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“Help” vs. Help

Since I’ve been out and about with Simon I’ve noticed two distinct phenomena, one pleasant and the other not-so-much. I call it help vs. “help”.

Pleasant first. I’ve met more people in my neighborhood since I began taking Simon out for walks than I ever did before. It seems that the minute many people see a stroller they want to peek at who’s inside it, and you have to chat up the mom before that’s OK. As a result, I get greeted by countless “hi”s and offers to open doors. Then everyone sidles up to the stroller and fawns over Simon. It’s delicious. It’s also made it much easier to get in and out of cafes and small shops on Bardstown Road.

On the other hand, I’ve also gotten some “help” I could do without from the baby police. Yesterday, for example, I went for a walk in drizzle. It was in the ’50s–unseasonably warm for December in Louisville–and I was determined to get out of the house. I made a pledge a few weeks ago that any day when it was not freezing cold, snowing, sleeting, etc. I was going to go outside for some fresh air and exercise. A little light rain was not going to foil my plans.

Now, Simon was protected by a light-weight snowsuit, a hat, and the weather shield on his stroller. He was fine. And at the age of 36, I think I can decide whether I mind getting a little wet myself. And yet, I had three “helpful” neighbors say to me as I went by: “It’s raining you know.”

Well, yes, I do. And thank you for pointing that out. The subtext, I believe, was “Get your kid inside, you terrible mother.” My reply was a cheery, “Oh, yes, but so much less than earlier, you know”” Which translated as, “Yes, I know it’s raining. Now please do shut up.”

I’m hoping to continue getting more help than “help”, but I fear that may be unrealistic.

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