Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Just Wait For What?

As I was walking around Target today, I was stopped by the usual gazers oogling over Conner (I know he's cute...and apparently everyone agrees with me :) )...grandmas who love to coo at him and get a smile back, mom's with babes around the same age (who I love conversing with) and the parents of older children who stop to see the little baby and reminisce.

But today I found myself in a strikingly interesting position. I've heard more than once a parent say to me "just wait until he's older!" or "you wait until he's this age" as they're pointing to their own child. As I'm walking through the aisles I'm stopped by a mother with a boy of about six in her cart. She starts the usual "oh how cute" routine....but then it turns to "you wait, they're not so cute and precious anymore when they hit this age!" as she pointed to her own son. It immediately sent me remembering a post I had read on another blog, titled Joy or Just Wait. Similarly this blogger had been in Target and witnessed another new parent being given the "just wait" speech and was quite bothered by it.

I found myself feeling irked as well. As I walked away from this woman who apparently thought her comment was in good humor, I felt bad for the little boy in her cart. This mom had blatantly put down her son, in front of a stranger no less. What could that possibly do for his self esteem? And how many times has this little boy been out with his mother and heard her say the same thing to other parents with little babies?

And then I felt bad for the mother. It saddened me to think that she found humor in telling a new parent that as their child gets older, she won't find him to be as cute or precious. Her comment made me want to shake her and wake her up. Sitting in her cart was a gorgeous little boy, with a smile on his face, who was developing into the person she's helping to mold. How was he not cute and precious anymore? Sure, sometimes his actions may not be, but he is a child after all...

Perhaps I took the comment too seriously, perhaps there is some kind of humor deep down in there. But I can't find it, and I didn't think her statement was funny. I did, however, find her statement to be a reminder to enjoy every moment with my son, and to appreciate the ups and downs of parenting....well past babyhood. It was also a nice reminder of what I don't want to do to my own children: embarrass them, whether they realize it or not. I want to set a positive example for my son, starting with the way I speak of him. I think that rather than telling parents negative things about your children, a more positive, effective thing to do is to embrace your child, no matter the age, and show the stranger with the sweet little baby that children are cute at any age...and parenting, while sometimes a challenge, is wonderful, positive and beautiful.

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