Do you think that my baby is making some loud, intrusive but somehow strangely engaging noises? Since we entered Aldi many people like you have attempted to glance discretely and flash uncomfortable smiles in our general direction without engaging any real direct contact. These public shows of disaffection seem to be in aim to show that you are actually quite comfortable with the sounds emanating from the tiny mouth of my six-month-old child. However your tight lips, downcast eyes and silent groans are evidence of something much more sinister.
Subsequently, I begin to apologise to you for the intrusion of my son in your personal supermarket shopping experience.
It is time to move forward from apologising for our baby’s natural sounds, so here are 4 suggestions to avoid sticky situations with the public about the sounds coming from your baby’s mouth.
1. Dress your baby in a wildlife onsie
The sounds that my child is making reflect those of a large cat- think cheetah crossed with the screaming sheep. This little person is LOUD. So to encourage onlookers to gawk at something of significance, a hybrid costume is called for. I mean, it must be really disappointing for other customers to take the time to hear my child’s unique noise and subsequently look up only to see a regular six month old baby in the shopping trolley yakking away to themselves. Come on, these people are here for a show!!
2. Rehearse the tones with your child
You have already demonstrated your adaptability by transforming from a relatively sane, composed and even-keeled power woman into a blithering, unshowered, penny counting cleaning hag. This is the time to adapt your vocal skills to your new circumstance by performing with your child. Make it my aim to outshine your child. Think American Idol or Australia’s Got Talent (is that show even still on air?!).
3. Set up a stage area next to the yoghurt section to attract customers
When we stopped next to the yogurt section we seemed to have attracted new and repeat audiences. So learn to play to who you know. Draw the returners into the show by asking them questions like ‘don’t they have a sweet scream’ or ‘isn’t it cute how they throw their mouth open when they hit those high notes.’ Encourage the audience to draw on their own observations to build a vocal version of a flash mob.
4. Just tell them to get over it
It might be tempting to walk away to avoid conflict, but you never know what opportunities for further public humiliation you may be able to create for yourself if you do not take a stand! So stand up tall, draw your little one closer (or perhaps just gesture in their direction if they are a bit feisty from all the foreplay running up to this scenario) and calmly explain to the customers that ‘my face is up here, and my child is over there. My face is a face and my child is a child.’ Yeah, that should start something.
It can be a cumbersome task trying to integrate kids into adult environments. I know that I used to be one of the side-glancing single people who hated children on airplanes and would deliberately go out to places when I thought there would not be any children around. It can be quite confronting having your kid put everything out there for you and trying to shy away from the public discourse around ‘children should be see and not heard’. All said and done, you could alternatively always just start a petition on change.org