Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Dear Abby, I didn't ask...

I ate a Boston Creme donut on the way to the library today. I wish I hadn't. If I hadn't eaten it, I could have smushed it into the face of a MILP (Mother I'd Like to Pie) I had the displeasure of encountering today. Although a Boston Creme is not technically a pie, it's creme-filled gooeyness is close enough to the real thing.

The MILP we are deconstructing today is aptly named "Haughty Advice Giver" (or HAG) because she freely, abundantly gives you worthless advice that you neither requested nor want. In her mind, she is the expert all things having to do with parenting and it is her quest to share her abundant knowledge.

HAG finds herself moved to walk up to complete strangers and dole out both advice and criticism that would make any normal person cringe. Since I am not a normal person, we were both thrown out of the library.

But I digress.

When we got to the library today, Big A scampered over to the elevator so he could do his favorite thing...push the "UP" button. As I gave him a boost to do so...a woman came up behind me and said "Excuse me, but you really shouldn't let him do that."

"What?" I said, confused.

She sighed exasperatedly and pointed to the elevator. "He shouldn't be pushing that button" she said sternly.

At this point Big A slid down from his perch on my knees and snuck behind my leg, peering out with the top part of his face. He must have smelled the crazy because that's something he only does when our neighbor, Mrs. Blumpsky, walks her 5 cats past the house while accusing our garbage cans of "spying" under her breath.

"Why not?" I asked.

"Because you're not teaching him the right way" she said with a raised eyebrow. "You shouldn't let him push the button."

In the back of my mind I thought I had heard this button-pushing debate on Lost.

"Umm...well, good to know," I said and Big A and I hopped on the elevator. To our chagrin, HAG followed us on and stared at me.

"I just can't believe you would do that," she continued. "It's so dangerous."

"Okay," I snapped. "I don't know what you're talking about." I was polite, but firm.

Apparently, so was she, because she continued.

"I have three healthy beautiful children," she said, "And I would never let them ride the elevator alone."

I responded despite myself. "He's not riding the elevator alone. Do you see me? I'm right here." See? Polite but firm.

"Well, if you teach him how to push the button" (were we REALLY back on that again?) he'll be able to get on and ride the elevator on his own." She peered down her nose at me. "And I'm sorry to tell you but that is not good parenting."

Can you believe she said that to me? No, you probably can't. Because it was unbelievable.

"Lady!" I snarled as I got out on the children's floor, which she did as well. Of course. "I don't let my child ride the elevator alone. He's 17 months old. He's never out of my sight. He can't even reach the button on his own!" Now I was raving like a lunatic about this button. Her crazy was obviously contagious.

But unbelievably, as these type of people often do, HAG persisted.

"Don't you care about your child getting lost?" she said.

"Lost in an elevator? NO." I said.

"Well," she sniffed at me..."to each, their own."

"Indeed!" I sputtered back as Big A pulled me over to the tiny library fish tank. "Don't worry," I yelled over to her, "I'm not going to let him jump in without a life jacket."

"I was just giving you a friendly little piece of advice," HAG yelled back. "Clearly, you have issues. Not me!"

It was at this point the librarian asked us both to lower our tones or "perhaps come back later, when you can use your quiet voices."

"WE'RE going to back down to the reference floor" I announced. "I feel it's never too early to teach my son about the dynamics of antisocial behavior. And we're taking the stairs!"

I stomped away, Big A in tow, as HAG shot me a snotty, superior dirty look.

God, I wish I still had that donut.