Dear Cashier at the Grocery Store Today -
Thank you for the enlightened prompt for today’s post.
Most of the time, when I go out with Roree and I’m wearing her in one of my carriers, I get sweet smiles, nods of encouragement or compliments.
Today was the same. When I was at the grocery store, I got the smiles and nods, but when I went through the line, I got my first taste of true negativity.
“How old is the baby?” the cashier asked. I smiled, like I always do at this question, because Roree is a big baby and people are often shocked by her age, typically thinking she is around 9 months.
“She is 5 months old.”
The cashier cringed, “Ugh. I hated that age.”
I was a little shocked, so I didn’t know what to say, but I’m sure my face screamed, “WHY?!”
She continued, “I never got any sleep. How often does she wake up at night? My son still wakes up at night and he is one. My husband doesn’t help at all.”
I tried to look sympathetic, “Yeah, I breastfeed so there isn’t much my husband can do. Luckily, though, she falls right back to sleep when she’s finished.”
The cashier had a comical mix of horror and disgust at the ‘casual mention of breastfeeding.’
I thought this would be the end of our lovely conversation, because there was a long silence.
As I was loading everything she packed into my cart she said, “I hate those things,” nodding to my Ergo.
I wasn’t shocked by this, frankly, I was waiting for it. “I love it. It’s so convenient and I like having her close to me.”
“She’ll want to be held all the time, though. You better break her of that now. My husband and sister held my son too much and now he’s one and wants to be held all the time. It’s ridiculous.”
“I hope she lets me wear her when she’s a toddler! I’m going to miss it when she’s too big. They’re only this little for such a short time,” I admitted.
I could tell the cashier thought I was insane and naive, and I’m sure she was working up to saying something equally ignorant to her past commentary, but an older woman in line behind me chimed in, “She looks so content – close to you like that.”
I smiled at her and kissed the top of Roree’s head, “Yeah, I think she likes hearing my heartbeat.”
We then launched into a conversation about the benefits of holding babies, how you can’t spoil them, etc. I even mentioned the convenience of back carries when doing stuff around the house.
The cashier silently backed out of the discussion at this point. She did say, “She IS cute, though,” as I was leaving. As if that was the only redeeming quality, since clearly my parenting skills were questionable.
I was more sad than angry, surprisingly. I always thought that if something like this ever happened to me, I would go batpoop crazy on someone. But, the fact that she was so miserable with being a mother that she loathed her son when he was 5 months old was deeply upsetting. Not because she must be miserable – people like that thrive on misery – but because I’m sure her son is unhappy as well. I just pictured this poor little 5 month old baby, who wants nothing more than to be held by his mom who blatantly ignores him. Or, if she does hold him, resents every second of it.
I can’t imagine growing up in a household with such constant, heavy negativity.
I do not want that for Roree. So, I’ll continue with my ‘ridiculous’ parenting style of holding her whenever she wants me to, wearing her as much as possible so I can tuck my chin and breathe in the sweet scent from the top of her head, meditating while breastfeeding her all hours of the day and night and all those other crazy crunchy mama things.
Side Note – She also did a terrible job at bagging my groceries.
Have you ever encountered something like this? How did you react?