I’ve determined that there is a fine line between appropriate helpfulness and plain old nosiness.  I don’t know where that line is exactly, but I’m pretty sure I experienced both sides today, in the same incident.

We had gotten some bagels for breakfast on this beautiful day.  It was much to nice to continue sitting inside the bagel shop (and Alexander was getting restless, and I was done with my bagel, so I was getting restless), so I decided that the girls could continue eating while we walked a bit.  The girls were psyched, bagels and a walk!

We were trekking down the sidewalk in town, Alexander in the stroller, me pushing, and the girls hopping, skipping and jumping ahead. (did I mention they LOVE going for walks?)  The girls had reached the storefront of  a CVS, as they were a bit ahead, running with glee.  They were about 25 yards from the street corned, and I about 20 yards behind them.

The reactions:

Take 1:  (The front of the building is on an angle, so vision down the street is a bit blocked in one direction.)  I saw two women from the store (on their break I suppose) come jetting out from the side of the building towards the girls.  A split second later, they saw me following, stopped, then turned around.  Appropriate helpfulness.

I suspect they saw these 2 little kids, running down the sidewalk, towards an intersection, all alone.  Proper concern would cause someone to offer help. But once they saw me, MOM, they backed off.  I appreciated their initial reaction.  If my children were all along (for some bizarre reason), I would absolutely want someone to care for them until they found me.

Take 2:  At the same time I first noticed  these women, I saw to my right a convertible, top down, with two women.  These women also noticed my girls ahead, and were concerned.  Unlike the ‘appropriate responders’, the passenger failed here, in my book.

Let me interject, my girls are well trained.  I suspect the fear of the women (who I’ll get to in a minute) was that they would walk out into the intersection.  That would be a legitimate cause for concern, except that I know my girls, I know how the have been taught, I know how they act, and I knew that was not going to happen.  They know to wait.  They stop well before the curb, turnaround, and wait.  If ever they seem to not be paying attention, and I think they might keep going (the younger more than the older), I’ll call out their name, and problem solved.  But even still, we have never had an issue with them, and don’t ever expect one.

That said, this woman looks at the girls, looks at me, looks back at the girls, turns to the driver of the vehicle, says something, then looks back at me again and shouts (not in a concerned way, but more in a judgmental, ARE YOU CRAZY tone, ‘DO YOU HAVE THAT BABY?’  At first, I was taken aback.  Of course I had the baby, he was right here, in the stroller.  Then I realize she must have meant my 2 1/2 year old.  I guess she’s still a baby, maybe?  I don’t consider her a baby anymore, but okay, I’ll go with it.

So it took me a second or two to process who she was referring to.  I responded, ‘yeah’ with my own, ‘are you an idiot?’ tone, and just kept on walking.

Is it just me?  Am I the strange one?  Do kids really do what she thought mine would do?  If so, would a parent of such a child really walk calmly, 25 yards behind, knowing that their child would likely walk right into traffic?

Shouldn’t my calmness have told her, everything is under control?  And that she ought mind her own business?  I mean what mother in her right mind would allow such a walking distance with a child so out of control or too young to understand the realities of traffic?

I’m at a loss for words (except, of course, all the words previously typed, and these words here.)