1. “Do you know what you should name the baby?” Oh gosh, I knew I was forgetting something. I’ve spent the last nine months carrying her around while my body performed complex chemical reactions some people would call a miracle, turning random nucleic acids into a set of incredibly intricate blueprints to create her, but I’ve given absolutely no thought to a name for my baby. It’s not like I’ve been poring over names online, researching meanings, thinking about famous people in history or worrying over the possible names’ potential to rhyme with obscenities or certain body parts. In fact, that’s why I’m here at the grocery store. I ran out of ideas for names and thought I might find inspiration on the shelves. Thank goodness you came by or I might have named her Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.
2. “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” So, my baby sleeps well when riding around in the car. Other suggestions?
3. “Don’t carry the baby everywhere because he/she will get spoiled.” Hi! This is my daughter, she’s the human equivalent of a larva, how do you suggest we move her?
4. “Breast milk is literally liquid gold.” You’re right! Thank you, kind stranger, that doesn’t sound like an overstatement at all. How could “liquid gold” ever be used to embellish anything? I should definitely feed my baby a molten metallic liquid, because that’s what literally means. But seeing as neither my friend nor myself is King Midas, our poor children will have to settle for Similac. Which, alas, is comparable to “liquid gold” only in price.
5. “Does the baby have a jacket? In case it gets cold?” No, this suitcase of a diaper bag I’m carrying is filled to the brim with only my parenting insecurities and tissue paper. Also, you’ll note said jacket-less baby is wearing a sweater and has a blanket covering the lower half of her body. She’s also tucked into a carrier better insulated than a Yeti cooler, and her father and I practically have to use hot mitts to get her out this thing. But thank you, itinerant person, for inquiring about the safety and well-being of my child.
6. “I just let my baby tell me when he/she was hungry.” Great, so you didn’t feed them until they were 18 months old. Smart. A real money saver.
7. “If she’s a girl, she should be wearing a bow.” May I shake your hand? I’d like to thank you, authorized gender expert, for simultaneously criticizing my choice of a neutral (NOT PINK) outfit for my daughter, while also questioning her sex, because as a new parent I sometimes feel overconfident.
8. “That baby sounds hungry.” Hi there! How exactly did you meet my daughter? Do you guys know each other from work? The golf course, maybe? Or perhaps you can interpret all animal sounds without ever previously spending time with said creature. If so, I’d really like to introduce you to my dog. If you could explain what he and the neighbor dog are constantly discussing at 5:30 a.m., I’d be grateful. I think they may just need a mediator and it’s all a big misunderstanding, but how would I know? I’m not an expert like yourself.
9. “When I was a kid our parents locked us out of the house until the sun went down.” Splendid, and look how well you turned out! Giving out advice to random new parents in the grocery store. Her father and I were thinking of letting her turn two before sending her out to make her own fortune. Fingers crossed she ends up as a parenting expert in a small town H-E-B.
10. “That baby is either hungry, tired or wet.” Oh thank you, Great Sage of Hobby Lobby. I bet you’re right. My guess was the recent economic downturn, but I guess that wouldn’t necessarily be age appropriate for a 5-month-old. Please do go on to solve the world’s problems by suggesting every likely possibility. We’re going to wait here and purchase these Easter basket fixins, but before we go to sleep tonight we’ll make sure to flip over to the news and see all that you have accomplished in your quest.
It’s somewhat astounding what people will say to parents. It’s as if the moment you become pregnant a sign, completely invisible to you, is strung around your neck that reads: Help me I’m so lost. I understand that most people just want to help, and they say it takes a village to raise a child, but do we have to treat the parents like they’re the idiots?
This post previously ran on curisome.com.