I Don't Want To Be in Your Club
Miami Beach, United States
To walk my son up and down the boardwalk and beachfront of Miami Beach; this is an odd experience for me. The act of doing it doesn't bother me—although dealing with Aidric can be a handful—but it's the other parents doing the same thing does.
Nine times out of ten I'm walking Aidric alone, and nine times out of ten the parent (or parents) I encounter pushing a stroller in the opposite direction will focus intensely on Aidric. I know the look—these people are competitively sizing my child up, comparing and contrasting him to their own.
I rarely engage in the habit, which Tatiana also partakes in. She tells me she does it because it reinforces how cute our son is (compared to all the other kids she sees).
I guess if I'm guilty of anything, it's looking at the parents and strollers, not the kids. There are so many designs, I find it hard not to try and generally categorize them, and begin correlating the numerous varieties with the types of people pushing them. Surprisingly, no $800 strollers have been sighted so far.
I suppose the other half of the scene is that I'm now being welcomed and grouped into a club of which I harbor no desire to be a part of. This Boardwalk Parent with Stroller membership was unwillingly imbued upon me. I don't feel like I have anything in common with these people other than that we're all pushing kid(s) in strollers at the same place and time. It feels about as weird as the idea of being welcomed in a girl's locker room.
All of a sudden I'm approachable to everyone. I get greetings or head nods from passing parents with strollers when they look up from Aidric in time to make eye contact. They can always make eye contact, because I'm always watching them try and size my child up.
If they could tear their eyes away from my son for long enough, I wonder how they'd perceive me.