Every class I've ever taken has always had one. You guys know who I'm talking about. That person. The one who monopolizes the discussion or asks a bajillion questions, completely derailing the class while oblivious to the fact everyone else is rolling their eyes because they're tired/hungry/have somewhere else to be and just want that person to shut the eff up.
Within moments of her (20 minute late) arrival at prenatal class this past weekend, I knew Harriet was that person. Perhaps it was the way she strolled in with her pregnant daughter, completely interrupting the nurse instructor to regale us with the tale of why they were late rather than apologizing and seating themselves quietly. Or perhaps it was the fact that she was a 50-something year old woman wearing a children's-style knit winter cap in the form of a cow, complete with ear flaps, side strings and bright yellow knitted horns.
|Sorta. Except much less cute.|
Harriet (about whom we would all learn waaaaay too much in the coming hours) came to class as the support person for her daughter Emma, who was having her first child without a dad on the scene. But lucky us, Harriet also seemed to think that the nurse teaching the class could benefit from some real, honest-to-goodness birthin' stories from Harriet's own labours some 25 years ago. Literally every time the nurse started a new topic, Harriet had something to say. Most of which could be filed into the "useless" category, cross referenced with "too much information".
For instance, we all had the joy of picturing Harriet's perineum as she told us that she had an episiotomy with Emma but tore naturally with her second birth, since she delivered her son in 1.5 hours flat. We also learned all about her genetic disorder which meant that they were considering cord blood banking for Emma's unborn baby. Other pearls of wisdom were dispensed in shorter, more colourful bursts.
Harriet on nesting: "I made 12 quarts of raspberry jam!"
Harriet on inducing labour: "I tried castor oil. It just gave me the runs."
Harriet on breastfeeding: "I didn't do it, and the nurses really made me feel like shit about it."
The weirdest revelation came towards the end of the day, when the nurse was talking about sleeping arrangements. Now, keep in mind this question could (and probably should) have been asked along the lines of "So, are there any specific legal requirements regarding where a baby should sleep?". But no, that wouldn't have disclosed an uncomfortable amount of personal detail, so what Harriet really asked was, "So, are there any legal requirements about where a baby should sleep? Because we were told that a baby needs its own separate bedroom, and if it doesn't have one then Child Protective Services can come and take it away. Is that true?" Quite leaving aside the question of why you're having ANY discussions about CPS taking your child away before you've even given birth to it, would you not want to keep that particular nugget of information to yourself?
I have to give credit where credit is due, though. Harriet wasn't all bad. On one of our coffee breaks she ran to the nearby Tim Horton's and came back with a big travel container of coffee and enough donuts for everyone, just to celebrate all our babies and her first grandchild. It's hard to be too pissed off at someone when you're stuffing your face with an apple fritter they just bought for you.
The end result of Harriet's constant interruptions (on top of just generally making everyone else in the class irritated and uncomfortable) was that we didn't get to cover everything that was on the schedule for that day. Lucky for us...we have a second day coming up this weekend!