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Cruel Parents

And, I really do mean cruel.

I was shopping last night at Target for a couple of things, and I heard this baby crying around the corner…and crying, and crying, and crying. It had been at least 5 minutes of straight crying. It sounded like a little baby, maybe only a couple of months old. I finally had to go and see what was going on. I was expecting to see a mama (or a dad even) holding a baby that was just inconsolable for whatever reason. Oh no….
I turn the corner and go into the baby section of the store where the sound was coming from, and there is a woman with a toddler (maybe 3-4) girl in the front of the cart and a baby seat carrier in the body of the shopping basket, and the baby is crying it’s lungs out, and the mom acted like she had earplugs on, just leisurly shopping away, ignoring the baby. When she saw me getting closer and looking her way, she smiled at me, and stuck her finger in the babies mouth, which calmed the baby, but she had to get back to looking at clothes, so she took her finger back, and he started screaming again. Oh my dear, I was so upset by this. I was so taken aback that this was really, seriously happening!!! I wanted to just go on over there and swoop up that baby and nurse it. And, her daughter was sitting there too, like the baby crying was no big deal, which leads me to believe that they let the baby scream and cry all the time and big sister is just used to it now. How sad that that little girl is learning how to care for babies this way, I hope dearly that she won’t follow her mother’s parenting ways with her own babies.

At one point, W. walked up to her and tried to bring her attention to the baby by asking her if it was a boy or girl. She just responded “boy” and smiled. He said that he had wanted to tell her to pick up her baby, but I guess both he and I are too influenced by our very American culture where we are taught to mind our own business. In W.’s native country, if a baby is crying in public, the other adults around will tell the mother to nurse her baby!

The crying continued with no sign of concern from the mother for a solid 15 minutes, and even then, she just left my earshot, she still hadn’t picked up the baby. Every once a while she would tell the baby “I know, it is frustrating, isn’t it?” ?!?!?!? Huh??? I don’t know if frustrating is the right word, I would try devastated and totally let-down. Oh my, so so sad.

I feel like a jerk for not being more confrontational with the mom about responding to her baby. I generally really try to make an effort not judge parents and their parenting in public, as I know what it is like myself, and you never know the whole story, so why judge them? But this, to me, is different. How can you truly have total disregard for your baby’s unhappiness for such a long period of time? Oh, it just makes my heart sad.

2 responses »

  1. It’s called neglect and it’s very much a part of our culture. It has devastating effects on the human psyche. It is a form of abuse. I feel ya Lennon.


  2. That is so sad. It’s a shame that so many people have no idea how to raise their children. I watch shows like Nanny 911 and Super Nanny and don’t know if I should laugh or cry.

    A while back when I was fresh out of college and without insurance, I was in the waiting room at the clinic for a doctor’s appt. So of course I was waiting and waiting for my turn. Next to me was a very young mother with her toddler. The toddler was just at that age when they like to bring you things. So this child brings mom a book and points emphatically to the pictures jabbering at the pace and volume that indicates story telling. Mom, who was on her cell, gave the hand motion to the child. The “Wait a minute I am busy go away motion”. The child continued to try to point to the pictures and show the book to the mom, who turned around in her chair away from the child. She continued to talk while the toddler vied for her attention in vain. Eventually, she tried to climb up in her mother’s lap with the book. At that point the mother acknowledged the child for the first time by putting the caller on hold, and transferring the toddler to the ground. The toddler stopped looking at the books and picked at the knee fuzz on her overalls for the rest of the time.

    I wanted to scream!!!!! How is it that people do not know how to love their children? How can they be blind to such a developmental milestone in language development and acquisition? It infuriates me. There should be more parenting classes out there. And we’d do good as a society to give them for free. We all pay the cost of not offering them.


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