Ever notice how every older person wants to give unsolicited advice when they see a baby? I was bombarded by "well meaning" older folks when I was still baking Squishy in my bellah! Well, the time has come for a little payback. Squishy is talking now and asking all kinds of nosey questions these days and he's taken a particular liking to the elderly and all their nuances (i.e canes, hunches, shuffling walk, gray and balding heads of hair). I try my best to be mindful and respectful of the elderly, but sometimes I just come to realize Squishy might learn better if he hears answers from someone other than me.
And sometimes I feel like unleashing his relentless "why?"s on someone else. Call me a bitch but there's only some many times I can explain old age before I give up, shrug and say "I don't know honey, maybe if you ask the nice man politely he can answer that for you." like I did today. Nothing personal, old guy, but you just happened to catch my son's eye what with your shuffling walk, cane and wrinkled hand wrapped around said cane.
Giving Squishy his props, he walked over, stopped a unimposing distance from this elderly man (something I was not always afforded when being accosted by biddies wanting to see my infant son or trying to rub my expansive belly, evidently the older you get the more personal space of others you are allowed to freely encroach into uninvited) and said "Excuse me, but why do you have that?" and points to the cane. The elderly man replied "It's my cane, I need it to walk." Not satisfied with that answer, Squishy says "Why?" and he's given a slight gruff reply "Well, my legs don't work very well. I'm not as young as I used to be."
Sensing the guy might be getting a tad annoyed, I say to Squishy "He's celebrated a lot of birthdays and the downside to that is your body doesn't stay as fresh and new as yours is right now." I swear to gods, I tried in vain not to say "old" with him standing not 2 feet away from me! Just give me that, would you, old guy who was no doubt burning holes in the back of my head with his eyes for daring to tell my perfectly innocent son the reality of life that is: our bodies give out as we age! For fuck sake, old guy, you should've been around when I was trying to explain the birdie gang bang he innocently witnessed earlier this spring! I'm tap dancing like a mother-fucker to tell the truth and still not be so honest that I'm the mother who is blamed when the 2nd graders find out the Tooth Fairy isn't real, because my kid asks me the truth and I have the audacity to give it to him! I didn't say you were old, I said you've celebrated a lot of birthdays, which sure to you and I it's the same thing, but to my 4-year old it means you've gotten lots of cake and gifts, and that makes you awesome! So please, accept it and just remember what kids are like?!?!?
I, of course, say nothing of the internal conversation I'm having at the moment. I thank the gentleman for his time and hurriedly usher Squishy into a different aisle in the opposite direction the elderly gent went.
Like I said, it's all fair play. Just remember, for every unsolicited encroached moment of time taken from you by a person of an older generation while you were pregnant or with your infants/toddlers/pre-wonderment phased children, you will eventually have the opportunity to repay that moment. Sure, you may have an elderly person who doesn't like little Suzie asking why her hair is light purple (seriously, my grandmother once had light purple hair! I thought it was awesome! She thought it was a tragedy that should never be mentioned...of course that meant every child LOVED it!) and will ignore little Suzie...sorry Suzie it's part of life, not everyone wants to be your friend. Suck it up and move on. Look at the bright side, you've just given her a life lesson! And I'm sure some will be too happy to talk to your little darling, and you'll somehow end up with a new foster-grandparent before you leave the conversation, but think of how lonely that person must have been before you let your child talk to them. It's Karma points in the bank!
I don't dislike elderly people. I don't dislike kids. I do think when you let them get together and mingle there's some potentially awesome conversations going to happen, and that's okay. Our kids need to spread their wings, and who better to help them fly than the generations who do nothing but bitch and complain about everything already?!?