When I picked up Madeline from daycare this afternoon, I noticed that my car was low on go-go juice. So, we made the short trek to the gas station across the street and I promptly started to fill up. As I was pumping the gas, I engaged in my usual gas-pumping activity, which is making silly faces and chatting with The Divine Miss M through the back window, and cracking up every time she giggles.

At the pump next to me, there was a man who was, I’m guessing, just a few years younger than my own father, fueling up his large work truck filled with tools and dirt and the like. He called over to me, “Ma’am? Do you always talk to your car window like that?”

I smiled and responded with some goofy retort about the car getting better mileage if I baby talk to it. He laughed and said he understood because he had three kids of his own. I ad libbed something, smiled, and assumed that was the end of the conversation.

After I replaced the nozzle and started to get back into my car, I told the man to have a nice day. He said, “Have a good one! And, Ma’am? You keep talking to that car window like that, because there are too many parents who don’t.”

What a sad truism. How often do we get in such a hurry that we can’t slow down for just a second to coo and giggle at our little people? How many kids might greatly benefit if their parents would make dorky faces at them at the gas station, instead of giving the impression that the kid is just another chore, just like pumping gas?

Dorks Anonymous Confession: Hi, my name is Heather, and I don’t care if people stare at me when I’m playing peek-a-boo with my baby in public.

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