Addendum to Annoying Strangers

Yesterday I posted about an experience I had at Applebee’s with unsolicited advice from a stranger. This is an addendum to that posting, so in order for this one to make sense, you better read the one from June 29th first. If you want…I’m not one to tell people what to do (wink wink).

I’m currently re-reading the book “What to Expect the First Year” because I have a 10 day old baby. In the chapter on one-month-old babies, a new mother asks when she can take her newborn baby outside or in public. This is the response from the book, written by experts on child care and development:


“Unless your hospital and your home are connected by a subterranean tunnel, you’ve taken your baby outside already. And barring a blizzard, a rainstorm, or significantly subfreezing temperatures, you could have conceivably continued to take her outside every day since. Old wives’ tales that have kept newborns and new mothers captives in their own home for two weeks postpartum and more are completely INVALID. Any baby hardy enough to leave the hospital is hardy enough to weather a stroll through the park, a trip to the supermarket, even a lengthy excursion to visit grandmother.”

To the stranger who confronted me at Applebees about having my 8 day old baby out in public I say “shut your freaking gob!” And stop butting into strangers’ lives.

Unsolicited advice from Strangers

Yesterday my wonderful sister and brother-in-law took my children to go see “Wall-E” so my husband and I could get some rest. Seeing that we were minus 2 kids, we thought it would be a good idea to get some grocery shopping done with the one child who can’t talk. First we went to Old Navy because just giving birth 8 days prior, I had absolutely no shorts that fit me and they were having a sale. Next we went to Applebee’s for dinner because it was 5:30 and I hadn’t eaten lunch. Which is pretty stupid since I’m nursing and if I don’t eat my baby don’t eat. After dinner we went to Target and it was the best grocery shopping trip in months because I didn’t have 2 kids asking me for a million things while I tried not to go into pre-term labor from all the walking.

While we were waiting for our table at Applebee’s a rather annoying thing happened to me. My baby, only being 8 days old, was completely covered up in his carseat. My husband was trying to cover him up more when the lady sitting next to me was acting like she wanted to see him. So my husband being the nice guy he is gave her a peek. She said that he was beautiful or cute (I don’t remember which) and asked how old he was. When I said 8 days, this was her response (not exactly verbatim, but I didn’t have a notepad with me), “what! You brought him out in public with all these people. Try 2 months old, Mom.” And then she patted me on the back. First of all, I don’t like strangers touching me. Second of all, shut your freaking gob stranger lady. My response was, “this is my 3rd. I think I know what I’m doing.” After that we sat in uncomfortable silence until somone else was called to their table and she went and took their spot (probably to get away from the horrible mother she was sitting next to).

My husband said he had the hardest time not laughing, but my response was typical of my personality. What was I supposed to say? “Gee thanks lady, we should go home right now and you can take our table?” She was being rude so I felt perfectly justified in being rude right back. What in the hell makes her think that not only is she an authority on babies, but she has the right to tell strangers how to parent theirs? I wasn’t in a parenting class…I was sitting there minding my own business waiting for a table at Applebees. If this was December instead of June, there is no way in hell I would take my 8 day old baby out in public because of the RSV risk. But my baby was covered up and we weren’t letting 100 strangers hold him or breath in his face. And furthermore, the best way to get sick is to avoid germs.

And more to the point, this lady was probably 3 to 400 pounds. Did I go up to her and tell her that she best be ordering from the Weight Watchers side of the menu? No, I did not. And why? Even though my advice was helpful, it was unsolicited, and nobody likes intrusions into their lives by total strangers. It leaves me wondering…if I’m such a god-awful mother, how did my other two make it to 7 and 4 years old? It’s a mystery.

Welcome to the World, Baby Boy

One of the three cutest babies ever conceived was born last week. His name is Dane Jed Stringham. He was born on Friday, June 20, 2008 at 3:35 pm. He weighed 8 pounds 11 ounces and was 21 1/2 inches long. He is possibly one of the most beautiful children I’ve ever seen. And I’m sure my mommy-love isn’t clouding my perception one bit! His birth was attended by his very proud father, Casey, his Aunts Amanda and Emily, and his Grandma Stringham. His Uncle Victor came in very soon afterwards saying he wanted to miss “the blood bath.” A few hours later, Dane’s adoring big sister Reilley and big brother Cole came to meet the baby brother they had been looking forward to holding for months. His Grandpa Stringham, Uncles Kyle, Ryan, and Bryce, and Aunt KayLee also came to visit him.

