A few weeks ago, I was out shopping with my husband and youngest daughter Bean, who is nearly 4-years old. We went to a local mall to browse the stores and stopped in at a tech store to oogle at the new mini iPads, trying to decide between getting one of those or a regular-sized iPad.
The store was busy and while my husband and I were testing out the potential new toy, Bean was close by, but looking at things by herself. She’s always been good at entertaining herself when we’re momentarily doing something else.
She’s also very curious and likes to experience things around her in unique ways. I like to support and encourage this way of learning. She’s a very spirited child and I like to pick and choose my “battles” with her for the sake of our sanity.
She was behind me looking out the store-front window. She was making cute eyes at people who were walking by, which is typical behavior.
Then she licked the window. Full-on with her tongue. Just one swipe out of curiosity to see what that would feel like.
I know you may be yelling, “Ah gross!” in your head, but for me? While I accept that it’s certainly not the cleanest or most sanitary thing to do, I am not someone who slathers anti-bacterial stuff all over everything and I believe that a little bit of germs is a good thing.
This licking thing is a new habit of hers and in that moment of, “Hmm, wonder what this tastes like?” a clerk from one of the middle kiosks happened to see that small 3-second event, came into the store, and focused her attention on Bean.
And then she opened her mouth and said to her, “That is gross and you’re going to make yourself really sick. They probably never clean that. What a nasty thing for a little girl to do.”
Right to my kid.
And Bean started to cry.
I acknowledge that it’s not something you see every day and, again, I can see how someone would get grossed out by it. But she’s certainly not the first kid to ever taste random things and she won’t be the last. It’s not going to kill her or make her sick, in all likelihood. But, the way this random stranger came up to my child and spoke to her — saying words like “gross” and “nasty” to a little girl who really doesn’t know better — was not cool.
Unsolicited advice is never welcome when it comes to parents and their kids, especially more so from random strangers who are just getting a small glimpse and then running their mouth off to a 4-year old.
:: Do you get bothered by random people talking to your kids? What about a stranger giving advice or mild discipline? ::
Photo credit: © Devan McGuinness
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