think their intentions are good, but I'm feeling venty.
  • I asked a woman who was observing us being chased by a bee if the bee was gone. She said yes, and "that's why it's better to carry them on the front." (Also, you can see if a honey badger is about to fall onto the baby from an overhang.)
  • At which point an older man chimed in with "and besides, she's getting a sunburn on her nose." (Right through her brimmed hat - that is intense sun!)
  • "Can she breathe?" (No, she holds her breath while we're outside.)
  • On a hot day, sitting on a bench, after I took her out of the carrier: "Those marks [slight pink indentations on her thighs] are definitely from the carrier." (Phew! I thought they were from when I tried to BBQ her.)
  • From an intensely concerned woman who actually reached out and tried to touch her face: "She's getting poked in the eye!" (Oh, that explains why she is sleeping so contentedly.)
  • "Her arms are too cold!" (Unlike humans, babies get frostbite at 55°F.)
  • *new, Sept. 13* "Her ear is folded!" (Thank you for reaching out to fix it as I've heard it can get stuck that way!)
  • *new, Sept. 16* I am holding the baby in my arms and a old woman with a cane makes a beeline for us, to inform me that Frances's shirt has crept up in the back and ask if she should tug it down. (Look, I know my baby is rotund, but I can in fact still reach all the way around her torso.)
For fairness's sake, one from the stroller:
  • When Frances woke up and started fussing, I pulled up the scarf/sunshade: "Yes, it's much better if she can see out." (Oh? I will definitely stop blindfolding her at home, too, then.)

My German is not quite up to snark level, so I usually end up just saying "she's fine" or "it's not a problem" and walking away. I would like to sometime try, "Oh, do you have children? ... Are their [arms warm]? ... Good! [big smile]"

I am going to keep this list updated, so check back occasionally if you need to have a little rage on my behalf.

And finally, in their defense: if I'm putting her up on my back in public, (which I can really handle just fine, although I think it must look awkward) I can almost always count on an offer of help.


  1. HAHAhahahahaha. People are so dumb. I love your writing. -nechama

  2. What is it with people being concerned about babies temperatures? My neighbors often tell me my son is too hot/cold when we're out walking. And that article you linked to? Made my morning.

  3. my mom was taking a walk with Olivia in a stroller and as they were crossing the road, traffic lights turned red. she heard one old lady screaming smth in her back. however, she kept walking. she walked around 200 metres and heard that lady approaching them, out of breath (she was running after them) and saying smth to my mother (apparently about the lights)...
    another story: I was nursing Olivia in public, not covering her. One lady came to us and tried to cover Olivia with my scarf...
    they do like stucking their noses into when it comes to a baby.

  4. Ha! I've been mercifully left alone in terms of advice while carrying the baby around, but the folded ear thing makes me laugh because I always check his ear while I'm nursing. For some reason I hate to think that it's folded, even though he doesn't seem to care. I would certainly not mention this concern to strangers on the street in regard to their baby, though!