My son and I went to the Kroger; it was evening and the store was fairly empty. We were standing at the deli counter when a man with a child of his own blatantly raised his cell phone and took a picture of my son. I felt my blood pressure rise. A sense of frustration and outrage began to build inside of me. We walked away. I took a deep breath as we entered the snack aisle.
I remember discussing this type of thing at a parent meeting at a Little People of America conference. The child will be influenced by the parent’s reaction. Anger means there is something to defend. There is nothing wrong with my child, and the careless acts of others can be chalked up to simple ignorance. Our collective social upbringing over thousands of years has left us with an impression that Little People are a novelty and belong to the public.
I gathered myself, and thought carefully about how to handle this situation. This was our first encounter with a picture taker. I reminded myself that it really isn’t the man’s fault, like I said, just ignorance. We headed back toward the man and his son. His child was sitting in the cart, a sweet looking little boy. We aporoached them. I never made eye contact or even acknowledged the father. I smiled at the child.
“Well aren’t you the cutest little boy! ‘(He was adorable.)’ What’s your name?”
“Edmond.” He said grining from ear to ear.
“Well it is nice to meet you. Edmond. How old are you?” He held up 5 fingers. “That’s awesome! You are a big boy.” I said. “This is my son, Jax.” Jax waved an enthusiastic hello. Edmond smiled and waved back. I could feel the awkward tension from his dad as he shifted from one foot to the other.
“Do you go to school?”
He nodded the exaggerated nod of a five year old.
“You must be very smart.”
“Yep.” He replied.
“What is your favorite thing about school?”
“Snack time.” He giggled.
“Well, it was nice to meet you, you have a great day!” I smiled.
As we walked away the dad asked his kid if he knew us. I wanted the father to feel the fear and concern that comes when a stranger pays any type of unsolicited attention to your child. I wanted him to know that I saw what he had done.
Taking that picture will last longer, more for Jax than for that man. The humiliation that accompanies this behavior ticks away at a person. It is more than annoying. How could it not create some type of dents in his self esteem?
I am hoping that this one man got the message. Sometimes education is one person at a time.