Urban baby

Maybelle is an urban baby.  This is different than how Biffle and I both grew up.  I was a small-town baby, and he was a suburban one.  This meant, among other things, that we both had big yards to play in, so we mostly played in our yards.  I did a lot of tree climbing and swinging on our backyard swing set.  Biffle--at the age of four--would ride an adult-sized bike down their long, steep driveway and over a bridge that spanned the creek in their backyard.  This was the activity that ultimately resulted in the incident referred to in the Biffle household as The Time That Walt Knocked His Tallywhacker Off.*

Water fountainBut that's not the point of this post.  The point of this post is to offer an observation about Maybelle's life as an urban baby.  We have no yard whatsoever, so while Maybelle can play a bit on our front porch, if she wants to do any more expansive outdoor activity, it means we have to leave the private world of our household and go out in public.  We've always known that this would be the case, and for many reasons, it's a great thing.  Indeed, it's one of those areas where I can start to feel smugly morally superior to parents of suburban kids.**  When Maybelle wants to swing or slide, we go to one of several nearby public playgrounds, where she may very well be interacting with other kids. She gets a sense of a world that's diverse, populated by lots of different folks and their dogs.

The thing that's sort of surprised and delighted me about this phenomenon is just how very public her life is.  I've noticed in recent weeks that, almost literally, I can't leave the house with Maybelle without people making sweet comments to us.  This morning she was riding in the backpack, and a guy stopped his minivan in the street to say, "You both look so relaxed!"  This car-stopping phenomenon is strangely common.  When Maybelle is riding her tricycle--a sight so cute that you can barely stand it--people will roll their windows down and stop traffic to say things to us.  "Look at her, riding along!", or, "Where did you get that?  I've got to get my nephew one!"  When she's walking down the sidewalk, holding on to one of our fingers, people will say, "Oh, yeah, working hard!" or "Look at her, walking along!"  The same when she's riding in the baby seat on the adult bicycle; just last week a city worker rolled his window down to say, "Big girl on the bike!"

It's clearly not the case that folks have important content to convey to us.  They're just letting us know that Maybelle is an adorable person--significantly, an adorable person out in the world, being watched compassionately and warmly by people in the community.

*Not literally, but it's still a good story.  Perhaps a blog post sometime soon, if we can encourage Biffle to share.
**Never, ever a good idea, I know, but I've been irritable and sort of intolerable here lately.  Perhaps another blog post about that later.


Anonymous said...

A city baby! And if my experience travelling with kids is right- you will not find people being that friendly with kids everywhere. As we drive west, we start getting progressively crabbier at our stops and we realized it is because strangers stop talking to our accustomed-to-compliments Charleston kids. (Or maybe it is the parents who have grown so accustomed to it.) But now non-kid talkers just seem so insufferably rude to me.

Amanda said...

Most important question: what kind of trike does she have? Hugh will be ready for one soon. By the way, he's enjoying Trinity this summer so far; but, of course, it's a transition (i.e. tears).