A Baby, A Stranger and Starbucks

Posted by: , November 7, 2009 in 9:12 am


FreeRangeKids A Baby, A Stranger and StarbucksDear Free-Range Kids:  It’s so inspiring to hear that there are others out there who refuse to freak out at every little thing.  I am a first time mom to a now 4-month-old and I don’t sterilize his pacifiers when he drops them on the ground, I refuse to ever use a shopping cart cover, and a month ago, I did the unthinkable.  I left my baby with a stranger while I used the bathroom at Starbucks.

My son and I were about three hours into a road trip heading back home, and I needed to use the bathroom, and he REALLY needed to get out of his car seat. Hence,  a Starbucks stop. I looked around and found an older, grandmotherly lady sitting with a mom-like lady.  I approached them and said, “Excuse me, I really have to use the restroom. Would you like to hold a cute baby for a moment?”  (Thankfully he wasn’t screaming any more since he was out of his car seat. And he IS pretty cute, if I do say so myself.)

They were surprised and delighted.  I used the restroom, and 30 seconds later, reappeared, my baby none the worse for wear.

I sat with the ladies who were thrilled to have a cuddle with a boy  who is very smiley and social.  It turned out the older lady IS a grandmother, and the other lady was her daughter.  We had a lovely chat for  about 20 minutes, and the grandma even insisted I take a picture of her and my son on her cellphone.  The whole experience made their day and I found myself marveling at the fact that such a little thing, approaching some perfectly sweet-looking strangers for help was something most parents today would absolutely freak out over.

I haven’t told many of my friends for fear they will think  I am an irresponsible parent, but in reality, I think it was a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and I’m determined to not live my life in fear thinking that child molesters lurk in every corner (of Starbucks!), just waiting to snatch my babe away.


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  1. Rachel on November 15th, 2009 1:05 am

    Even though this isn’t something I can see myself doing (I never did think much of peeing with baby on lap, and it would probably be outside my comfort zone) I don’t think its really a horrible/irresponsible thing. In Gavin DeBecker’s book Protecting the Gift, he talks about how mothers have a built in capability and instinct to protect their children, and if something “isn’t right” we’re likely to instinctively know. He advises to teach children that if they are lost in public and need help, to look for another mom. The key is, when you pick the person you want help from, you almost guarantee a friendly person. If you wait for help to be offered, the chances of it being a not so nice person increases (ie, if there happens to be a predator around, chances are thats going to be the person who offers “help” to a lost child, but if a child decides to find someone to ask, they are unlikely to choose the not-nice person)

    Soo.. point being, if someone approached you in line for the bathroom and said “Id be happy to hold your baby for you while you use the restroom” you’d be crazy to accept! But you looked around and found some people who gave you good vibes, then chances are they give you good vibes for a reason

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