Nosy Strangers and Babies

This was odd. I was at Starbucks today chatting with a friend. I was getting ready to leave, Sam was fussing, and a woman started to speak to me.

At this point, Sam being 9 months old already, I’m well acquainted with the looks, the smiles, the harmless curiosity of questions such as “How old is he?” that are drawn out by his wide blue eyes and observant gaze. Once or twice I’ve gotten a question like “Are you breastfeeding?” and then the asker has the good grace to look embarrassed and apologize for asking what they realize was a personal question. Mostly, I don’t mind the attention that Sam brings or the accompanying questions. I figure that moms of young kids like to reach out and connect with other moms. I also reckon that Sam is so incredible that his super baby magnetism just pulls people in.

The woman in Starbucks was a bit different. She stood several feet away at the counter while I strapped a fussing Sam into his car seat. The woman started with a typical question.

“Is he hungry?”
“No, he’s tired. It’s nap time,” I answered distractedly.
“So, he naps twice a day?”
“No, he only takes one nap a day,” as I busily searched for a stray tiny sneaker.
“So what time does he go to sleep then?
“Well…um…”
“Like 7 o’clock?”
“Sometimes…” I trailed off as I wondered why is this strange woman asking me all these questions. I felt in the sides of the car seat, and on the floor, and then groped around beneath Sam’s butt and behind his back. Where was that sneaker? Meanwhile, Sam had begun to cry. I was getting a little agitated. I knew Sam would calm down as soon as I could get him out into the fresh air. I knew I would calm down if I could find the missing shoe and get away from the weird prying woman. I glanced at my friend, and she whispered, “Do you know her?” “Not at all,” I replied.

Then I found the shoe. Sam’s blue sneaker with the orange thread detail from Carter’s – except I found them in a consignment shop for $3 in perfect, pristine condition. This, by the way, was the same sneaker that just last month I had lost on the side of the interstate. This time it was under Sam’s jacket. His cute, fuzzy blue jacket with the bear ears on the hood. That he was wearing. So I had managed to put his jacket on, zip it up, and buckle the car seat straps over and across his chest, without noticing that I was wedging the sneaker against his chest under the jacket. No wonder he was fussy, but in my defense I was distracted by the weird woman.

The weird woman who, having received her coffee, appeared again as I was exiting. She said “I do that, too.” I’m not even sure what she was talking about.
Do these things happen to anyone else?