Saturday I was at Wal-Mart shopping for a few items, more than one of which was in the baby section. I've always thought that when people are actually shopping in the baby section, they seem to slip into a friendlier mode, talking to others who are also in their world, discussing ages, genders, and latest milestones of their kids.
As I was standing in front of the shelves full of baby foods, cereals, and juices, there was a lady who came up from my right side. She was talking to the man a few steps behind her who was dutifully pushing the shopping cart piled high with their coats and scarves. There was no kid in sight. I should specify that she was talking LOUDLY. It was almost as if she was unabashedly inviting people to stop and listen to the earth-shattering things she had to say. As she walked up to where I was looking through the Graduates items for Lil' Crunchies, she stood about 12 inches from me and sighed very loudly. She said, apparently to the man, although she didn't direct it toward him, "I just WISH he would eat! What do you think we should try this time? Or do we just give in and let him eat the same two things." The man made no response, just followed as she passed behind me and then stopped on my left side. She continued, still sounding like she was trying to share this info with someone a few aisles over, "Nobody gets how frustrating this is! I wish we could go back to when he just took a bottle. "
Since I hadn't found what I wanted yet, I considered walking around the next aisle and waiting for them to finish and leave before returning to search some more. But that seemed silly. Before I realized I'd decided to say anything, I heard myself blurt out, "I know feeding can be stressful sometimes." "Well, WE are trying to get him to start taking some solids, and he only wants a few particular ones," she replied. "It's been like three weeks, and I don't know how long I can take this!" She had such a martyr's air to her, at least I think that's why I said, "Aw, that is hard. My daughter has a feeding tube." I surprised myself, let me tell you. She hesitated for just a second, and she said dismissively, "Well I guess I should be thankful, then. "
Thank goodness, I spied those evasive Lil' Crunchies, and grabbed them up. I said, "I'm sorry it's frustrating for you," smiled as sincerely as I could, and I walked away.
It got under my skin, and that surprised me. She had no way to know what feeding issues meant in our house, and I'm sure they are just as frustrated with their particular set of circumstances. There was just something about her more-distressed-than-thou air that was too much for me. It was almost like she wanted some kind of medal of courage for hanging in there, and if she did, I'm sorry she felt like she needed to look for it in a Wal-Mart aisle. I gotta say, that poor guy looked like he'd been hearing that song for a very long time.