No matter how small

I read in a magazine recently that we live in a world built for adults. At first I thought, um duh. Of course we do. This is The World. The article explained that as adults, we have built a world that we essentially invite children into, as guests. Start looking for it, especially if you're a parent. You'll notice. It's totally true and I am super over it.

Kids are only *allowed* into the adult world, as though we are doing them some great favor. Newsflash, we aren't. The world is theirs just as much as anyone else's. Naturally kids rely on adults to take care of the logistics of survival, and so grownups treat kids like we're giving them some gift, so. they're welcome. and don't yell in the grocery or we're not getting gum. But the logistics serve us, primarily. Ever wonder why there's so much baby gear for sale out there? It's because the world is designed for the success of adults and adults only. Babies, kids, and teenagers are an afterthought to the well-being and comfort of The World of Adults. Think I'm wrong? Listen to this one.

It was shortly after sundown in the wild wild west, aka post-workday parking lot at Trader Joe's. I needed milk and was preparing for entry; I had loaded my one-year-old son into his stroller and parked it neatly behind my cool minivan, trunk open, while I went to unbuckle my other two children from their seats. If this world was kid-friendly, it would be a drive-through grocery store. Or there would be a large man with a taser guarding my locked air-conditioned vehicle while my kids peacefully grind graham crackers into their carseats as I shop. As I was bent in half undoing a government approved five-point harness in the back seat, i realized a woman was touching the stroller. In an alarmed/ disapproving tone, she was yelling to my infant, "Hi honey, where's your mama!? Where's mommy??" To which I promptly yelled through the open trunk, "I'm right here, please don't touch my son, please step away from my stroller and don't touch my child" because she was trying to drive my stroller away, to which she replied "um well there's a car backing up here and he's in danger so i'm actually just going to help you" to which I replied "he's not in danger, he's inside my parking place, you need to get yourself away from my family immediately before I alert the management, I know how to take care of my children, stop touching my child RIGHT NOW" to which she swore and stomped away to which I replied "WHAT I SAID WAS I KNOW HOW TO TAKE CARE OF MY CHILDREN GOODBYE"

Listen. If Homegirl was concerned about Charlie's safety in a kid-forward world, she would have run up to the driver of the Jeep backing out of its spot next to him and yelled, hey, there's a super cute baby right there, don't crush him as you drive backwards with your giant baby squishing device, wait 7 seconds for his mom to march her people into the grocery and then you may back up. But no, she was concerned about his safety in The World (*I actually think she was concerned that I was a stupid woman and didn't actually care for Charlie's safety, just wanted to make sure I knew what a bad mom I am) (that's what the swearing basically said), so he was the one who needed to move. He should be the one to be sorry for taking up space. He was disrupting. He should apologize, move out of The Adult's way.

(Worth noting: Charlie wasn't in danger. I have developed a system of safely transporting children from home to grocery, and believe it or not, it's worked 3,000 out of 3,000 times. I am never *not* thinking about their safety, so I knew he would be okay while I took 7 seconds to get the other two out.)

The fact is: kids are not some other variety of human. They're not cute blobs of almost-people. They're sure as hell not pets, and they're not less-than, just because they're younger and new. They're people. The good doctor Theodore Seuss Geisel spelled it out to us via Horton the elephant: "Don't give up! I believe in you all. A person's a person, no matter how small!"

I am a mother with a mission to make sure that my children are treated like people. I can only imagine, and try to understand, the immeasurable challenges that other mothers face that I do not have to consider in my own sphere of existence. But I'm my kids' only advocate – I know that. And I'm here for it.

My little women. Yashica Mat 124g, Kodak Portra 400 film. April 2019. Prairie Village, KS.