...when your mouth is hanging open and all your brain is screaming at you is "what the FUCK old lady?"
The Wee One and I were cruising (okay, trying to make an olympic sprint) through the grocery store this evening, right about 4:45. I have on knit yoga pants with oatmeal from three days ago and my hair is fried. She keeps trying to stand up in the moving cart, since she thinks that's a fun game to play.
My daughter, sitting in the cart while I am looking at items on the shelf, is approached by a complete stranger, holding out a sucker. The stranger, completely focused on my little one, begins saying "I went to the doctor today and I got a shot and I was good so he gave me this sucker. Would you like to have it ... if your mommy says its okay."
A, I try not to give my daughter sugar. So I'm totaly shocked/pissed that she is offered sugar by A COMPLETE STRANGER.
B, if I ever WAS going to give my daughter sugar, it sure as HELL wouldn't be at 4:45 when I am obviously trying to buy items to prepare to feed her DINNER.
C, if I ever was going to give my daughter sugar RIGHT BEFORE DINNERTIME, it sure as HELL wouldn't be a Dum Dum tiny-candy-on-a-stick since she's only 18 months old and COULD CHOKE AND DIE.
D, if I ever was going to give my daughter a sugary choking hazard right before dinnertime, it sure as HELL wouldn't have come FROM A COMPLETE STRANGER IN THE GROCERY STORE.
There are 50 things wrong with that scenario.
In an instant, I have to make a decision. The Wee One is already grasping for the extended sucker (hint, Complete Stranger, if you're actually going to let the mommy have a say-so, ask permission before dangling the sucker right in her face.) Do I:
Say No? And cause a huge toddler meltdown at grocery store rush hour?
Say "no, we don't take candy from strangers" and walk away? Obviously, she's a dense Stranger, so she totally would not have gotten the message that her action was in appropriate.
Say "no, we don't eat sugar, especially not before dinnertime"? Again, see first option. Any form of no would lead to screaming.
So, I took the sucker into my hand just before my daughter grasped it, said a curt "thank you", and moved on. I couldn't even process the ways our boundaries had been violated, and anything that I said would have reflected poorly on me. I would hate for some old grandmother in the grocery store to think I'm a bitch.
She probably thinks I'm a bitch anyway for not showing more gratitude.
So, I'll open it up for discussion. A complete stranger walks past you to your kid and holds out a sucker. What do you do?