Whitney and I were supposed to go to an Early Years Centre today and meet up with some mom and baby friends of ours, but it all went south when, just outside of the subway station, a frigid gust of wind came along and burnt my poor baby’s hands (the same baby who refuses to keep her mittens on). It was a damn cold wind – my own face was stinging something awful from it, so I can’t begin to imagine how sore Whit’s exposed fingers were (I tried to protect her hands by holding onto them, but she did NOT want to be touched).
I don’t have the words to describe how completely and utterly miserable Whitney was. I have been through everything with this kid in the past year – accidents resulting in bumps, bruises, burns and a bloody lip (not all at the same time, obviously), growth pains, teething, over-tiredness – and I can honestly say, I have never heard her scream that loudly or for that long before. She was inconsolable for almost a half hour, which doesn’t seem like a long time, but when your baby is in pain, a half hour is an eternity.
I didn’t know what to do. Picture me, toddler strapped to my body in a moby wrap, pacing the subway station, almost in tears myself, cooing over and over again “It’s okay, baby” while trying to hold her hands to warm them up. At the same time, Whitney was screaming, flailing, and fighting me off like a possessed animal. I was just praying she would calm down. I knew there was no way I could go back out in the cold, so I paced and paced while I debated whether I should get on the train and hope that the moving subway car would put her to sleep, or whether I should continue pacing until she warmed up so we could head home.
This little old Eastern European lady saw me and took pity on me. She was all like “is there anything I can do to help?” and I politely declined, telling her that Whitney would calm down if I kept walking with her. She was soooo pushy, though, and kept telling me that Whitney needed to sleep, that she was cold, that she needed to warm up, etc. (as if I didn’t know). She told me that she was going to buy Whit some tea from the Tim Horton’s (there is one in the station) because my baby needed something hot to drink (apparently, a scalding caffeinated beverage in a cup she can’t drink from was the one thing standing between my one year-old and happiness). She also tried to press Whitney’s cold hands onto her cup of hot coffee (because quickly warming cold, wind-burnt hands on something very hot doesn’t hurt), and I had to pull Whitney away .
We (Whitney, the old lady and I) moved into the corporate centre that’s attached to the subway station. I wish I had thought to go in there earlier because it was warmer and less crowded than the station. By that time, I had Whitney out of the wrap, hoping that if she wasn’t so confined, she’d cheer up. The old lady told me to lay my baby down on a nearby couch. I sat down, but kept holding Whitney. The lady actually took off her own coat and put it on top of Whitney and I. Meanwhile, I KNEW that Whitney was sweating bullets. Her winter jacket is really warm, plus she was wearing a hat, plus she was being pressed tightly against my sweaty body. Her hands were cold, she was hot. I tried explaining that to the woman, but she kept telling me what she thought was best for MY baby, and I wanted to kill her. I thought she was going to have a heart attack when I took Whitney’s coat off. She kept asking me “please please please let me buy a tea for him” (oh yeah. she kept referring to Whitney as a boy despite her pink outfit). The whole time she was with me, the old lady was begging (begging!) for me to let her help, and I just kept saying “thank you, but no” and “no, thank you” and “she’ll be okay in a few minutes and then we’ll go home. I just live a block away. No really, we’re okay”. She was practically crying herself, crying for my poor daughter who has a horrible mother.
Anyway, the old lady ignored me completely and went off to get some tea, leaving me alone with Whitney (thank god!). The couch I stopped at happened to be in front of a Shopper’s Drug Mart, and two ladies stopped in the doorway to STARE at me. Like, two bitches just standing there, staring and talking about me, my screaming baby, and my horrible parenting skills.
I picked up Whitney’s coat, my diaper bag, a sippy cup of water I took out, and hiked Whit on my hip and high-tailed it down the hallway to sit near a fountain. Whitney calmed down, and I was just starting to catch my breath when the old lady FOUND me. She brought a tea (for my ONE YEAR OLD DAUGHTER), and a doughnut or something (I never opened the bag), and left it on the bench beside me before giving me a sad judgmental look and left for good (I think my running away gave her the hint that she wasn’t wanted).
Whitney calmed down fully after the lady left and I was able to bundle her up again, strap her back in the moby wrap, and head on home. I dropped the tea and the doughnut in the garbage on my way out.
I have never had to deal with so many emotions before while out in public. I really just didn’t know what to do – particularly about the lady. I knew Whitney would calm down once her hands warmed up. I could have dealt with that. But having to juggle my screaming child AND that old woman was too much. I couldn’t think clearly over the noise and frustration. My heart was breaking for my poor baby girl who was obviously in a lot of pain. I was absolutely livid with this woman who thought she knew what was best for MY daughter, and questioned my every move. I think she thought I was like, some uneducated teen mom who didn’t know what she was talking about. I was horribly embarrassed that this entire situation was happening and that I was powerless to do much about it. Ugh. And, when it was all over, I was disappointed in myself for not respectfully telling that lady to eff herself and leave me alone.