Q. I was at the playground with my kids the other day and had left my diaper bag on a bench nearby, like I always do. All of a sudden, I looked over and saw a three or four year old rummaging through my bag like he was looking for something. By the time I got to him, my nursing cover was on the ground, and he was pulling the lid off the baby bottle I had stored in there.
When I walked over, I wasn’t quite sure what to say! What I felt like saying was “Uh, where’s your mother?” (Answer: No where in sight.) I kind of just gathered my thing up and took the bag with me across the playground, leaving the kid looking confused. What should I have done?
A. You’re right, that’s awkward. But it also happens All. The. Time.
Kids are curious, and the prospect of finding a tasty snack or a cool little gadget in a mommy or daddy’s bag is super enticing. Rest assured that if this child’s parent had seen him rummaging through your bag, they would’ve put a stop to it. But since they’d taken their eyes off him long enough to get into your stuff, you would be well within your rights to speak directly to him. Maybe something like this:
“Hi sweetheart, are you looking for something?” Say this while you’re pick up your belongings and putting them back in your bag. Reach for the baby bottle and ask, “May I please have that?”
“I want a snack.”
“Okay, we’ll let’s try to find your mommy or daddy to see if they have one for you.”
Once you’ve located mom or dad or whomever the child’s there with, you can either direct him their way and let him ask for a snack, or if the parent seems confused about what you’re doing with their child:
“I found your little guy looking for a snack in my diaper bag so I told him I’d help him find mom or dad.”
Pretty much anything said with a smile and good intentions will be appreciated.
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