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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Everyone's an Expert (except you)

Dear Shifra,

I was walking home from the park with my 2 and 4 year olds. My 2 year old likes to pretend to talk on the public phone. I give her the receiver and push a few buttons. An old woman who was at the bus stop started yelling at me and told me that the phone wasn't a toy. I told her that I didn't think she was damagine the phone. I should have told her that it's hard enough to raise children without being yelled at for every little thing. What's your opinion?

Harrassed Mom

Dear HM,

Like all mothers I know EXACTLY what you are talking about. Somehow no matter how hard we try there is always someone who knows better than we do. As usual, however, I can see both sides of the issue- part of me wants to tell you that people should mind their own business while the other side wants to tell you that if you let your kids pretend chat on public phones you really should bring along some sanitizing wipes because those things are FULL of germs.

Ahem, where was I?

Public pay phones are built to endure some serious abuse and I highly doubt your baby holding the receiver will cause any damage especially if it's you pressing the buttons. It's not such a strange thing either. I recall that when my brother was a little boy he had an imaginary friend who could only be reached via payphone and whenever we passed one we had to stop so he could ring her up! We once almost missed a flight because my mother couldn't get him off the phone and my father had to carry him crying onto the plane (he was three at the time, and no, he doesn't read my blog B'H.)

That aside, if the woman was WAITING to use the phone that would be another matter, but it she's just butting in I'd ignore her or turn and ask if she needed the phone. Letting this woman have it would probably be counter productive - your kids would see you getting upset and this woman would probably have a whole list of areas in which you could improve yourself.
From one mother to another I suggest you be open to good advice but don't let meddlers get you down- you know your own kids best.


At 9:01 AM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

i yelled at a little kid this week, too. He was using a public payphone and I yelled that it wasn't a toy. Wait, that's not what happened. I was in Brooklyn in front of my parent's house and I saw a little kid scoop up a handful of rocks and throw them at a parked car. So I yelled at him to stop. And then i went back inside. and then I felt bad.

Maybe the lady has a blurting problem and felt bad afterwards. Maybe she's just a bitter old lady who sees discord and mayhem everywhere she looks because the kids today just aren't as polite, well behaved, or as considerate as the were back in the 60s and 70s. You think?

In any event, people like her are there to be ignored.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger and so it shall be... said...

What's with the comment moderation? The best past of commenting on a blog is the instant gratification of seeing your brilliant rambling on screen moments after its written. No fun!

At 9:16 PM, Blogger blogRfactor said...

I think it is a mentality of today's 60 and older generation of people (and specifically jewish people). I think that they think they have the responsibility to comment, judge, criticize, and teach the "younger" generations. Yes, Kol Yisrael Areivim, but in this specific case, the "old" woman went over the line. I will never forget as a kid I used to walk on curbs while playing outside, and one older woamn neighbor would yell and scream in an off tone voice, "get out of the gutter" - I was always like geez - even if my foot went off the curb, on my street where hardly any traffic went by, where kids would play sports in the street, it was 100% doubtful that a car would hit my leg next to the curb.

At 2:52 AM, Blogger mother in israel said...

Blogrfactor--do you really think that's anything new?

I've now had three questions published by Shifra--is that a record? Shifra comes up with the nicknames though!

At 12:20 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Ugh. My wife dropped off our baby at a babysitter in our building this week who watches a few of the kids in our building (she's great). When she went to pick up Elianna, who is 50th percentile in weight and growing quite nicely, an OT who works with one of the other kids noticed that my wife had started to give our crying 3-month old baby a bottle of water. This was because of our doctor's recent suggestion to give her water after she's eaten if she starts crying rather than feeding her again. The OT, who has never met my wife or baby before, takes one look at them and says, "Don't give her water! She's undersized as it is, you should be feeding her." She was presumable comparing her to the sitter's granddaughter who was a week younger but slightly larger than our baby. Serach was gracious enough to simply respond, "Thanks, but I'll trust my baby's pediatrician over an occupational therapist regarding the feeding of my baby."

Some people need to keep their mouth shut, especially when they have no clue what they're talking about.

At 2:44 AM, Blogger mother in israel said...

Ezzie, I understand why the OT said that because neither the AAP nor the WHO recommend giving supplements, including water, to babies under six months old. If your baby is breastfed, is there a specific reason the doctor suggested limiting feeds? I'm gathering she's breastfed because of the OT's comment. . . Unfortunately most pediatricians don't know too much about the normal course of breastfeeding.

At 5:21 AM, Blogger mother in israel said...

Oh, and her comment about the weight gain was definitely out of line. . .

At 12:52 AM, Blogger Anonymous said...

So thats why none of the public phones in teh tri-state area seems to be working. The kiddos are playing telephone...

see, I learn something every day.

At 4:55 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Mother in Israel - Today the doctor said she's in the 50th percentile, though he said to stop with the water and switch to formula.

He had said it originally because it was between feedings - she was already eating every 3 hours.

Nevertheless, the OT should still have used a much nicer tone, delivery, etc. Perhaps ask my wife nicely why the doctor suggested it, considering the WHO suggests not doing so for those under 6 months, etc. Not making a new mother feel inadequate for "underfeeding" her 1st baby when she was in fact not.

At 10:13 PM, Blogger mother in israel said...

I'm emailing you.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger ... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

I would have just ignored her.
Get real.

At 11:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does the public phone look like a toy to you? Would you let your child go on top of a person's car if he wasn't damaging it? What kind of excuse is that?


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