The one thing I am forever grateful for, is the approach to parenting that Tom and I have taken. I appreciate our experience is incredibly limited to one little bundle of joy, but when we use the techniques we learn about every day on other children, it basically never fails. Calm, respectful interactions where clarity and confidence is key to peaceful and positive interactions: even when there is something that poses a less enjoyable learning opportunity.
We were out at the zoo yesterday and Leo was merrily downing some fruit pouches whilst being thoroughly engaged by some ducks that aren’t actually an ‘attraction’ but he loves them. Tom and I were Sat at the benches whilst he chatted away and then I sadly had to witness something that is still haunting my soul today. There were a family with twin boys, about Leo’s age and one of the little boys desperately wanted to play on the grass in the middle of the section where we were and the mother was having none of it. They were both on lead reins and this child was absolutely distraught, screaming and struggling to breath: he was that upset. She physically dragged him along and up by the reins during this protest and when her husband asked what was going on, she stated that he was just being stupid and wanted to get to the grass. Queue the shattering of my already pained heart.
So they swapped twins and the father was less rough housing but the child’s woeful screams could be heard for some time. The other twin was clearly distressed by this also but was turning insular and walking along looking at the floor.
Now, I know one should not judge by a single event out of context. However, in this case I judge that as bullying and unacceptable. How the fuck would she feel if someone treated her like that. How would we as spectators have handled it if her husband was dragging her along by a bag strap and calling her stupid?! The kid just wanted to play on the grass ffs, not a busy motorway.
I wish I knew what to do in those situations, I think if she had been a lone parent then I would have offered to help, but how the hell do you intervene in that kind of situation? It seems to be something that society accepts, the total and utter disregard for a child’s place in the world and utter, shameful lack of respect. I know full well that she wouldn’t have been receptive if I had approached her, should that have stopped me?
Above everything else, I want to be able to give her the gift of enjoying her children. Of seeing their little acts of what she perceives as defiance as being an act of their journey through brain development and freedom of choice, of being interested and engaged in the world around them. She is missing the opportunity to be absorbed by the little things we now overlook as adults. She may think the tigers are amazing, but at that very moment in time that little boy wanted to run on the wet grass and most likely roll around in it.. He might get wet, he might get dirty.. So what? As long as you go home if they get cold, who the fuck cares? Will the world stop spinning if you spend some entry money and look at grass the whole time? No, it won’t. What might happen is that you experience a magical moment with the little gift that you have right there in front of you.
I want to find a way to be better in an instance, put my fear aside and do something positive for that one little child and his scared brother and potentially give a tired and lost woman a new magic to enjoy..