Overheard in the Stroller (One Baby, One Mother and Weird Strangers)

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Mark and I at Nepean Point, Ottawa, June 2013

Mark and I at Nepean Point, Ottawa, June 2013

I’m pretty friendly with strangers and chatting with people is natural to me—most Canadians are super friendly.

That said, some people are just plain weird. Especially when you happen to have a child in a stroller with you.

Here are a few “WTF” interactions I had with people lately.


(I am browsing the magazine section at Chapters with Mark in the stroller. A middle-aged woman has been observing us for a good five minutes. Eventually, she speaks out.)

The woman: “The baby… he wasn’t born here, was he?”

Me: “Huh?”

The Woman: “You baby wasn’t born in Canada, was he?”

Me, pretty loudly: “Oh, I can guarantee you he came out of my vagina! I have pictures of the labour too!”

(The woman gave me a death look and walked away. What? Never seen biracial babies before?)


(Mark finally passed out in the stroller and I am reading a book at Chapters when two older women walk by.)

Woman #1: “Oh, look at the little angel!”

(She pokes Mark, who was napping in the stroller, on the cheek)

Woman #2: “Look how deeply he is sleeping!”

(Mark opens his eyes)

Me:Was sleeping…”


(Mark and I are at the neighbourhood playground. A mother starts a conversation.)

The mother: “Is it a boy?”

Me: “Yes, his name is Mark.”

The mother: “Your first one?”

Me: “Yes.”

The mother: “What did you do to have a boy?”

Me: “Er… I… got pregnant and there was a 50/50 chance?”

The mother: “So lucky! I only got girls so far. Hopefully next time I will have a boy. If not, I’ll try one last time. I really want a baby boy!”

(I felt sorry for her two lovely baby girls!)


(Mark and I are at the checkout at the supermarket. Mark is smiling and a woman stops to smile back at him.)

The woman: “Hello you! She is very cute.”

(Although I do dress Mark like a baby boy and I think there is little doubt on the fact he is a boy, I know it’s sometime hard to tell with babies, so I don’t take offense. I usually correct people nicely.)

Me: “Thank you! His name is Mark.”

The woman: “Hello little doll! She has the nicest smile!”

Me: “I guess HE is in a good mood today!”

The woman, waving bye-bye: “Be a good girl, okay?”

Me: “… He will!”


(I’m browsing the “baby foods” section at the supermarket, looking for new snack ideas for Mark—crackers, fruit purees, etc.. Another woman is browsing as well, a frown on her face.)

Me: “It’s not easy to find foods they like, isn’t it?

The woman: “What? Oh my God, I would never give my baby any of this crap! This is poison! I cook all of her meals from scratch, of course. Using organic products.”

(So what the hell you are doing browsing the “baby foods” section?!)


(I’m having a coffee with a friend. A guy walks by and Mark smiles at him.)

The guy: “How old he is? Three? Four?”

Me: “… Eight months.”

(Hint: when a baby is not walking, not talking and has no teeth, chances are he is less than a year old!)


(I’m trying on sunglasses in a department store. I’m standing in front of the display and Mark is in the stroller, right beside me, happily chewing on his toy. A salesperson walks up to me.)

The salesperson: “You can’t do that. Store policy.”

Me: “I’m sorry… do what?”

The salesperson: “You must have one hand on the stroller at all time. Store policy.”

Me: “I’m right beside him!”

The salesperson: “One hand on the stroller please. It’s a crazy world out here.”

Me, walking away: “It’s Ottawa, on a Monday afternoon at 2 p.m. and there isn’t a single customer in your store!”


(I’m having a coffee and Mark is playing with one of his socks. That’s his newest trick: he takes off his socks and plays with them, or plays with his feet. A woman walks by.)

The woman: “I’m sorry but your baby is chewing his sock.”

Me: “I know, that’s fine.”

The woman, with a look of disgust on her face: “Baby, socks are yucky. Yucky!”

Me: “Not his! We wash our clothes, don’t we, Mark?”

(What? It’s a freaking sock! Mark isn’t even walking yet, chewing on a sock is like chewing on a toy!)


About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.


  1. I’m surprised that no-one has expressed his astonishment over the fact that Chinese and Caucasian people can have babies together >.>
    Most remarks wouldn’t bother me much, but really? People would poke him while he’s sleeping? I wouldn’t even do that while he’s awake.

    • I am not a huge fan of people, well, strangers, touching Mark in general. Fortunately, Mark doesn’t seem to mind it too much as long as no one attempts to hold him. I used to have one of these strollers on which you clip the car seat and Mark was facing me so he was “out of reach”. But he is too big for that one now and with the front-facing strollers, people see him more… and “pet” him more.

  2. I can’t believe that woman’s comments in the first conversation. That just goes to show you that there are some impolite people in Canada.

    The baby police one is so strange. Why would you have to have one hand on the stroller at all times? Are they afraid Mark is going to walk off by himself and/or shoplift? Haha.

    • I guess they were afraid that someone could somehow steal him from me. I mean, I can kind of see their point, you do have to keep an eye on your kids in stores, restaurants, etc. I wouldn’t let him run wild. But he doesn’t tun yet, he was in the stroller about twenty centimeters from me!

  3. Oh dear, he looks like such a little boy, how could anyone mistake that!! That first comment was very offensive though. The others were just plain intrusive! Hilarious that man thought he might be three or four – some men just haven’t a clue!

  4. Cool la photo, on dirait qu’on t’a pris la main dans le sac! 😀

    Sinon, c’est clair que les gens s’en permettent :/ Non mais veux-tu le laisser jouer avec sa chaussette maudit tabouère! Pis quand même bien qu’elle aurait été une peu sale?! Chez nous on disait “on n’engraisse pas les cochons à l’eau claire” 😉

  5. Oh god, the fact that these encounters happened makes me think how nosy and rude some people can be. Can’t they just leave you alone? I wonder what it is with babies that makes people all so self-entitled to express their thoughts and opinions when those aren’t welcome.

  6. Hi Zhu,

    I think that the word “shocked” is pretty mild for what some of these people said to/about Mark.
    That first one stings me. I grew up in an multicultural society where people were so mixed that is was natural that almost everyone was a product of several cultures.

    Weirdos have no borders, I am afraid…

  7. Damn woman, you are one hot fit mama!! Your legs go on for miles! I can only hope to look SOMEWHAT like you after my first baby. 🙂 (Which is theoretical at this moment, by the way.) 🙂

    Hope you are enjoying your travels in Canada this summer!! I’ll be heading your way in just 4 days’ time. I’m really looking forward to it!

    Lots of love and light from Brussels (my current location),


  8. Oh man, those were funny, especially liked the baby police! And yes the girl/boy thing is hard until they are well into their 2 or 3’s… I corrected people all of the time too…

  9. “oh, you have twins!”
    “it’s a boy and a girl, right?”
    “no, two boys” (even if I got sick of blue at one point, I always dressed them with boys clothes. For the record)
    “really? but this one has such pretty curls! He should have been a girl!”

    (WTF? Since when is curly hair reserved for girls?)

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