Oh, I love babies. Most people do. Really, who doesn’t love babies?
Actually, some people really don’t. I was reminded of this disturbing fact from a memory I randomly recalled today.
When Olivia was a baby, about 2 or 3 months-old, I had a very abrasive encounter with some baby haters. I had made plans to meet a girlfriend at the movies and since I was breastfeeding, I took Livy along. She’s my third child, so of course, she was a baby on-the-go from the get-go. And to be honest, it was a little slice of heaven on earth to escape the craziness of my bigger kids (then ages 3 and 5) and tend to my little Livy Lamb. She was still tiny and I knew her feeding/sleeping patterns well, so I figured she’d sleep through the movie. Plus, my philosophy was always this:
Get out as much as you can with your infant baby – restaurants, movies, late night parties – because it becomes much harder (if not impossible) as they become older babies. And toddlers – forget about it!
(These might be the only two photos I have of me breastfeeding my baby. At a soccer game and at the beach!)
Anyways, here’s what happened. My friend and I (with sleeping Olivia in a baby sling) walked into the movie theater and found seats toward the back of the nearly empty theater. We were behind a man and woman who looked about my parents’ age. We sat down and I got baby Liv and I situated to nurse, burp and snuggle easily, with the diaper bag at arm’s reach. Sure, I was a little nervous she might start screaming in the movie theater, but I knew I could make a quick escape if that were the case. And as a mama of three, I really needed a mindless movie escape with movie popcorn and Junior Mints.
So, not five minutes later, with the pre-preview commercials still rolling, and not a peep to be heard from the baby, the man in front of us turned around and said in the most demeaning voice, “You know if your baby starts crying you’re going to have to move.”
My friend and I froze. Did he really just say that? How do I respond without going crazy-hormone-breastfeeding-mama-bear on him?
I think all I said was, “I’m sure it won’t be a problem.” In my mind I was thinking many other things. Like, “You know, you should stay home and watch DVDs if you want complete silence.” I controlled my tongue, mostly because I was shocked speechless that people can be so rude.
Then the woman said, “I don’t know why you’d bring a baby to a movie theater. We have a horse at home but we’d never think about bringing our horse to the movies.”
A horse?! Did she really just compare my baby to a horse? Really? Does she breastfeed her horse? Honestly, I can’t remember what I said in response to that. I think I was still speechless.
The rest of the movie was torture. I was terrified that my baby would scream and I’d have to get up and leave and give those mean people their satisfaction. Then I was so stressed out I couldn’t enjoy the movie. But still, I didn’t want the mean people to win. I wanted to prove them wrong and get the last word in. But it wasn’t worth it. Livy got fussy and we ended up leaving. (I owe you a movie, Raeanne.)
The sad truth is that many people in our society value babies and children less than they value a horse. Not that I don’t love horses, because I do. But honestly, it happens all the time. Here’s just one example:
If I take my kids with me to the local Starbuck’s, I get dirty looks from all the “businesspeople” working on their laptops. Heaven help me if my kids actually make a noise and act like kids in a public place. Besides, we all know that a mama needs her latte way more than those laptop loungers.
And don’t get me started on the airplane baby haters.
OK, I’ll stop my rant and end on a positive note. We all started as babies – even horses did. The babies are our future. So let’s love on them, every one of them. Just love the babies.