The Evils of Chocolate

My husband and I received our first bit of unsolicted parenting advice from strangers yesterday. Last night my husband and I were out to eat at a Chinese food buffet (I know, I know.. Diet fail. But I promise I didn’t eat a lot!!!) with our 6 month old daughter Nellie. It was toward the end of the meal and my husband had gotten himself a small cup of chocolate ice cream. There was a couple sitting in the booth behind us and they looked like they were in their late 40s/early 50s. We’ve been giving our daughter little tastes of things we eat for about two weeks and yes, we have given her tastes of ice cream. Nothing huge; just a little lick so she can get the flavor of it (I’m aware that by even posting this I’m subjecting myself to comments.. But she is formula fed so she doesn’t have the “virgin gut” issue).

Well my husband put a teensy amount on his spoon and Nellie immediately lunged at it and tasted it. She was smacking away when the man in the booth behind us turned around and said,
“Now, I don’t want to butt in or say things that aren’t my place to say..”

This is something that everyone wants to hear, eh?

“But we knew a couple who had beautiful twin boys. Weren’t they beautiful honey?”
His wife nodded.
“Well they gave one of their boys chocolate milk in a bottle, and it made him retarded.”

Wait, what? Did I hear that right? I honestly thought that this man was joking. I thought that he was trying to be tongue in cheek and poke fun at people who get all up in arms about giving babies tastes of food and was making a joke that was just in poor taste.
But neither the man nor his wife laughed.
“Oh?” I asked, still unsure if he was kidding or not.
His wife spoke next.
“Seriously, they were both perfectly fine and they were identical twins, and the one they gave the chocolate milk to was retarded after they gave him the milk. He was fine, and then he was retarded. We don’t mean to butt in but you have such a beautiful baby and it’d just be such a shame for anything to happen to her. Infants under the age of one aren’t supposed to have chocolate because it can make them retarded.”

My husband and I solemnly thanked them for their wisdom, waited until we left, and almost shit ourselves from laughing so hard.

Okay. Seriously. Nevermind the fact that.. WHO ACTUALLY SAYS THE WORD “RETARDED” TO TALK ABOUT A MENTAL DISABILITY ANYMORE? Are these people for real or were they screwing with me? I wanted to be like, “AM I ON TV RIGHT NOW?”

Even if you are shaking your head at me for letting my daughter taste ice cream before she’s a certain age you have to admit, saying that giving your baby chocolate before the age of one is going to cause a mental disability is pretty far fetched. Lecture me about “virgin gut”, or the potential for developing food allergies all you want. But mental retardation? REALLY? I was just.. I was floored.