I knew a couple who had a baby girl. The couple both worked, so after the new mom’s maternity leave ended, they asked the baby’s paternal grandmother to help out by babysitting while they were both at work.
The grandmother agreed. In fact, she was thrilled.
There were a few problems with the arrangement. The grandmother hated the baby’s mother and vice versa. Grandma thought the younger woman was an incompetent mother, ungrateful, and too picky to boot.
The younger woman thought Grandma was too intrusive, too opinionated, and disrespectful of her “rules” about how to take care of the baby. To say the two women didn’t see eye to eye was an understatement, but they each had something the other wanted. Grandma had the time to provide free childcare, and the baby’s mom had… the baby.
One day, the baby’s father dropped the little girl off at her grandmother’s house before he went to work. It was a snowy day, below freezing, yet the baby was wearing only a light sweater over a tiny dress with no socks and no shoes.
The baby wasn’t walking yet, so shoes weren’t necessary, but socks? The little girl’s feet must have been freezing.
Grandma didn’t have any baby socks at her house to put on the little girl, but she did have plenty of tiny mittens. To keep the child’s feet warm, she put a pair of mittens on her feet.
She must have felt pleased with her resourceful solution to the problem. Any feeling of accomplishment surely vanished when the baby’s mom showed up after work and found the little girl wearing mittens on her feet.
The baby’s mom was furious. She said her baby looked ridiculous wearing mittens as socks. Furthermore, putting mittens on the baby’s feet was just the grandmother’s way of making her look stupid for sending her baby out of the house without socks on in the first place.
While I do know it was the baby’s dad who had delivered her without socks and shoes that morning, I don’t know which parent had dressed the child. What I do know is this: both parents had remembered to put socks and shoes on their own feet.
So who was at fault here? Was it the parent who dressed the child in the first place, or was it the dad who clearly saw his daughter’s bare feet when he packed her up and drove her to her grandmother’s house? Was Grandma wrong for putting mittens on the child’s feet when it looked “foolish”?