Today I was doing the weekly grocery shop with baby girl in tow. Or should I say ‘in tow,’ most of the time. ‘In tow,’ only eventuates after repeated repeated repeated repeated instruction, pleading, bribes, and threats.
“Baby girl, come and follow Mummy, come on.”
“Baby girl, please come on be a good girl for Mummy, come on.”
“Baby girl, if you sit in the trolley I’ll give you a biscuit.”
“Baby girl! No Thomas train ride for you!”
So, you know, the usual.
I’m trying to get her to follow me into Woolies and to stay close to me, away from the wayside walkers and treacherous trolleys in abundance everywhere. As I’m manoeuvring the trolley and trying my damn best to keep her beside me, she suddenly darts to the right and off to those merry-go-round ride things in shopping centres that all parents despise. Even if you do pop in $2 for a minutes ride, you’ll still spend another 5 minutes at least begging to get them off it after it’s stopped, and if you just pick them up and walk off, you’ll have to contend with endless whinging and screaming and crying. So, it’s a lose-lose situation.
As she runs off to that thing, I notice an older lady behind me also pushing a trolley, who’s now pulled to a stop because I have. I pull over to the side near a chicken shop, saying “sorry!”
As I watch baby girl clamber over the ride from a distance, the lady comes to pass me but stops, and as we’re side by side, she leans in and says “you should never apologise for kids. They’re children.”
I smile as she starts to move on. “I know,” I add, “but some people…”
I don’t have to continue. She shrugs, as if she understands, and adds something about them learning.
We exchange something else, and laugh, and I thank her and go towards baby girl.
That’s some damn good advice. I know that baby girl is learning. I know that she doesn’t mean to be rude when she cuts someone’s path because she’s just seen a Peppa Pig ride. I appreciate this woman’s words, and man I wish there were more understanding people like her. I’m sure there are, but I wish they would speak up more too.
I’m just trying my best to teach this girl of mine manners. I know I’ll be repeating myself endlessly ’til the cows come home… but I hope one day it’ll just ‘click.’
Also, I’m fearful of that stereotype, the ‘don’t give a shit’ Mum. I know I’m not one, but I know how people feel about Mums who let their kids do whatever, wherever and whenever they like. Hell, I know what I think of those Mums. I don’t want anyone to ever mistake me for one of them.
My reasons for pulling her in line are part teaching manners, part avoiding judgment. Which is shit, I know. But it’s how it is.
But that woman today… her words hit the nail on the head. I loved it. Not just her words, but her understanding. She really struck a cord with me. Sage words lady. Sage words.