Monday, October 5, 2009

#68 How NOT to Stop a Crying Baby

Last Saturday, with a couple of hours to spare, I went shopping at my favorite chic boutique, TJ Max. Since the cold weather season is approaching, and also at my daughter's request, I went in search of some winter duds for her. I was zen shopping, oblivious to everything but the sweaters in front of me, when the sound of a crying baby interrupted my trance. I tried to ignore it, but then I heard the mother, in a loud voice, say NO! The baby [more than 1 less than 2, I later saw] stopped crying, but I could still hear his/her hiccupping boo hoos.

As I continued sweater seeking, humming along with Cheryl Crow and Elton John, I was once more jerked out of my trance. This time it wasn't by a loud voice, but the sound of a slap. I looked up, and in slow-mo, watched this little girl work herself up for an all-out howl. I looked around to see if anyone else was as upset as I felt. Oh Yes!! There were a number of women, moms and daughters all looking at each other and at me. I saw the baby's mom look at us looking at her. "Dare me" her eyes said. With just a twinge of fear, I took on her dare. I very nicely and calmly told this young mother that baby's are programmed to cry when they feel pain and that hitting a baby is not the way to get them to stop crying. That's all I said. I walked to the next rack where I was able to hear a woman say to the mom, "it's 4:00 in the afternoon, baby witching hour. It's just not a good time for babies and mommies. We're all tired. Be patient". Then, another woman told the mom that hitting is never the answer and that she should try a different method. Everyone was quiet and polite, but I know, in my heart, that we were just talking into the wind.

I decided to leave -- my heart just wasn't into shopping anymore. I kept replaying that mother's look and what I had said. As I walked over to the check out line, heart still racing, I hoped that I hadn't done the wrong thing. I was standing in line, waiting to pay for my few things, when a women came over to me and said that I was very brave for having said something. A few more in line nodded along with her. Brave? I wasn't brave. I have no armor to protect me from watching a child, or for that matter, an animal, unjustly hurt. They are, in different ways, defenseless... I HAD to say something.

As I reached my car, I once again realized the power of one voice. If one person speaks up, others will follow. Had I not told the young mother that hitting wasn't the way to stop a baby from crying, perhaps those other ladies might not have had the courage to speak up. Who knows if my saying anything, or those other women saying their piece, had an impact on that mother, but perhaps it had an impact on someone else in that store... someone who has been too scared to speak up, but may now take that chance.

Quote of the Day: "The good life is inspired by love and guided by knowledge" Bertrand Russell (English philosopher, logician, mathematician and, historian)


Anonymous said...

Nicely done, Bobbie..................we need to speak out, in an appropriate fashion, when we see any injustice done! Maybe, a bit of it got can but hope.

Anonymous said...

OMG Bobbie, I am in tears! I always stopped to say hello to babies and young children. Thank God I have not come across anything like that ! I am usually the one with the kid having the tantrum, my little one...
Thank you for speaking up !


Bobbie's Babbles said...

I received many comments via email and facebook. Here they are for all to see.

1. Good for you hon!!! A mommy
slapping a crying baby is just awful and down right pathetic!! That makes me
crazy along with people that hit their dogs! I say speak up and speak out!!!

2. You go girl!!! I wonder if I would have had the guts to have said something at that moment. But after reading this, if I would encounter a similar situation in the future, I WILL speak up. Great lesson.

3. I am proud of you for speaking up

4.way to go, good for you, I have a friend who says, a need not met, is a need not met, being cruel to children is unacceptable, thanks for speaking up

Bobbie's Babbles said...

another comment sent through facebook:

I think you were very brave to say something and it just may give me the courage next time I see something like that to speak up. I do worry about a woman like that turning on me though!

Bobbie says: I was a little worried!

Anonymous said...

Hitting a baby? That's insane, and I bet you anything that child will be abused later. I don't think cause and effect make sense at that age, much later. I've NEVER seen that, but I see moms screaming and cursing at 5 year olds, and I always think to myself that they're going to be bullies, thugs, gangsters, and on their way to juvie hall in 10 years.

Bobbie's Babbles said...

sent to my email -

You're touching on an entire population raised in a culture of abuse - to them it's perfectly normal to hit and be hit. How, as a society, do we teach alternative strategies for discipline? Give every pregnant woman a copy of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen/How to Listen So Kids Will Talk? It's so complicated, and no matter how we intervene when we see it happen, it's so sad.

Anonymous said...

Oh Bobbie, thank you for your courage! This was not just justice for a baby who was being slapped, but maybe a wake up call for a stressed out mommy who was hit herself as a child, and needs kind people to let her know that other options are possible. May she take your gift and let it change her actions in the future.

Barbara said...

Thank You for speaking up. So many times I wish I had.