Of the three children I’ve given birth to, I think Dane’s labor and delivery was the easiest and most pleasant. My doctor decided to induce me at 39 weeks, and after hearing how much Dane weighed, I was very happy he didn’t make me go until 40 weeks. Casey and I got to the hospital about 5:30 that morning. After doing all the paperwork and crap that goes along with everything, they finally started my pitocin drip at around 7:00. I’ve always heard that being induced was worse than going into labor on your own because the contractions are stronger and come more frequently. I didn’t find this to be the case. Maybe because it was my third child and I knew what to expect as far as contractions go, but I never got to the point where I was begging for an epidural. Casey and I were able to play a couple games of Scrabble before I couldn’t concentrate anymore. Before I knew it, I was 4 centimeters dialated and my doctor said he was going to come in and break my water. The nurse told me it would be best to get my epidural before that because once your water breaks the pain intesifies. I knew that was true because my water broke at home with my first-born and the pain after that was unbearable.

The guy who did my epidural is a genious! Not because he took away my pain but because I could still feel and move my legs, even though they were tingly. I still felt my contractions but without the pain. I felt like I was in control when it came to pushing and I felt the “ring of fire” when Dane crowned, only this time it stung a little instead of making me wish I was dead. It didn’t take very long after my water was broken for Dane to be born. My sister, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law all got there in time to watch him being born. My brother came before it was time to push, but quickly left the room when they started setting up all the stuff for delivery. Despite my littly guy being a chubba chunk, I didn’t have to push for very long at all – maybe 5 minutes tops.

Before I knew it, Dane was born. I started crying the minute I knew he had made it into the world, but my tears and emotions intensified the first time I heard his little cry. It was so cute! The doctor held him up and I couldn’t believe how beautiful he was. I’ve seen a lot of newborns and most aren’t very cute, but Dane is just gorgeous. I watched the entire time as the nurses wiped him down, weighed him, and did all the other stuff they do before they let you hold your baby. I couldn’t believe how much I loved this little baby. It didn’t seem real that a few hours before I was cursing the fact that his head was constantly on top of my bladder.

I thought about my Mom and how much she would have loved her little namesake. We named Dane after my Mom. Her maiden name was Degn (pronounced Dane) and I was fortunate enough to find out I was pregnant before she passed. I asked her what she thought about us naming him Dane if he were a boy and she said she would be delighted. As I laid in my hospital bed watching all of Dane’s new relatives hold him, kiss him, and love him I couldn’t help but think of my Mom holding him and loving him. I doubt if she would have let anyone else hold him. All I can hope is that she was holding him in her arms before he was sent down to us.

Is this racist to you?

Occasionally I’m embarrassed to be a Utahn. Right now I’m more embarrassed to be from Utah than ever before. Recently a Utah couple, Dave and Elizabeth Lawson, decided to sell a sock monkey puppet as a caricature of Presidential nominee Barack Obama, called the The SockObama. They said that one night they made a casual observance that Senator Obama looked like a beloved childhood toy of theirs. Appropriately, many people have been very offended by this toy calling it racist. The Lawsons are outraged that anyone would ever think of their toy as racist. Are you kidding me? The Lawsons are either the most naive people ever to have lived or they’re just really really stupid. I’m guessing it’s a good combination of both.

I don’t know what kind of warped bubble the Lawsons live in, but maybe they should pick up a history book or at least leave the state of white bread with mayonnaise on it once in a while. Do they not realize that during the Jim Crow period of racism (you know, when blacks couldn’t even sit at the front of a bus with the white people), blacks were compared to as monkeys in a deliberate attempt to dehumanize them? In fact, the argument that blacks were not fully as evolved as whites added fuel to the fire. Dehumanization of ANYONE is what leads to holocausts and genocides, like Nazi Germany, Rwanda, and what’s going on in Darfur right now.

