Archive for April 27th, 2013

This weekend we went to the park. We’ve been going every so often since the weather warmed up. Nicki loves to swing in the baby swing, and sit on her blanket in the grass watching the other kids play. Since the swing was occupied, I set her down in the grass. I had my camera with me and I was taking photos while Domingo kept an eye out at all the loose dogs around. Most people ignore the leash laws in the area and let their dogs run and chase Frisbees. Fine. Whatever. We want to pick up Nicki should a dog venture too close. Even a friendly dog that has never bitten before can bite if provoked and we don’t know how Nicki would react to her first dog encounter. She’s not exactly gentle with Lily kitty and she adores her kitty.

grass
Playing in the grass

An older woman walked by with her two terriers on leashes. The one was clearly nervous – hair on edge, defensive posture, the whole nine yards. The other was more curious and approached Nicki. The woman let the dogs get within two feet us. She introduced the curious one as “the friendly one” and then asked if Nicki would like to meet her dogs. We declined.

Nicki was tense. She wasn’t complaining or fussing, but she was also not smiling or making gestures like she wanted to meet the dog. The ‘friendly’ dog, perhaps sensing Nicki’s uncertainty, seemed to tense up to: tail low and still, shoulders back, head down sniffing in Nicki’s direction.

The woman was completely oblivious to what was happening. She noticed my camera asked if I needed the baby to smile for the camera and offered to hold the dog up over Nicki to get her to smile. (Because nothing can go wrong holding a nervous wiggly dog over a nervous baby’s head…) She could tell the baby wasn’t happy, but it didn’t occur to her the problem was the unfamiliar dogs. We kept saying, “no, that’s okay”, but she continued to offer. She went on and on about her grand kids loving it when she holds the dog above them. We were curt in our responses, hoping she’d get the hint and leave. After a few minutes she walked away, only to cycle back a few minutes later and ask again!

The situation was awkward, in part because neither Domingo nor I knew what the other was thinking. Domingo wanted to ask the lady to leave us be, but thought I would be embarrassed and upset. And sure, pre baby me would have been mortified. I hate confrontation and she was just trying to be helpful, after all. Yet hurt feelings would have been a worst that happened. In the grand scheme of things, that’s not so bad.

We made a decision that we both need to be comfortable with whatever the situation at hand is. If either one of us is uncomfortable, we’re allowed to say so. Better safe than sorry. We’re giving ourselves permission to be grizzly moms, err, parents.