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September 24, 2005

I just had the most bizarre experience at Walmart. A bizarre experience at Walmart you say. With all the classy people that frequent Walmart you must be surprised, but no, you would be wrong…I was checking out and the 20-ish checker (er, associate) apparently has a son who is the same age as Juliana, almost to the day. So she starts talking to Juliana in this high pitched voice that keeps alternating between a Mexican and Russian accent. First I think that perhaps I misheard her American accent when she greeted me. But no, it’s just some weird baby communication tool that she uses. Then she starts admiring Juliana’s two cute little bottom teeth (after she tells me how small Juliana is) and asks me if I give her biscuits yet. She gives her son baby food but hasn’t given him biscuits since she feels that he can choke due to his lack of teeth. When I tell her that Juliana hasn’t had solid food yet, she says, “Really?” with a look that clearly tells me that I must be nuts. She asks me why. And I tell her that I’m not giving her food until she is at least six months old and she asks my why, so I tell her that the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it, because she is obviously not going to think that I know what I am talking about from my own experiences. Then she asks me who her pediatrician is. (I know by this time I am thinking she is quite the nosy associate, too.) I tell her the name of our old pediatrician because I know that she would probably be really unable to deal with me if she found out that we have decided to forgo well-child checks. Then she proceeds to let me know that she goes to a really good pediatrician in town who told her that they can start solids anytime after four months. They used to start them way earlier in the old days and babies were okay, so four months is plenty old enough. I don’t even bother to tell her about an increased risk of food allergies or that babies don’t really get any nutritional value at this point, its mostly just experimentation, because I can tell her type. She believes her pediatrician is a demi-god and his word is gospel. All her words and actions lead me to believe that she is one who can’t fathom anything outside the conventional realm of disposable diapers, formula and canned baby food. So I push my cart away from the counter with the familiar mix of discomfort from having to explain an unconventional decision to someone again while at the same time feeling strong for going against the flow and doing what I think is right and reaping the benefits of incredible bonds with my kids and also great health for my girls. Maybe somebody who was just lamenting about her son’s cold that turned into a throat infection and an ear infection isn’t the best person to be dispensing health advice. I just keep walking out of the store being thankful that Isabel has never had an illness more severe than a cold and Juliana’s runny nose never went any further and I thank God for all those wonderful immunities in breastmilk and feel secure in my choices despite others’ insecurity with them.

You never know what your next trip to the store will bring, perhaps you will receive advice on the stock market from a stocker making minimum wage!

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