Do you pick up OTHER people’s kids?
We all know we have triggers – moments or actions that inspire a primal and automatic reaction within us. It could be something like hitting or spitting, or even something as simple as a snarky tone and eye roll. We all have them, and we all have to learn to deal with them to become better parents. I recently discovered a trigger that has left me floundering. Not because I feel my reaction is untoward or extreme, but because the cause seems to be common…. incredibly common.
Strangers picking up my kids. Who does that??! WHY would you do that? The first time happened just a few weeks ago when a stranger approached my eldest and picked her up for a hug after a brief conversation. I was standing right there. RIGHT THERE! Ugh. Of course, the Mama Bear in me woke and I quickly took her from him and removed us both from the situation. This one experience would have felt like an aberration and an exception… until it happened again just the other day, to my other daughter. This time was much different as this gentleman wasn’t really a true stranger, but a man that works on the apartment pool and has spoken to my family several times. My youngest was talking to him, and he, charmed, accepted her hug then picked her up. Now, I did not feel threatened by this action, in fact, my daughter reached her arms up to him and it probably felt very normal for him to pick her up. I did NOT have a danger tingle or a gut feeling that he was up to no good, which makes this instance markedly different than my previous experience with my eldest.
But…. NO! Put my daughter down! I STILL had the same reaction, it just lacked the urgency and ‘I’m going to attack you” backing that had accompanied the first instance. I was still triggered – and that response still felt normal. I removed her, cut the conversation short and then calmly moved us both back into the house. Now, this is a kind man who has spoken to us many times. We see him frequently and I still plan on talking to him again in the future. But… why would you pick up someone else’s kid? Seriously? I was shocked, dismayed and very unnerved. When I spoke to my husband about it later, he did not seem bothered at all – a reaction that was much different than his response to the first ‘pick up’ moment. He actually seemed to think picking her up was normal. Do people really do that? Am I out of line to feel upset? Honestly… I don’t know. The first time, oh yes – definitely, that was wrong on every level. The second? My ‘Mama Bear’ says it was wrong too – even if societal norms and being polite say it might be acceptable.
Do YOU pick up other people’s kids? Does it happen to you? What do you do? Unlike my husband, I AM bothered… and I don’t think it’s normal to do this. Do you?