The Lawsons have countered saying they’re not racist because they were planning on making a John McCain sock monkey. They just don’t get it, do they? A John McCain sock monkey wouldn’t be offensive because whites were never compared to monkeys in effort to dehumanize, discriminate, and eliminate them! To the Lawsons I say you’re idiots. I don’t think you deserve the death threats you have received, but I do believe you are entitled to be educated to overcome your obvious ignorance.

I feel an overwhelming desire to write about this because in the immortal words of Martin Luther King, Jr., “in the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”

Things that must go

One of my favorite segments on the Radio from Hell program on X96 is called “Things that must go.” The DJs read a list from listeners about what they think should go. Other days the DJs themselves have their own list. It’s very funny and I thought I might add my own.

1 – Tainted produce. How am I supposed to eat healthy food if every time I turn around something else has salmonella? First it was spinach, now it’s tomatoes. I’m afraid to eat anything lately other than Cheetos. They might not be healthy but at least they’re not covered in poop. America, seriously, wake up and think about where your food is coming from and why our produce keeps getting tainted with salmonella.

2 – People who pull out in front of me and then drive slowly. Especially if there was a mile of open road behind me.


3 – People who drive slow in the fast lane. In case you missed it in driver’s ed, the left lane is for passing people. Not for parking you slow butt in for miles on end. Get out of the way.

4 – People asking me when I’m going to give birth. How the eff could I know that? I’m not being induced and I’m not having a scheduled c-section so your guess is as good as mine.

5 – Junk mail. And all other needless trash that is filling up our landfills and destroying our forests. I don’t want your car insurance/credit card/ loan offers, so stop wasting your money and the earth’s resources sending me that crap.

6 – Our economy sucking so much that businesses I like keep closing. When I graduated from high school 12 years ago businesses were popping up all over and I could have gotten a job anywhere I wanted. Can we all admit now that all of you who voted for GWB made a huge, monstrous, disastrous mistake? Twice.

7 – Gas prices. Everything about gas prices like people complaining about them, paying them, not having auto industry standards that require higher miles per gallon on cars, Bush being friends with the Saudi Arabian Prince and having a personal stake in oil profits, and, especially living in Utah, not having that many alternatives to driving a car (although it is improving).

8 – My kids wanting to snack all day long and then refusing to eat their dinner at night. And then whining at me all day long for snacks when I tell them no.

9 – School lunches. Everything is so prepackaged it’s ridiculous. Is it better for our children’s lunches be made by the lunch lady we do know or in a factory full of people we don’t?

And finally….

10 – Family reunification being the primary goal of the family court system. It sounds good in theory, but what should be tantamount is what is in the best interest of the child. And living a life full of chaos where their parents have a million chances to regain custody no matter how many times they abuse and neglect their children isn’t in their best interest.

Rantorific Monday

If you happen to spot a pregnant woman, who looks like she’s on the verge of giving birth, please don’t tell her she’s about ready to pop. It’s really annoying. Because you don’t know if she’s about ready to pop or not. And if she’s not, it’s really awkward to say that no, you’re due in a month or so. Because then you’re acknowledging that you’re huge and you will continue to be that way for a few more weeks.

In the last two days I’ve had two people tell me that it looks like I’m going to be having a really big baby. Hello, rudeness. Do I tell you it looks like you’ve been hitting the Pringles hard or that it looks like the Rogaine isn’t working? No, I don’t! Because you’re probably sensitive about your waistline and hairline (or lack thereof) and yet nobody considers that a pregnant woman might be sensitive about how huge her belly is or how swollen her ankles are. She knows and she doesn’t need it pointed out to her a million times a day.

So the next time you see a pregnant woman and you feel like you need to make a comment about the pregnancy, why not just say “Congratulations” or “I can’t wait to see that baby!” instead of “whoa Shamoo, looks like you’re about ready to drop a 9 pounder?” Otherwise, this pregnant woman might be forced to point out your physical flaws and you might not like how blunt I can be when I’m too pregnant to suffer fools gladly.