giving up boundary issues

Today, I took Catie to the grocery store with me. She knows this store pretty well, and in fact, knows it so well that almost as soon as we walk in the door, she starts asking for a cookie, because she knows that the nice bakery ladies always give her one.

And you know? Fine. I’m not a food nazi with her, I’m pretty confident that the occasional cookie isn’t going to do any severe or lasting damage. We generally try to keep the house pretty healthy, and we’re lucky to have a toddler who will eat a wide range of foods. Case in point: today I tried to make her some Chef Boyardee ravioli for lunch – that’s a 2 year-old staple, right? Catie decided that she wanted my Lean Cuisine (salmon with orzo pasta, veggies and basil sauce) instead. And then she ate half of a nectarine. (Honestly, I have yet to find a fruit that she doesn’t like.) So you know, no real worries there.

Anyway, we headed over to the bakery to get her the requested cookie. The lady working there today is one that I’ve seen a few times before, but I don’t really know her. If I had to guess her age, I’d say that she’s at least 80. (I’m basing this on the fact that my dad will be 73 next month, and this lady looks at least a decade older than him.) She was very, very old, is my point. She came around the counter to give Catie a cookie, which Catie took from her, and then kind of turned her face away and giggled because the lady was talking to her (“well, hello! Look at you!”, that kind of thing). Then, Bakery Lady leaned in, grabbed Catie, and kissed her on the cheek a few times. A little machine gun “mwah-mwah-mwah!” Catie laughed, Bakery Lady told me how beautiful my baby is, and then she walked off.

The weird thing is, I’m pretty sure that if something like that happened in Catie’s first year, I would’ve freaked out. And today I just shrugged it off. The thought of “oh man, I hope she isn’t carrying any cold germs” crossed my mind, but… meh. I think Catie probably picks up more germs climbing on the equipment at the playground. It mostly just seemed sweet. I suppose it’s because I’m biased and I often find my kid too adorable to not kiss, so I sort of felt like, yeah ok, I understand the need to smooch on her.

out on a walk in our neighborhood greenway
Exhibit A: Still totally kissable even with messy hair.

Also, I feel bad for elderly people who have to work crappy jobs standing on their feet all day, so I try to go out of my way to be extra-nice. This lady was almost certainly somebody’s grandmother, if not a great-grandmother. I hope for her sake that she likes her job, but man, it seems like a pretty undesirable situation. So if it was just that she needed a little toddler snuggle to get her through her shift? Well, then, I was happy to volunteer my kid. And also glad that Catie laughed about it instead of crying.

Would any of you moms out there have gotten upset in that situation? I was kind of surprised at how indifferent I was about it.

2 thoughts on “giving up boundary issues

  1. I think that by not having an issue with it, it made Cate not have an issue. Plus, as you pointed out, the grandma lady probably needed a little snuggle. You were there and there was definitely no harm intended so I say no foul on the play.

  2. As long as she kissed both girls, she’d be fine. I’m with you that I don’t think anyone is working for fun at 80+ years old. I might get a little uncomfortable with a younger person doing it, though.

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